Los Angeles-based Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo have been standing in for California same sex couples, along with Alameda County-based Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, in their federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8 since May 22, 2009. When the 2008 voter-passed Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional [pdf] by the US District Court in August 2010 - the couples and their legal sponsor - the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) - celebrated the return of same sex marriage to California with a huge rally in West Hollywood.
(AFER Plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo celebrating the US District Court ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional at a rally in West Hollywood in 2010. Photo by Karen Ocamb)
But, as expected, the ruling was challenged by Prop 8 proponents Protect Marriage. On Feb. 7, 2012, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's decision [pdf] and Prop 8 proponents asked the US Supreme Court to take the case. On Friday, the high court met privately to decide whether to review Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown), along with several cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage ACT (DOMA).
Four Justices must decide to grant the review, known as a writ of certiorari (or cert). If they decide to grant review, the Court will hear arguments on whether Prop 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. If the Court denies cert - the 9th Circuit ruling stands and marriage equality is restored to California.
The Court is expected to release the Order List of cases denied and granted review by Monday, Dec. 3. According to AFER, there is also a possibility the Court will neither grant nor deny review, which means they would likely discuss it again at a future Conference.
AFER will hold a national news conference call immediately after the Order List is released if Prop 8 is on or not on the list. They expect the Order List to be released on Monday at 6:30am PT/9:30am ET, with the conference call 30 minutes later featuring the AFER team including winning attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, Plaintiffs Katami & Zarrillo and Perry & Stiers, and AFER co-founder Chad Griffin, now President of the Human Rights Campaign.
(AFER Plaintiffs sandy Stier and Kris Perry kiss AFER founder and HRC President Chad Griffin. Photo by Karen Ocamb)
If cert is denied on Monday and marriage equality is restored - AFER will hold a press conference downtown at 10:00 Pacific. Members of the West Hollywood City Council will also hold a news conference at 10:00am at West Hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. AFER will then host a community celebration with actor/director Rob Reiner as Master of Ceremonies and leaders from local and national organizations at 5:30pm at Grant Park Performance Lawn, 221 North Hill Street, downtown Los Angeles. (Go to afer.org/IDoLA for directions and parking info when and if cert is denied.)
WeHo will also hold a rally at 7:30pm in the Auto Court of the West Hollywood Library on San Vicente between Santa Monica Blvd and Melrose Ave. And apparently the Long Beach Center is hosting a wedding reception/rally at 8:00pm.
FOR LA AREA COUPLES CONSIDERING MARRIAGE:
If cert is denied and marriage equality is restored, the order for when marriage licenses can be issued will be determined by court order and that could take time. However, a spokesperson for the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RRCC) says that they are "ready," know what to expect and have all the paperwork prepared to go "within hours" of the court order being made public.
Additionally - you can get more information from the RRCC website - where you can also save time by applying for a marriage license online. There are also lists of satellite locations so you don't have to drive out to the main RRCC office Norwalk. In 2008, before Prop 8 when marriages were legal, RRCC Dean Logan worked with city officials in West Hollywood and elsewhere to set up satellite locations there, too. In fact, Dean Logan was so on top of this four years ago, I suspect he might set up a special information to the county's marriage license page.
But there are still so many 'ifs" - we just have to wait and see.