Deflated couples maintain hope 

Adrian Molina wasn’t entirely surprised he would not be able to marry his boyfriend of three years last week, but Monday’s decision to push back the possibility for another four months was a blow.

Molina, along with thousands of same-sex couples, hoped to exchange vows and obtain a marriage license beginning Wednesday, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to place a hold on marriages until after the case is heard in December was not what any of them hoped for.

“It hurt a little,” the 24-year-old Oakland resident said. “I was always cautiously optimistic, but this time, I let my guard down and got my hopes up.”

Molina said he and his partner, Ryan Dooley, 24, have been engaged since January, but they had never expected to be able to exchange vows in California, their home state. After a ruling from Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker that overturned voter-approved Proposition 8 — which banned same-sex marriage — they began planning their nuptials, only to have their dreams at least temporarily dashed days later.

Teresa Rowe said learning her marriage to her partner of five years would need to be postponed again was disappointing, but she’s optimistic it will be worth the wait.

“In the end, love will prevail,” she said. “Nothing is official until that marriage license is in my hands.”

Mayor Gavin Newsom said he, too, was disappointed by the decision to delay same-sex marriages.

“I am heartened by the court’s decision to resolve the appeal on an expedited schedule,” Newsom said in a released statement. “Today, I am more confident than ever that justice and equal rights under the law will ultimately prevail.”

However, Roberto Ordeñana of the LGBT Community Center said people must not give up hope.

“It’s one hurdle in our quest for fairness,” Ordeñana said.

Molina said he will marry his longtime partner regardless of whether it’s legal. They are now planning a March ceremony.
But, Molina said he still holds out hope that the court will rule in favor of love.

“We shouldn’t have to make excuses why we’re OK with being treated unequally,” he said. “It is about the legalities and the rights, but also it’s an insult to have your equal rights held out of reach.”

Yes, you can — no, you can’t

Monday’s ruling to put same-sex marriages on hold indefinitely is the latest in a string of back-and-forth decisions changing whether couples can legally marry.  

Yes, you can
Feb. 12, 2004: San Francisco issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

No, you can’t
March 11, 2004: California Supreme Court orders The City to stop marrying same-sex couples. More than 4,000 such couples were married.

No, you can’t
Aug. 12, 2004: The California Supreme Court voids San Francisco’s same-sex marriages, finding that they violated state law.

Yes, you can
March 14, 2005:
A San Francisco Superior Court judge declares California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The ruling is put on hold to allow for court appeals.

No, you can’t
Oct. 5, 2006:
California Court of Appeal panel upholds marriage laws that exclude gay and lesbian couples as constitutional.

No, you can’t
Nov. 4, 2008:
Proposition 8, a ballot measure amending the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, is passed with just over 52 percent of the vote.

No, you can’t
May 26, 2009:
The state Supreme Court upholds Prop. 8, but rules that the marriages of same-sex couples already married are valid.

Yes, you can
Aug. 4, 2010:
Judge Vaughn Walker rules Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, allowing same-sex marriages to resume, but he issues a stay in the ruling.

Yes, you can
Aug. 12, 2010:
Judge Walker orders that the stay on same-sex marriages be lifted at 5 p.m. Aug 18, pending any further appeals.

No, you can’t
Aug. 16, 2010:
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay that will block gay and lesbian couples from getting married until at least December.

Source: Examiner archives; National Center for Lesbian Rights

Trips down the aisle stalled

What happened

  • On Aug. 4, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violated the equal protection and due process rights of gays and lesbians guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution
  • Walker ordered state officials to stop enforcing Prop. 8 beginning Wednesday afternoon, allowing legal same-sex marriages
  • Ban’s backers appealed that ruling and also asked the 9th Circuit to block same-sex weddings
  • 9th Circuit delayed marriages, but is expediting court case

What’s next

  • Opening briefs due Sept. 17
  • Oral arguments expected to begin week of Dec. 6

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