Washington, DC — A U.S. Supreme Court decision this morning clears the path for gay couples to marry in California.
The court issued a 5-4 ruling that defenders of Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same sex marriage, did not have the right to appeal a lower court’s decision that struck down the ban as unconstitutional. The decision will essentially allow same sex couples to once again marry in California.
The Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage was approved by state voters in 2008.
The Associated Press reports that Gov. Jerry Brown has directed the California Department of Public Health to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as soon as a federal appeals court lifts its stay on a lower court ruling in the case. The Democratic governor says he and Attorney General Kamala Harris have determined that county clerks and county registrars must comply with Wednesday’s ruling and begin registering same-sex marriage licenses once the stay is lifted.
In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had previously denied federal benefits to spouses in same sex relationships. DOMA was approved in 1996.