It's deja vu all over again for California and across the nation, as the court released word that the decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger will be handed down later today, Wednesday, August 4.
So, what does this mean?
Here are the eight basics (with only a little cheating) on what's going to happen and what to look for when it does happen. This is a primer related to the lawsuit and the legal decision; I will leave for other times and other posts any political or "movement" implications or consequences.
1. What, who, when & where?
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, held the trial in January and June of this year in the federal courthouse in San Francisco. He will not be announcing his decision from the bench. The decision will simply appear online between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. PDT (4 p.m. and 6 p.m. EDT) today. A limited number of paper copies also will be made available at various California federal courthouses.
2. Why is this happening?
Chad Griffin, a politico with Hollywood ties, convinced some heavy hitters -- including Oscar-nominated director Rob Reiner and Oscar-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black -- that more needed to happen in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 than Equality California and the trio of legal groups -- the ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR -- were willing to do to fight the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The group recruited Ted Olson, a conservative, and David Boies, a liberal, to serve as the lead lawyers in a federal court challenge to the amendment. After a trial that lasted three weeks in January and concluded with closing arguments in June, the decision is set for today.
3. What is going to happen later today?
Today, regardless of the decision, not much -- in terms of actual change -- will likely happen. Because both sides have made clear -- and Judge Walker has acknowledged -- that they plan to appeal should they lose on Wednesday, it is likely that a temporary stay would be granted, which would halt the enforcement of the ruling until an appeal can be heard by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. AFER's spokesman confirmed to Metro Weekly that the Proposition 8 proponents, who intervened in the case to oppose the plaintiffs, have filed a conditional motion to stay the trial court decision pending the outcome of the appeal.
4. What could the judge decide?