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California state attorney asks for immediate same-sex marriage

The state’s senior legal advisor wants unions to continue while the State Supreme Court considers upholding a total ban.

California's attorney general Kamala Harris wants same-sex unions to continue while the courts rule on the validity of a ban on the practice.
California's attorney general Kamala Harris wants same-sex unions to continue while the courts rule on the validity of a ban on the practice.
Image: Damian Dovarganes/AP

THE TOP ATTORNEY for the state of California has dealt another setback for to opponents of gay marriage, with her request to allow same-sex unions to resume immediately.

State attorney general Kamala Harris’ request, made to an appeals court considering the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban, comes a week after the Obama administration said it would no longer defend a federal law stopping the US from recognising same-sex unions.

Together, the two actions represent a blow to opponents of gay marriage and to Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that banned the unions in California in 2008.

In a letter to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, Harris joined the lawyers for two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco in seeking the resumption of gay marriages in California. The unions were put on hold while Proposition 8′s backers appealed an earlier ruling striking down the ban.

Harris said those sponsors were win their appeal, and argued that keeping the ban in effect was a fruitless violation of gay Californians’ civil rights.

“The public interest weighs heavily against the government sanctioning such discrimination by permitting it to continue,” she wrote.

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Harris also said the case for allowing gay marriages was bolstered by the Obama administration’s announcement last week that it would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Lawyers for supporters of Proposition 8 disputed the attorney general’s argument, however, saying Obama’s policy decisions “in no way changethe law and the role of the court to decide Prop 8′s validity.”

Harris took over as attorney general in January when her predecessor, Jerry Brown, succeeded Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. Both Brown and Schwarzenegger had asked the courts to allow gay marriage to continue during the appeals process. - AP

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