When will the weddings start?

Kamala Harris discusses Prop8 rulingA look at dates

by Brian Leubitz

A few folks have asked the all-important question of when will the weddings start. When, indeed?

It is a relatively simple question with a somewhat complicated response. With some help from the press office of the SF City Attorney’s office, I’ve dug out that information so you don’t have to. To start from the beginning, after any US Supreme Court decision, there is generally a 25-day period for parties to file a petition for rehearing of a U.S. Supreme Court decision. Once that period expires, the high court issues its final judgment.  U.S. Supreme Court Rule 44 provides the following:

Any petition for the rehearing of any judgment or decision of the Court on the merits shall be filed within 25 days after entry of the judgment or decision, unless the Court or a Justice shortens or extends the time.

In this case, the Ninth Circuit has a stay-pending-appeal in place, and traditionally the appellate court will not lift them until the final judgment is entered after the 25 day period. However, a party could still petition the appellate court to vacate its stay, and nothing would prevent the 9th Cir from acting on the petition.  It is tradition to wait for the rehearing period to expire, but it is merely a judicial prerogative. The Ninth Circuit could decide to dissolve its stay even in before the rehearing period elapses, and before the final judgment.  However, that is up to the Ninth Circuit in all their judicial wisdom.

All that being said, in today’s press conference, Attorney General Kamala Harris very politely asked the court to lift the stay.

“There could potentially be that delay of 25 days,” Harris acknowledged. “Our point is the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has within its power an ability to lift the stay before the judgment comes down, so what I am asking specifically is that the Ninth Circuit lift its stay.

How that request actually gets handled will be sorted out later this week, and the 9th Circuit will probably consider it shortly. The proponents of Prop 8 will likely be none too pleased, but the ship has sailed at this point. The highest Court in the land has ruled, and Prop 8 is not long for this world.

So, I can’t give an exact date. In a perfect world, the 9th circuit would lift the stay right away and we would be able to start in a few days. But in the “worst case scenario”, we are looking at a delay of 25 days, with weddings beginning in late July. Sounds like a lovely time for a few thousand weddings.