California Attorney General Kamala
Harris on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to lift its stay on a
lower court's ruling which overturned the state's gay marriage ban,
Proposition 8, the AP reported.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Vaughn
Walker ruled the 2008 voter-approved law unconstitutional.
Supporters of the ban, however,
appealed the decision and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals placed
Walker's ruling on hold.
The appeals court heard oral arguments
in the case in December, but then turned to the California Supreme
Court to decide whether the law's sponsors have the legal standing to
defend it in court. The
high court has said it won't hear arguments in the case until
In a letter to the appeals court,
Harris joined the City of San Francisco in asking the court to lift
its stay and allow the weddings to resume. She argued that
ProtectMarriage.com, the coalition of socially conservative groups
which sponsored the measure, is unlikely to prevail in its appeal and
that keeping the ban in place was a violation of civil rights.
“The public interest weighs heavily
against the government sanctioning such discrimination by permitting
it to continue,” she wrote.
Harris added that the Department of
Justice's recent decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage
Act (DOMA), which bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal
marriages of gay and lesbian couples, “substantially diminished”
the likelihood that its sponsors will ultimately prevail in their