Jean Pasco of the Orange County Clerk-Recorder's Office is not sure when same-sex marriages will be allowed again, reportedly saying it could be days or weeks from now.
But Chapman University law professor John Eastman, a marriage equality opponent active with the National Organization for Marriage, claims today's Supreme Court rulings maintain the ban on same-sex marriages in Orange County and the rest of California.
The high court's 5-4 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ruling essentially upholds Prop 8, maintains Eastman, who filed amicus briefs in both cases.
Here is his reasoning: in DOMA, the Supremes ruled federal benefits cannot be withheld from same-sex couples in states that allow such unions. The court did not address the constitutionality of bans on gay marriage, leaving that question up to each state.
California voters in 2008 banned same-sex marriages with the passage of Prop 8, so the DOMA ruling goes at the heart of the “legitimacy” of U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's decree claiming the voter initiative was unconstitutional, according to Eastman.
In other words, DOMA trumps Walker, in the controversial professor's view.
“We don't have a Court of Appeals ruling on Walker because no one had standing to challenge it,” Eastman tells City News Service, ripping a page from the Supreme Court's other historic opinion announced this morning. The high court found Prop 8 proponents don't have legal standing to challenge Walker's ruling because the original case was filed against the California governor and attorney general.
Speaking of those offices, the veteran politician who was AG back then and is governor now (Jerry Brown) was “utterly lawless” for not challenging Walker's ruling on behalf of California voters, according to Eastman, who called the move (or lack thereof) “a manipulative shell game to accomplish an end he could not achieve at the ballot box.”
The professor believes the Prop 8 ruling may now be used to try to invalidate Prop 13. Hey, who was governor again back in 1978 when California enacted the landmark property tax measure? Oh yeah …
If and when marriage equality is again allowed in Orange County and the rest of California, the transition will be seamless, according to Pasco.
“The heavy lifting was done back in 2008,” she tells the news service. “Since then the state has created gender neutral license forms. There's no additional need to change anything.” Same-sex couples have the option of choosing “bride,” “groom” or “none” on the form, she noted.
Of course, that's barring any more legal delays in imposing Walker's order. Cue the missing splinter in the windmill of John Eastman's mind.