US & Canada

California gay marriage opponents act to re-impose ban

Sandy Stier (left) and Kris Perry kiss after being married at San Francisco city hall. Photo: 28 June 2013 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Gay weddings resumed across California on Friday

Opponents of same-sex marriage in California have filed an emergency petition to the US Supreme Court to try to halt gay weddings in the state.

The move comes a day after a federal appeals court in San Francisco lifted a ban that had been in place since 2008.

Many Californian gay couples then rushed to get married.

But the opponents say the appeals court acted prematurely because by law they had more time to appeal before the ban can be lifted.

Friday's decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals court followed a ruling by the US Supreme Court against supporters of the California ban on gay marriage.

On Saturday the Alliance Defending Freedom, which supports the ban, filed the petition asking the Supreme Court to overrule the order by appeals court.

The group argued that by law it had 25 days to challenge the Supreme Court ruling, and therefore that the ban should not have been lifted.

The Alliance Defending Freedom described the appeals court order as "the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities".

The gay marriage ban - known as Proposition 8 - was approved by voters in 2008, months after California's supreme court decided such unions were legal.

The two couples then launched the legal challenge. As the state of California refused to defend the proposition, the group that sponsored it stepped up to do so.

But on Wednesday the Supreme Court ruled that a private party could not challenge the earlier lower court ruling, as it could not demonstrate it would suffer injury if same-sex marriages were allowed.

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