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County Registrar Explains Gay Marriage License Suspension

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At West Hollywood's 'Wedding Park' in June (more photos here) | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

After LAist learned that Los Angeles County was suspending marriage licenses for gay couples, we asked Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan for some more detail on why and what next, especially in light of the millions of uncounted ballots. Here's what he said:

The decision to suspend was made based on the directive in the California State Constitution, which states that amendments passed by a majority of the voters takes effect the day after the election unless the effective date is addressed separately in the proposal. In the case of Proposition 8, the measure did not address an effective date. Along with the other counties throughout the state, we received verbal directives from the State Office of Vital Records to discontinue issuing licenses and performing ceremonies for same-sex couples. Additionally, the state election code does call for the Secretary of State to determine a Semi-Official Canvass of the election returns once all of the counties report their election night totals, which we used as the basis for determining the majority of the votes cast on the measure as of the day after the election. We anticipated that there would be litigation on the outcome of this measure and how it is to the administered and, indeed, several lawsuits were filed late yesterday afternoon. As noted in my statement, the "suspension" is based on the Constitutional provisions, but we will act in accordance with any judicial or state regulatory directive on this matter. This is a complicated matter and one in which the counties have, despite efforts to do so, been unable to get the state Office of Vital Records, which has oversight and regulatory authority on the matter, to formally address. Again, we are monitoring closely the lawsuits that have been filed and we are prepared to act in accordance with any directive or clarification as soon as one is issued.

Hope this is helpful.

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three lawsuits are reported to have been submitted so far.