The supreme court justices could rule any day on two landmark cases that could define same-sex marriage. The first is California's ban on same-sex marriage known as proposition 8. The second is a federal law, known as the defense of marriage act, that denies certain benefits to married gay couples.
Gay activists are rallying on the corners of Chico to alert the community this week the decision is in. there are several scenarios that could allow gay marriage in California. The most sweeping: if the supreme court rules agrees with the lower courts and says a ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. If that happens same-sex marriages could happen nationwide. The ruling could also be California specific. Since California did briefly allow same-sex marriage in 2008, the court could rule that the state can't take the right away. The court could also find that marriage alternatives, like domestic partnerships and civil unions are separate and unequal. That would mean any state that has those options, including California, would have to allow same-sex marriage, or the court could decline to rule meaning the lower court ruling stands. Prop 8 would be out and same-sex marriages could begin but only in California, the other bans would stay in place.
There's also the possibility that the court rules bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional: and prop 8 would stand, as would same-sex marriage bans in 34 other states. Gay marriage activists in Chico, don't know if they're planning a giant party, or mass mourning.
At San Francisco city hall, they've been preparing for this for months. Dozens of volunteers have been deputized as temporary city clerks so that if the floodgates open, there will be more officiants to help couples seal the deal.