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Brown, Harris move to resume gay marriages

Governor Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris are moving to assure that gay marriages quickly resume in California.

After the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday let stand a lower court ruling effectively overturning Proposition 8 — the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage — Brown issued an order requiring all counties in California to issue marriage certificates to gay couples as soon as a federal appeals court lifts a stay.

The order from Brown came after some legal experts questioned if the court’s ruling applied to all California counties.

But in a letter to the governor and in a Wednesday morning press conference, Harris said the Supreme Court’s ruling was valid in all of the state’s 58 counties:

“I am absolutely certain and sure that our analysis on this is correct, which is that each of the 58 counties in the state of California has to fulfill the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker which says this (Proposition 8) is unconstitutional.”

Harris also went a step further in urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to immediately lift a stay that had been in place during the appeals process:

“As soon as they lift that stay, marriages are on. The wedding bells will ring.”

Harris threatened legal action if any California county refused to comply.

Shortly after the  Supreme Court’s ruling, Brown directed the California Department of Public Health to advise county officials that the court’s ruling applies statewide:

“After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of that decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties that they must begin issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.”

Still, officials at — a group that terms itself the “official proponent” of Proposition 8 — vowed to oppose gay marriage. Andy Pugno, general counsel, said in a statement:

“While it is unfortunate that the Court’s ruling does not directly resolve questions about the scope of the trial court’s order against Prop 8, we will continue to defend Prop 8 and seek its enforcement until such time as there is a binding statewide order that renders Prop 8 unenforceable.”

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