In May and June, same-sex marriage was legalized in four more U.S. states, bringing the total number of states that recognize gay marriage to 13 – California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – plus D.C..
With the May 2, 2013 passage of its same-sex marriage bill, Rhode Island became the tenth U.S. state to recognize gay marriage. The new law takes effect on August 1, 2013, when same-sex marriage ceremonies will begin taking place.
On May 7, 2013 the Delaware Senate voted to legalize gay marriage. The law took effect in Delaware on July 1, 2013.
On May 13, 2013, the Minnesota State Senate voted 37-30 to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay marriages will begin in Minnesota on August 1, 2013.
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court dismissed the Hollingsworth v. Perry case that dealt with the legality of Prop. 8 – the voter-approved ban on gay marriage in California – because the Prop. 8 supporters had no “standing” to litigate the issue (they could not show a sufficient connection to any harm resulting from the lower court’s ruling).
What does this all mean? Basically, the Supreme Court chose not to disturb the U.S. District Court’s (federal court) decision that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. Although a federal court overturned Prop. 8 in 2010 and ruled that same-sex marriages could continue to take place in California, that order was “stayed” (put on hold) pending the appeal process.
The June 26 decision cleared the path for same-sex marriages to resume in California, but they could not take place until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay of the lower court’s order. The Ninth Circuit surprised everyone by dissolving the stay only two days after SCOTUS’ decision. Once that happened, California Governor Jerry Brown directed all court officials and clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.
The plaintiff couples in the Perry case were the first to be married since the decision. At around 5:00 p.m. on June 28, 2013, California State Attorney General Kamala Harris officiated the wedding of plaintiffs Sandra Stier and Kris Perry at San Francisco City Hall. About an hour and a half later, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa married the other plaintiffs, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.
County clerks and registrar offices across California are adding additional staff and officiants to handle the wave of gay marriages that began on Monday, July 1, 2013.
If you are in a same-sex couple and were married during the 4-month-period in 2008 when same-sex marriage was legal in California, your marriage is still valid. If you are in a registered domestic partnership, the ruling has no effect on your relationship status. Domestic partnership registrations are different from marriage licenses. The California Secretary of State’s Office will continue to process domestic partnership registrations and notices of termination of domestic partnerships.