Plans Move Ahead for Same-Sex Weddings Wednesday
The judicial clock is ticking down towards Judge Vaughn Walker’s Wednesday, August 18th, 5:00pm lift of the stay in the Federal Prop 8 Trial.
In the event that the temporary stay is lifted and once again, same-sex couples are allowed to apply for a marriage license, the leadership of Equality Action Now and the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center will host Wedding Ceremonies on the West Steps of the California State Capitol Building beginning as soon as the first couples arrive from the Sacramento County Clerks Office.
Same-sex couples and their supporters all across the state have been on an emotional roller coaster; first in anticipation of the initial ruling in the case then jubilation when Prop 8 was struck down. Almost immediately a huge letdown happened as a temporary stay was put into place. Once again anticipation reigns supreme with same sex couples that are prepared to join the 18,000 who have already legally married.
One thing is a clear, ProtectMarriage.com and other proponents of Proposition 8 who stepped in the place of the State to take the case to the Federal Court will be relentless and will spare no cost in finding a way to convince the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, or even the Supreme Court to place a permanent stay. Their goal is to keep same-sex marriages from taking place until a decision is made in the higher court. That decision could take as long as two years.
If a permanent stay is put into place, Wendy Rae Hill, Executive Director of the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center explained, “Same-sex couples will continue to suffer the indignity of being considered second-class citizens and we and our families will continue to be without the same rights and protections legally married couples have. Ether way those who are currently legally married suffer no consequences what-so-ever”.
Putting all the legal wrangling aside, Enrique Manjarrez, a volunteer with Equality Action Now says, “Thinking positively, our organization, along with the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center and several other individuals in the community are planning a memorable wedding ceremony for any couple who wish to be one of the first in the State to legally marry after last weeks landmark decision by the Federal Court. There will not be a mass ceremony”.
Couples who wish to participate will have the opportunity to take their vows on the West Steps of the California State Capitol. They may use their own marriage officiate or one of several Ministers of local churches who have stepped up and offered their services. Depending on their schedules, several legislators have also indicated they would be happy to step out of the Capitol to perform civil ceremonies.
In checking with the Downtown Sacramento County Clerk's Office, a representative said if the stay is lifted, they intend to stay open after their usual closing time of 5:00pm. At 5:00pm they will issue only same-sex marriage licenses until 8:00pm. The official said they would process those couples that made a reservation ahead of any walk-ins. Reservations are full for Wednesday and Thursday and filling quickly for Friday.
The Capitol Marriage Ceremony Coordinator is asking help from the community and from local businesses who stand to have an increase in their business to donate their time, products, and services to make Wednesday a special day for all same-sex couples who plan to marry. The community is encouraged to attend to support those who are getting married. If you would like to participate and marry Wednesday evening at the State Capitol contact Enrique Manjarrez by calling the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center at 916-442-0185.
Press Release | Ken Pierce
Photos | Kati Garner