City officials from San Francisco are asking a federal court for 24 hours' notice if the ban on same-sex marriage in the state is lifted.
According to NBC News legal analyst Pete Williams, two years ago, a federal judge ruled that the state's Proposition 8, which banned marriage for gay couples, was unconstitutional. That ruling has been on hold ever since, as the case worked its way through the appeals courts.
The US Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss, at its closed-door conference Friday, whether to take up the appeal. If the court declines to hear the case, the original ruling declaring it unconstitutional would be free to take effect, and same-sex marriage would once again become legal in California.
If the Supreme Court does refuse to take up the appeal, the effect of its action would not be immediate. The case would be sent back to the federal appeals court in San Francisco, which would then formally put into effect the ruling that struck down Prop 8 -- a process known as issuing the mandate.
In a letter received late Tuesday, NBC News reports that the city attorney's office in San Francisco asked the appeals court to give 24 hours' notice before issuing the mandate. City police, the letter said, would be grateful for a heads-up "so that the Department can plan for and deploy an adequate number of officers to the areas where protests are likely to occur." What's more, the letter said, the city anticipates "immediate and substantial demand from same-sex couples for marriage licenses and ceremonies."
If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the appeal of the Proposition 8 case, the ban on same-sex marriage in the state would remain in place. We could find out as early as this Friday what the court intends to do with the case.