Judge extends stay on same-sex marriages for a week

Liz Goodwin
The Upshot

A federal judge ruled today that gays in California should be allowed to get married immediately — but is giving opponents  a week to appeal his decision before it goes into effect.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had urged Judge Vaughn Walker to allow same-sex marriage to begin again, saying the state could process the upsurge in marriage applications and that the state has an interest in "eradicating unlawful discrimination" as soon as possible.

But Walker said he's giving Proposition 8's proponents until August 18 to challenge his ruling before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, though he cast doubt on whether they would be able to do so in his ruling [pdf]. He pointed out that proponents of Prop. 8 do not have a state defendant, and thus may need to ask the governor or state district attorney to appeal. "The uncertainty surrounding proponents' standing weighs heavily against the likelihood of their success," he wrote.

The campaign for Prop. 8 says it will appeal the decision.

"If the trial court's decision is eventually reversed, refusing to stay the decision will senselessly create legal uncertainty surrounding any same-sex unions entered while the appeal is pending," sponsors said in a statement, according to the L.A. Times.

Many expected Walker to let marriages commence immediately.

"The decision came as gay and lesbian couples lined up at San Francisco city hall, a few blocks away from the federal courthouse, hoping the judge would permit them to get married today," reports the Mercury News.

(Photo: AP)