San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA Today (June 28), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit lifted its stay of the historic Federal District Court decision that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. With marriage equality now restored in California, the Plaintiffs who successfully challenged California's Proposition 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry were married.
Plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley, California were married at City Hall in San Francisco. They were the first gay or lesbian couple to be married in California post-Proposition 8. California Attorney General Kamala Harris officiated. Perry and Stier's son Elliott Perry served as a witness. The ceremony was followed by a press conference at City Hall featuring Perry and Stier, AFER co-founder Chad Griffin, and AFER executive director Adam Umhoefer.
Plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo of Burbank, California will be married at City Hall in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will officiate. Katami and Zarrillo's best friends, Scott Jones and Devin Swanson of South Pasadena, California, will serve as witnesses.
The weddings took place just two days after the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry that restores marriage equality to California.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8. It is the first case involving the fundamental right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry ever to be fully briefed and argued before the Supreme Court.
"On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States acknowledged that gay and lesbian Californians are equal under the law and can once again marry the person they love. Today, Sandy and I realized that promise of equality, as we stand here united in marriage," said Plaintiff Kris Perry. "We look forward to spending the rest of our lives together. Yet we will never forget this daythe day the freedom to marry was restored to our home state."
"This week, our nation's High Court said that I am more equal, that we are more equal, that our love is just like our parents and grandparents, and that any children that we may have will be equal, too," said Plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo. "I love Paul more than anything else in the world, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. This is the happiest day of our lives."
READ THE NINTH CIRCUIT'S ORDER HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013-06-28-CA9-Stay-Order.pdf
READ SUPREME COURT'S DECISION HERE: www.afer.org/marriageinca
READ THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT'S DECISION HERE: www.afer.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Prop8Decision.pdf
From Lambda Legal
Ninth Circuit Lifts Stay and Marriage Returns to California
(San Francisco, June 30, 2013) The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today lifted the stay on its ruling declaring the discriminatory
Proposition 8 unconstitutional, clearing the way for same-sex couples to begin marrying in California. Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Legal Director Jon Davidson:
"We are thrilled! This is a wonderful day for same-sex couples in California. Already, couples are lining up outside courthouses across the state. With this quick action, Prop 8 is gone and with it an ugly effort to exclude same-sex couples from the joys of marriage. Let the wedding bells ring!
"This has been a long battle in this state, and Lambda Legal has been proud to fight for same-sex couples and their freedom to marry for years, including the first historic victory in 2008. We are so delighted finally to see this day. Congratulations to Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and to Paul
Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, who we understand are marrying this afternoon, and to all the other couples who are soon to wed."
The Ninth Circuit action follows the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that the proponents of Prop 8 lacked legal standing to appeal the
U.S. District Court ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry striking down the amendment as unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit had affirmed that ruling, but issued a stay pending the Supreme Court decision.
Lambda Legal and other civil and LGBT rights organizations have been fighting for same-sex couples to have the freedom to marry for decades. Lambda Legal first fought for marriage equality in Hawaii almost 20 years ago, won a unanimous decision for marriage from the Iowa Supreme Court in 2009, and has ongoing marriage lawsuits in New Jersey, Illinois and Nevada.
From Human Rights Campaign:
WASHINGTON Gay and lesbian couples will immediately be able to marry in California thanks to decisive action by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to lift the stay on same-sex marriages. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin released the following statement from San Francisco:
"After four and a half long and painful years, justice for committed gay and lesbian couples has finally been delivered. In California, a time of struggle and indignity are over, and love, justice and freedom begin anew. And now, no election, no judge no one can take this basic right away. At long last, marriage has finally returned to the most populous state in the nation.
"Kris Perry and Sandy Stier's twin sons were just starting high school when their moms' right to marry was taken away, now, as they prepare to start college, they will finally see their family recognized in the eyes of their state and their country. Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, now free to marry, can finally plan the family they've always wanted. Thousands upon thousands of lives are about to change for the better, for good. And young LGBT people across the Golden State will can today look forward to a future where they are truly and fully equal.
"Today is a day of profound celebration, but tomorrow and every day from here on out we will fight until joy, dignity, and full equality in all its forms reach each and every corner of this vast country."