Gay couples can begin to marry immediately in California thanks to the last procedural hurdle being overcome in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down to California Proposition 8.
On Friday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lift its stay on the injunction against the enforcement of Prop 8 that was put in place by U.S. District Vaughn Walker.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin praised the development in a statement from San Francisco prior to the city’s Pride celebration.
“After four and a half long and painful years, justice for committed gay and lesbian couples has finally been delivered,” Griffin said. “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.”
Griffin said the news is welcome relief to the gay plaintiff couples in the lawsuit that he helped to initiate to put an end to Prop 8 in addition to the many thousands of same-sex couples in California.
“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,” Griffin said. “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.”
The American Federation for Equal Rights, which was responsible for the lawsuit, said in statement the plaintiff couples would be the first to marry in California in the aftermath of Prop 8. Perry and Stier are set to marry in San Francisco while Katami and Zarrillo are set to marry in Los Angeles. California Attorney General Kamala Harris said via Twitter she’d officiate over the ceremony in San Francisco.
About to marry the #Prop8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier. Wedding bells are ringing!
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2013
Griffin concluded, “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.”
UPDATE: At 4:45 pm, Harris married Perry and Stier in San Francisco City Hall, saying, “Today, we witness not only the joining of Kristen and Sandy, but the realization of their dream: marriage. They have waited, hoped and fought for this moment. Today, their wait is finally over.”