California Judge: Start Gay Marriages Next Week

San Francisco, CA – The federal judge who last week declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional further decided today not to stay that ruling pending appeal. The order says California must begin allowing same-sex marriages after 5 p.m. on August 18. The new ruling will allow defenders of Prop. 8 to seek a stay from a higher court.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who shocked the nation last week with his sharply-worded opinion insisting that the U.S. Constitution mandates gay marriage, rejected arguments by the defenders of Prop. 8 that the ruling be put on hold while it is being considered by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In anticipation of the ruling, San Diego County has already indicated that no accommodation will be given to employees of the county clerk’s office who morally object to being involved in gay marriages.

Attorney Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “Today’s ruling further confirms that Judge Walker fully intends to impose his extreme distortion of the Constitution on all Californians. The ruling also gives no protections to conscientious county employees who morally object to personally performing gay weddings. As a result, the judicially created right to gay marriage will trump our fundamental First Amendment rights of conscience.”