Brown's Prop. 8 filing backs same-sex marriages

John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — State Attorney General Jerry Brown filed documents late Friday urging a federal appellate court to allow same-sex marriages to go forward in California on Wednesday, saying there is “overwhelming evidence” that a voter-approved ban on such marriages is unconstitutional.

Brown’s filing comes as same-sex marriage opponents have asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to halt implementation of a landmark ruling from Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker until a full appeal is heard.

Walker last week invalidated Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying it is discriminatory and unconstitutional, but he delayed his ruling from taking effect. On Thursday he ruled that counties could begin marrying same sex couples at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Within hours, the ban’s supporters had filed an appeal with a three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit court, asking to keep a stay in place until the appeal is heard.

Brown’s filing was one of several expected to be lodged with the court late Friday saying the marriages should go ahead. Brown, as the state’s top lawyer, said he would not appeal Walker’s ruling and argued that supporters of the same-sex marriage ban had little likelihood of success on appeal.

Prop. 8 was approved by 52 percent of voters in November 2008, overturning a state Supreme Court ruling six months earlier that extended marital rights to gays and lesbians.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera and attorneys for same-sex couples were expected to also submit arguments to the court urging the marriages to begin Wednesday.
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