SACRAMENTO - Same-sex couples in Kern County and across the state were cleared Friday to get married, with a federal appeals court lifting a stay it had placed on the unions while the case was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nation's highest court ruled Wednesday that supporters of Proposition 8 -- the voter-approved measure that banned same-sex marriage in California -- lacked the proper standing to appeal a lower-court ruling declaring the measure unconstitutional.
The ruling essentially allowed the original federal court ruling to stand, striking down Prop. 8.
But the resumption of weddings was left on hold because of an earlier stay that had been issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals while the case was pending. Although it initially appeared that same-sex couples would have to wait about 25 days before the stay would be lifted, the 9th Circuit issued a one-sentence order today reading, "The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately."
"We're very excited at the idea that to protect marriage you don't have to deprive anybody from getting married," said Whitney Weddell with the Bakersfield LGBTQ.
Dustin Peterson and Steve Marquez told 23ABC they plan to get their married on Monday.
"It was a huge shock. We were thinking we were going to have to wait and then we get a phone call saying hey Monday and it was an amazing surprise," said Marquez.
Bakersfield LGBTQ will be providing ministers who will perform wedding ceremonies for free on Monday outside the Kern County clerk's office.