In response to two landmark Supreme Court decisions Wednesday, which paved the way for same-sex marriages in California, the Santa Clarita Valley gay and lesbian community is holding a celebration at McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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“It was going to be a rally, but we decided heck, it’s going to be a celebration — we’re going to have a block party,”said 72-year-old Valencia resident Malcolm Blue, who’s also a board member for the Santa Clarita Valley chapter of PFLAG, a support group for the gay, lesbian and transgender community.
Anticipating the decision this morning, Blue, who is gay, said he wasn’t hopeful that the court would alter the current status of same-sex marriage in California, which was deemed illegal by voter-approved Prop 8 in 2008.
Ahead of the decision, many pundits were saying a conservative court may decide to leave Proposition 8 alone; and a recent decision that struck down parts of the Voters Rights Act left many discouraged, Blue said.
“When I heard what they determined about the Voter Rights Act, I had a headache,” Blue said. “But when the second (decision) was announced I got so crazy I scared my dog,” he said, laughing.
“We were going to be (At McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard) anyways, maybe hugging each other and being down,” Blue said.“It’s amazing. I’m experiencing things I didn’t think I’d ever experience in my lifetime.”
The head of a local Republican group said the people’s voice was being ignored with the recent SCOTUS decision.
“I think the people of California got burned again,” said Joe Messina, Republican Central Committee chairman for the 38th Assembly District.
“They have voted several times on ‘traditional marriage,’ and the courts don’t seem to care,” Messina said. “Just like the immigration laws that have been voted on in this state, only to have the courts overturn them. The people don’t seem to count anymore.”
PFLAG, which is a national organization, offers support primarily for parents who are coming out as gay or transgender, Blue said, adding that the group has been around in Santa Clarita for more than 20 years.
There were two decisions announced early Wednesday morning.
The Supreme Court declared the Federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and said supporters of Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, had no standing in SCOTUS.
The second ruling could be temporarily delayed by potential challenges, according to pundits.
A stay granted by a state appellate court that overturned Proposition 8 following its approval by voters in the 2008 election.
The lower court must now take action to lift that stay — granted by the lower court judge so Proposition 8 supporters had time to appeal the order — before officials can issue marriage licenses, according to LA County Registrar-Recorder officials.
For its part, L.A. County officials said they are prepared in the event of any increased demand for marriage licenses.
“We do not foresee any delays or interruption in service for our customers,” said Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. “We are prepared to accommodate any potential volume increases.”
The Proposition 8 decision means essentially that gay marriages are legal, but the timing of when same-sex marriages can resume hinges on a legal precedent set in a lower court.
However, another challenge could potentially loom.
Another legal issue that might put same-sex marriages on hold involved the scope of Wednesday’s Proposition 8 decision.
Attorneys for Proposition 8 supporters could argue that the decision be limited to only the plaintiffs who challenged Proposition 8 — not all couples in California.
Once the legal process is completed, the county will begin issuing marriage licenses and performing ceremonies for same-sex couples after the order’s stay is lifted, according to the LA County Registrar-Recorder.
The Supreme Court struck down Wednesday the Federal Defense of Marriage Act and determined backers of Prop 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, had no standing before the Justices.
Applications for marriage licenses can be obtained online. Couples complete a online application and bring the confirmation page to the Registrar-Recorder’s office with a $90 public license fee.
A look at key events in the courtroom and at the polling place involving Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in California:
June 26, 2013 – The Supreme Court decided that it could not rule on a challenge to Prop. 8, paving the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California after years of legal battles.
Feb. 28, 2013 – The Obama Administration filed a SCOTUS brief asking the court to allow same-sex marriage to resume in California.
Dec. 7, 2012 – The Supreme Court announced it will take up California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Feb. 21, 2012 – Prop. 8 supporters announcethey plan to ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider the case.
Feb. 7, 2012 – A three-judge panel rules thatProp. 8 is unconstitutional.
Nov. 17, 2011 – The California Supreme Courtagreed Prop. 8 sponsors have the right to defend the ballot measure in court.
Mar. 23, 2011 – A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the requestto allow same-sex marriages to resume.
Mar. 1, 2011 – Attorney General Kamala Harris submitted a petition to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that same-sex marriages be allowed to resume while the court considers the constitutionality of the ban.
Feb. 16, 2011 – The California Supreme Court agreed to answer a request by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which last month requested a clarification on the ability of Prop 8 supporters to press the case in appellate courts. The high court indicated it could hear arguments on the issue as early as September.
Dec. 6, 2010 – The hearing in front of the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lasted nearly three hours.
Nov. 30, 2010 – A three-judge panel (Stephen Reinhardt, 79, liberal; Randy Smith, 61, conservative; Michael Hawkins, 65, moderate) are named to decide on the appeal of the federal court ruling.
Aug. 16, 2010 – A decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals trumps Walker’s ruling and puts same-sex marriages in California on hold indefinitely.
Aug. 12, 2010 – Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that gay marriages can begin again on Aug. 18.
Aug. 4, 2010 – In his 136-page ruling, Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker decided that Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same sex marriage passed in 2008, is unconstitutional.
Feb. 9, 2010 – Trial watchers learn 9th District Court of Appeals Judge Vaughn Walker, assigned to the case randomly, is himself gay.
May 26, 2009 – The California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 determining the proposition legally adjusted the state’s constitution.
Dec. 20, 2008 – In response to three lawsuits seeking to invalidate Proposition 8, the Yes on 8 campaign filed a brief with the state Supreme Court asking to nullify marriages of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before the passage of Prop 8.
Nov. 20, 2008 – The California Supreme Court accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify Proposition 8, but refused to allow couples to resume marrying until it ruled.
Nov. 4, 2008 – California voters adopted the constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, overturning the state Supreme Court decision just months earlier giving gay couples the right to wed. Three legal groups filed a writ petition the day after the election urging the state Supreme Court to invalidate the measure.
June 27, 2008 – The “Limit on Marriage” initiative was designated as Prop. 8 for the November ballot.
March 7, 2000 – California voters passed Proposition 22 which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. One week later, the California Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutionalbecause it discriminated against gays, and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples got married in the ensuing months.
After years of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to issue a decision regarding California’s ban on same-sex marriage.
A look at voter-approved Prop 8 and the women and men it affects, by the numbers:
U.S. Supreme Court Justices: 9
States that have legalized same-sex marriage: 12 plus Washington, D.C.
Same-sex couples living in California: 98,153
Same-sex couples raising children: 15,698
Same-sex couples who identify as spouses: 28,312
Percent of CA voters who chose “yes” on Prop 8 in 2008: 52.3
Percent of CA voters who support same-sex marriage in 2013: 61
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Source: Santa Clarita News