US & Canada

Schwarzenegger calls for same-sex weddings to resume

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Image caption Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger was joined in the move by the attorney general and San Francisco city

California's governor and attorney general have asked a US federal judge to allow same-sex couples to wed pending an appeal against his rejection of the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Backers of the ban had asked for a delay while the appeal was considered.

The judge ruled that the ban, known as Proposition 8, was unconstitutional.

"The public interest is best served by... restoring the right of same-sex couples to marry in California," wrote a lawyer for Gov Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Doing so is consistent with California's long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect," the lawyer wrote in a court filing on Friday.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, who is running for governor, filed a separate motion.

A lawyer for the city of San Francisco, which also joined the legal effort, said those supporting the ban had failed to show they would "suffer irreparable injury - or any injury at all" if gays were allowed to marry right away.

'Legal chaos'

US District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled on Wednesday that California's marriage ban violated equal protection guarantees of the US Constitution.

The ban was passed in a ballot referendum by a vote of 52% to 48% in 2008.

But the ruling did not immediately take effect because backers of the ban requested a stay of the judgement pending their appeal against it.

In their request for a stay, ban proponents argued that legal chaos would ensue if same-sex couples were allowed to marry but the ban were eventually upheld by a higher court.

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