California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered counties to allow same sex marriages following a surprise move this afternoon by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a stay on an injunction ordering officials to stop enforcing a ban on gay marriages, Reuters reported.
The Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and declined to rule on Proposition 8, California’s law banning gay marriage, on June 26. Observers had expected the 9th Circuit to wait until the Supreme Court issued a formal order.
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The 9th Circuit’s quick action allows marriages to take place before Gay Pride weekend, Reuters reported.
Within an hour of Brown’s declaration that "marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples immediately,” Sandy Stier and Kris Perry arrived at San Francisco City Hall to be married, NBC News reported. California Attorney General Kamala Harris married the two women, who’d filed the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, at 5 p.m. local time.
The two other plaintiffs in the Prop 8 lawsuit, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, were married shortly afterwards at Los Angeles City Hall by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in his last day as mayor, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day and for their fundamental right to marry,” Harris said, according to the New York Times. “Finally, their loving relationships are as legitimate and legal as any other.”