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Friday, May 30, 2008

California Gay Marriage Licenses will be available on June 17th

June 17th will be the day that California County Clerks can start issuing marriage license to gay & lesbian couples. The guidelines, which were emailed from the chief of California's office of vital records to the state's 58 county clerks, included copies of the new marriage forms, which now include lines for "Party A" and "Party B," instead of bride and groom. These new forms also contain a change to accommodate same-sex couples who already have registered as domestic partners

Now the only thing keeping California from issuing gay marriage licenses is a stay request from opponents of gay marriage. These anti gay marriage groups, which include the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund and the Alliance Defense Fund, have asked the court to stay its decision until after the November election, when voters will likely be deciding on a ballot initiative that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Passage of the initiative would overrule the Supreme Court.

The California court has until the end of the day on June 16th to rule on the stay request. Lawyers involved in the marriage cases have said that it is possible for the court to request an extra 60 days to consider the stay, if they feel it is necessary.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera submitted a brief on Wednesday urging the court to refuse the request of a stay. "To deny this fundamental constitutional right to same-sex couples based on speculation about what might happen in November would not merely be inappropriate, it would be inhumane," Herrera's wrote in his brief.

A poll released on Wednesday found that for the first time about half of California voters would support same-sex marriage.

The Field Poll, which surveyed 1,052 registered voters and conducted over the phone from May 17 to May 26, found that 51 percent of respondents would vote for legalizing same-sex marriage and 42 percent opposed it. In 2006, a similar poll found that 44 percent supported same-sex marriage while 50 percent objected to it; in 1977, the first year Field posted the question to California voters, only 28 percent were in favor.

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