Story Summary

Proposition 8

In 2008, California voters approved proposition 8 which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

The vote was almost immediately challenged, and went to the California Supreme Court, which ruled against the vote, but put a “stay” on allowing gay marriages until the issue was completely, legally resolved.

Proposition 8 supporters brought their case to the Supreme Court, and in December 2012, the highest court in the land decided to take up the issue.

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Possible Legal Options Regarding Proposition 8

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SAN FRANCISCO (LA Times) —  The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to revive Proposition 8, ending the last remaining legal challenge to same-sex marriage in the state.

Meeting in closed session, the state high court rejected arguments  by ProtectMarriage, Proposition 8’s sponsors, that only an appellate court could overturn a statewide law.

A federal judge in San Francisco declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010, and state officials refused to appeal. ProtectMarriage did appeal, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that initiative sponsors have no right to defend their measures in federal court. The decision left in place the ruling by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

In its challenge before the state’s highest court,  ProtectMarriage argued that a single judge lacked the authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment.  The group also contended that Walker’s injunction applied to two counties at most and that state officials had overstepped their authority by ordering county clerks throughout California to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

State officials countered that the challenge was a veiled attempt to persuade a state court to interfere with a federal judge’s order in violation of the U.S. Constitution.




The Defense of Marriage Act meant that gay public employees who married in California five years ago still had to pay taxes on their spouse’s health benefits.

Many didn’t want to do that.

Now with DOMA gone, they and other couples are getting a new lease on fully enjoying the rights of marriage.

“We met at a bar and have been together ever since. I mean it was classic. We met, we moved in together and that was what, eight and a half years ago,” said Jessica Mattox.

The less than classic part of almost a decade of devotion to each other is that the newly minted Mrs. and Mrs. Mattox couldn’t officially put a ring on it for most of that time.

Now, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling, they have what they feel their love deserves.

“Finally, finally we can have the same last name,” said Mattox.

It’s a desire that’s filled the wedding room this month at the Sacramento County clerk-recorder’s office.

“Since July first of this year, 15 working days, we’ve done 245 more marriage licenses than we did this time last year,” said Clerk-Recorder Craig Kramer.

Sharing a name is nice, but not the couple’s biggest concern.

“We got in a car accident a couple of weeks ago and the whole thing was, what if something had happened to either of us? We wouldn’t have actually had the legal rights to take care of one another.  Now we do and no one can stand in the way of me being with her or her being with me. That’s the difference,” said Mattox.

They’re happy other couples who got to wed during the brief window when it was previously legal in California are getting an equitable chance at the health benefits offered to state employees through CalPERS.

Now through December 31, a new enrollment period is open for same-sex couples married before June 26, 2013.

For couples married since the Supreme Court ruling, that counts as a qualifying event through CalPERS and they have 60 days after their wedding to enroll.


82 retired United Methodist pastors in the California-Nevada Conference say they will defy the church and performs same-sex marriages if active pastors decline.

Violating the church’s Book of Discipline, which prohibits same-sex weddings performed by pastors on church property, has resulted in sanctions in other conferences within the 13 million-member church.

But Rev. Don Fado – who is retired from St. Mark’s United Methodist Church – says the Book of Discipline also urges  members to welcome gays and lesbians into the church, requiring a moral stance.

“We refuse to treat some people as inferior and second class children of God,” said Fado.

Rev. Larry George, who said he experienced bigotry when he was growing up in the Midwest, said marriage equality is a human rights issue.

“I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how my marriage can be strengthened by condemning someone else’s,” said George.

If the retired pastors are sanctioned by the church and their credentials are taken away, they could lose their tax exemption for their housing allowance – and possibly their group health insurance.  The California-Nevada Conference in recent years hasn’t taken action against their pastors who perform same-sex marriages, but punishment could come from the national level.

Possible Legal Options Regarding Proposition 8SACRAMENTO (

The California Supreme Court refused Monday to stop gays from marrying while it considers a legal bid to revive Proposition 8.

The court rejected a request by ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of the 2008 ballot measure, to stop the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples while considering the group’s contention that a federal judge’s injunction against the marriage ban did not apply statewide.

The court is not expected to rule on the group’s petition until August, at the earliest.


ring ceremony gay marriage(LA Times) — ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of Proposition 8, filed an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday to stop same-sex marriages from continuing in California.

The petition says the decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to permit weddings starting Friday afternoon was “premature.”

“When the Ninth Circuit originally put in place its stay to prevent same-sex marriage pending Supreme Court action, it stated clearly that ‘the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court,’ ” the group said in a written statement.

“Under Supreme Court procedural rules, ‘final disposition’ comes when the Supreme Court issues a ‘mandate’ to the Ninth Circuit, at least 25 days after announcing its opinion in the case. The 25-day waiting period is provided to allow parties such as Prop. 8’s proponents to petition the Supreme Court for a re-hearing of the case.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote Wednesday’s decision that gutted the anti-gay marriage Defense of Marriage Act, usually decides such petitions from California.

“People on both sides of this debate should at least agree that the courts must follow their own rules,” said Andy Pugno, chief counsel for ProtectMarriage. “This kind of lawlessness just further weakens the public’s confidence in the legitimacy of our legal system. We hope the Supreme Court will step in and restore some order here.”

On Friday, the appeals court bypassed a normal waiting period in lifting a hold on a trial judge’s order that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional.





Eleven same-sex couples married in Sacramento after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay on gay marriage Friday.

The Sacramento County Clerk’s Office stayed open late Friday evening, until 7 p.m., so couples could come apply for marriage licenses.

The first couple since 2008 to do so, Nicola Simmersbach and Diana Luiz, were so excited that they forgot their rings at home.

The Clerk’s Office will reopen Monday with extra staff.

Celebrations Fill Capitol After Prop 8 Ruling

File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Los Angeles Times)-

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California.

The court lifted its stay on an injunction which ordered state officials to stop enforcing Proposition 8. With the court’s action, counties can now begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

A spokesman for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had originally said it would takes the court at least 25 days to act after a Supreme Court ruling. Immediately afterward, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered his public health agency to advise the state’s counties to “begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the 9th Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.”

Opponents of same-sex marriage have argued that Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision overturning Proposition 8 applied only to the two same-sex couples who challenged the ballot measure. But their enthusiasm for going to court to try to narrow the effect of the decision appeared to wane in the hours after the decision.

With Brown and Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris pledging to block Proposition 8 across California, the momentum for gay marriage was likely to hinder any further challenges.

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Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez welcomes Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling on Prop. 8, and says his city will be ready.

“I really am thankful to the Supreme Court doing the right thing,” Sanchez said. “I look forward to officiating weddings for man-man, woman-woman combinations. I look forward to doing one that will be as a result of this historic decision made by the Supreme Court.”

And with six weddings already under his belt, the mayor carries in his pocket the most essential part.

“If they have the marriage license,  and the photo ID and the rings, it’s a two-page wedding ceremony,” he said of the service, which will be free.

“They can call me anytime. I will have the script with me and I’ll be ready.”

Paul Robins and Bethany Crouch talk to Randy Thomasson with They discuss the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop 8.