Calif. to U.S.: Allow same-sex marriage

March 1, 2011 at 7:54 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 1 (UPI) -- California Attorney General Kamala Harris Tuesday asked a U.S. court to allow same-sex marriage to take place while a state ban on the practice is under appeal.

California voters in 2008 approved Proposition 8, depriving gay and lesbian couples of the right to marry, granted in a previous state court ruling that laws against same-sex marriage violated the California Constitution.

In a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, federal Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the Proposition 8 ban violated the U.S. Constitution on due process and equal protection grounds. An appeals court then ordered a hold on further same-sex marriages while Walker's ruling was appealed.

Harris filed arguments Tuesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking that the hold be lifted. The request followed a decision by the California Supreme Court to take up an issue in the case, a development that could mean a final determination in the 9th Circuit would not come for more than a year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"For 846 days Proposition 8 has denied equality under law to gay and lesbian couples," Harris argued. "Each and every one of those days, same-sex couples have been denied their right to convene loved ones and friends to celebrate marriages sanctioned and protected by California law."

The state Supreme Court said this month it would rule on the question of whether Proposition 8 backers have legal standing to defend the ballot initiative against legal challenges. State officials have said they will not defend Proposition 8 in court.

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