California to begin issuing marriage licenses June 17
California to begin issuing marriage licenses June 17
SGN Staff Writers

The California Office of Vital Records issued an e-mail to county clerks on May 21 explaining that the state supreme court has until June 16 to decide whether to put a stay on its May 14 ruling, which legalized same-sex marriage. New marriage license forms bearing the gender-neutral designations "Party A" and "Party B" instead of "bride" and "groom" will be ready for issue June 17 if a stay is not granted.

Licenses were originally planned to be released on June 14, 30 days after the court's May 15 ruling. If the court continues to support the same-sex marriage ruling, three California weddings will be carried out on June 17.

The California public seems to be coming around to back same-sex marriage. In a Field Poll study released May 28, 51 percent of respondents supported same-sex marriage while 42 percent opposed it. In an identical 2006 poll, 44 percent approved and 50 percent objected, while the first Field Poll in 1977 recorded 28 percent approval and 59 percent opposition.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown's office filed a brief May 29 with the supreme court recommending rejecting any delays to the passage of the same-sex marriage law.

"This historic litigation is now concluded," Senior Assistant Atty. Gen. Christopher E. Krueger wrote in the brief. "It is time for these proceedings to end."

Krueger held that the possibility of a future reversal of the ruling does not justify denying same-sex couples their entitled rights. Brown's office joined his former courtroom adversaries, lawyers for 23 same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco, in asking the court to deny the stay and let the ruling take effect. Krueger, the state's lawyer, said the possibility of a reversal by the voters does not justify withholding basic civil rights from those who are legally entitled.

The attorneys general of Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah banded together on the opposite side of the issue, asking California to deny civil rights to its citizens by delaying the marriage equality ruling.