California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown asked a federal judge on Friday to allow same-sex marriages in California to resume immediately after a landmark federal ruling on the issue was made public.
In separate briefs, the governor and attorney general told Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that they oppose the bid by supporters of California's Proposition 8 for a stay while they appeal the decision issued by Walker two days earlier.
In the landmark ruling, Walker had determined that people of the same sex do have the right to marry and that the decision of the majority to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman - as Prop. 8 had done - violates that right.
"Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians," the judge wrote in the 136-page ruling released Wednesday.
"The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples," he added, effectively overturning Prop. 8.
Quickly after the ruling was made public, lawyers for the Prop.8 supporters said they would file an appeal to immediately stay Walker's order.
In response to the bid for a stay, lawyers for the governor filed a brief stating that the administration "believes the public interest is best served by permitting the court's judgment to go into effect, thereby restoring the right of same-sex couples to marry in California."
Brown, meanwhile, argued in his brief that there is no justification for a stay because Walker held a full trial that "conclusively demonstrated that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
Notably, Schwarzenegger and Brown were both named as defendants in the federal lawsuit filed last year against Prop. 8. Both, however, declined to defend the initiative.
Instead, the sponsors of Prop. 8 stepped in to defend the voter-approved amendment at the trial before Walker.
Prop. 8, which California voters passed in 2008, effectively defined marriage in the state's constitution as the union of one man and one woman. The amendment was passed by 52 percent of California voters.