Court refuses to stay same-sex marriage ruling

June 4, 2008 6:52:32 PM PDT
There was another big victory for supporters of same-sex marriage on Wednesday. The California Supreme Court refused to put gay and lesbian weddings on hold until after voters have had their say in November.

Antonia and Michael Cohen got married Wednesday ahead of the crush of same sex couples who've packed the appointment calendar at the County Clerk's Office in San Francisco.

"Not around the clock. I have to sleep sometimes. We are planning to expand our hours and our services," says Karen Hong Yee from the SF County Clerks Office.

New forms without the words 'bride and groom' still need to be printed and a call has gone out for City Hall workers to volunteer to help issue marriage licenses.

Right now the County Clerks Office in San Francisco issues three marriage licenses every half hour, but they hope to increase that tenfold starting June 17th.

It's down to the wire since the State Supreme Court decided not to put the marriages on hold. Opponents had wanted a delay until Californians can vote on a proposed constitutional ban in November.

"There's a lot of people angry and frustrated by the judge's order today. In fact, the judges are pouring more fuel on the fire of the voters," says Randy Thomasson from the Campaign for Children and Families.

977 same sex couples have already made appointments in San Francisco. ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson says it's unclear what will happen if the voters approve a ban.

"That's a Pandora's box that we will get into that will lead to litigation," says Johnson.

The Justice's decision takes affect at 5pm June 16th.

The Mayor would like to move forward one minute later if possible. He hopes there are no mass weddings.

"We're starting a new tradition. We'd like to hit the ground doing it the right way. A respectful way. One that people can't criticize as being untoward or not appropriate," says Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Nicole and Ryan Munoz exchanged their vows under the City Hall rotunda Wednesday and look forward to the day when gay and lesbian couples can do the same.


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