Governor wants gay marriages to resume

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —In a surprising court filing, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked Friday that gay marriages be allowed to resume immediately in California after a federal ruling that the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

The Republican governor joined gay plaintiffs in filing a request to U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker. The judge set a Friday deadline to submit arguments on whether to continue a stay of his decision against Proposition 8.

"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," wrote Kenneth Mennemeier, an attorney representing Schwarzenegger, in the brief.

"Doing so is consistent with California's long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect," the brief says.

Attorney General Jerry Brown, Democratic Party candidate for governor, also filed a brief urging Walker to lift his temporary stay on his own ruling, which orders officials to stop enforcing Proposition 8.

Folsom, Calif., attorney and Proposition 8 author Andy Pugno issued a statement saying his side disagrees.

"This case is still in its early stages," he said, "and it would be disruptive for everyone to issue marriage licenses under a cloud of uncertainty."

Walker concluded in a decision Wednesday that California's Proposition 8 violates the equal protection and due process rights of gays and lesbians. The initiative passed with 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.

In response to the defense, Walker immediately agreed to place a temporary stay on his ruling.

He gave both sides in the legal battle until midnight Friday to file arguments for lifting the stay, extended for seven more days — which the defense requested at minimum — or having it declared permanent for the duration of an appeals process.