The judge who ruled Proposition 8 was illegal lifted a stay Thursday allowing the possibility that same-sex couples across the state may begin to marry after Aug. 18.
Judge Vaughn Walker set the deadline to give gay marriage opponents time to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the appeals court fails to act by 5 p.m. local time next Wednesday, then gay marriages can go forward.
Walker, who ruled Aug. 4 that the Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, denied requests to hold off on allowing the marriages to occur while his decision is facing appeal.
Opponents of same-sex marriage said they want Prop. 8 to stay in effect until their appeal of Walker’s ruling is decided by higher courts.
On Friday, lawyers for gay couples, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown filed legal motions asking that same-sex marriages be allowed to resume immediately.
Opponents have argued in court papers that resuming same-sex marriage now would cause legal chaos if the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court eventually reverse Walker’s ruling.
Crowds gathered outside City Hall on Thursday morning awaiting the decision with dozens of supporters of same-sex marriage as well as a handful of opponents. A dozen couples also lined up outside the City Clerk’s Office, poised to marry if the judge ruled in favor of allowing same-sex marriages.