A federal appeals court has lifted its stay blocking same-sex marriages in California, clearing the way for gay couples to start getting married immediately.
In a Friday afternoon move that caught many by surprise, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order saying “the matter is dissolved effective immediately.”
The order ended a stay put in place while the legal battle over Proposition 8 — the state’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage — made its way through the courts.
Previously it was expected that it would take 25 days for the court to lift the stay.
With the way cleared for gay marriages to resume, state Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday afternoon officiated the marriage of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a Berkeley couple who were two of the four plaintiffs in the case.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling of Wednesday, Harris had urged the federal appeals court to immediately lift the stay, saying:
“As soon as they lift that stay, marriages are on. The wedding bells will ring.”
In a tweet Friday announcing that she would officiate the wedding, Harris repeated part of that statement:
“Wedding bells are ringing!”
After the ceremony at San Francisco City Hall Harris said:
“I applaud the 9th Circuit for moving so quickly.”
Shortly after Wednesday’s ruling was issued, Governor Jerry Brown directed the California Department of Public Health to advise county officials that the court’s ruling applies statewide, and ordered all California counties to issue marriage certificates to gay couples when the stay was lifted.