Is San Diego Ready for Gay Marriages?

San Diego's County Clerk says he is prepared

By Lindsay Hood
|  Friday, Aug 6, 2010  |  Updated 11:31 AM PDT
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Images: Prop 8 Fight

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Californians are waiting to hear whether a judge will lift a stay allowing gay couples to marry.

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What Happens Now With Prop 8?

Both sides are already planning for the next step, which appears to be toward the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Judge Vaughn Walker is expected to announce on Friday, whether or not a stay will be lifted allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Walker overturned Prop 8 on Wednesday. In his ruling, he said the proposition was unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

Here in San Diego County, the Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk's office is preparing for what could be an onslaught of gay and lesbian couples seeking marriage licenses.

"If it is removed, we expect a lot of people," Butler said. He said when the decision came down on Wednesday,  the phone was ringing off the hook, couples were already trying to set appointments.

The stay that was issued shortly after the decision came down, of course, prevents the office from issuing marriage licenses.

"The ARCC will comply with the orders of the court, and as such are unable to expand our services to same-sex couples until entry of the final judgment," Butler said in a prepared statement on Thursday. "We will continue to monitor any new developments and will take immediate action to implement the Court’s ruling once it becomes effective."

Should the stay be reversed, Butler says it will be business as usual at the assessor/recorder/county clerk's office. The office will not be open over the weekend; they will maintain their regular hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

All couples interested in getting a marriage license at the office must first make an appointment, Butler said.

At their appointment, couples will meet with a member of staff who will process the paperwork. If they wish, the clerk will perform the ceremony right after the license is issued, Butler said.

"We perform 48 percent of all marriages in San Diego County," Butler said.

The downtown office usually sees an average of 70 appointments each day and can only handle a total of 90 appointments per day, Butler said.

Their satellite offices in San Marcos and El Cajon can handle up to 20 appointments per day.

Butler said they have appointments open for next week and can schedule appointments as far as six months out.

If the stay is lifted, opponents will likely ask a higher court for stay, but it will take time for the court to answer.

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