Today's historic Supreme Court ruling on California's Proposition 8 cracks open the door for the state's gay and lesbian couples to marry. Gov. Jerry Brown has already sent a letter ordering all California counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples -- but not until a stay is lifted by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
McGeorge School of Law professor Larry Levine, who was in the gallery in the Supreme Court for oral arguments in March, cautions that while today's ruling may make same-sex marriage seem inevitable in California, it's not happening yet.
Q: What happens now?
A: If there's not a lawsuit already filed to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying in California, there will be in a minute. It will probably argue that the only people who can legally marry are the couples who were plaintiffs in the original case before (federal court).
I think there's another act in the play. I think there is. Gays and lesbians are not going to marry tomorrow.
Q. What does it say to you that Justice John Roberts, one of the Supreme Court's conservative justices, found that the Proposition 8 supporters -- who oppose gay marriage -- aren't legally entitled to bring the case to federal court?
A: It says that the people friendliest to their cause are saying they're irrelevant. It's a very strong message. It says that Prop. 8 proponents don't have a continuing role to play.
But they'll try. They'll file lawsuits. It'll have to be in state court, because the ruling says they have no standing in federal court.
Call The Bee's Anita Creamer, (916) 321-1136. Follow her in Twitter @AnitaCreamer.