CA Governor Jerry Brown Orders State’s Counties to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples ASAP

California Governor Jerry Brown issued this statement today on the Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8:

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

The Governor's office adds:

The effect of today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling is that the 2010 federal district court's decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional is left intact and the law cannot be enforced.

In response, the Governor has directed the California Department of Public Health to advise county officials today that the district court's injunction against Proposition 8 applies statewide and that all county clerks and county registrar/recorders must comply with it. However, same-sex Californians will not be able to marry until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms the stay of the injunction, which has been in place throughout the appeals process, is lifted.

In preparation for this outcome, Governor Brown sought an opinion from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on whether the state, through the California Department of Public Health, can advise county clerks and registrar/recorders that they are bound by the federal district court's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The Attorney General concluded that the California Department of Public Health "can and should" instruct county officials that they "must resume issuing marriage licenses to and recording the marriages of same-sex" couples. The Department will issue another letter to county officials as soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms the stay is lifted.

The Department of Public Health letter to county officials can be found here. Harris's letter to Brown can be found here.


  1. Tom says

    So happy for my gay brothers and sisters in Calif. who have wanted to marry. Happy Day from Washington State!!!!

  2. Mike Ryan says

    I kid you not, there is happy crying in the streets! This weekend’s Gay Pride Parade is now expected to see 1.25 million people in attendance. Today’s decision will make it shoulder to shoulder happiness.

  3. says

    Just send in the state militia to all the county clerks and marriage offices. The Governor can also form a marriage ‘posse’ to go out and force the clerks to obey the law that has been 2 years over due.

    Come on Gov Moonbean we want some ACTION. (And under CA law he has the right to do what I just mention, since any of these reactionary Christofascist clerks in the central valley will try to skirt their duties.)

    The militia should be dispatched by tonight.

  4. Randy says

    No doubt the dissenters figured this would happen, and that’s why they delayed the issuance of this decision until the very last day on the SCOTUS calendar.

  5. Chuckles says

    But he didn’t say to issue licenses ASAP. He said as soon as the lower court acts. Jeeeez.

  6. says

    @Mike Ryan – 1.25 million people for SF Pride! Fantastic! Now how do we convince BART workers to wait until Monday to go on strike?

  7. anon says

    The ninth could still vacate the ruling of the district court, sending it back to trial.

  8. David Hearne says

    Not to piss in the punchbowl, but now if he would only order the county sheriffs to issue concealed carry permits, California would be the state which respects the Constitution.