Schwarzenegger urges gay weddings revival

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown filed motions Friday calling for resumption of same-sex weddings following a judge ruling to overturn the state's gay marriage ban.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown filed motions Friday calling for resumption of same-sex weddings following a judge's ruling to overturn the state's gay marriage ban.

"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," lawyers for Schwarzenegger said in the legal filing. "Doing so is consistent with California's long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling for resumption of same-sex weddings after a judge overturned the state's gay marriage ban. ((Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press))

Brown also said it's time for gays to begin marrying again.

"While there is still the potential for limited administrative burdens should future marriages of same-sex couples be later declared invalid, these potential burdens are outweighed by this court's conclusion, based on the overwhelming evidence, that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional," Brown said in his legal filing.

The motions came two days after U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California's voter-approved gay marriage ban as unconstitutional.

In his 136-page decision, Walker said gay marriages should begin immediately. But later Wednesday, he agreed to suspend weddings until he could consider legal arguments he ordered to be filed by Friday.

Opponents of same-sex marriage said they want Proposition 8 to stay in effect until their appeal of Walker's ruling is decided by higher courts.

They argued in court papers filed earlier this week that resuming gay marriage now would cause legal chaos if the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court eventually reverse Walker.

The 9th Circuit received the case Wednesday, hours after Walker issued his decision.

Resumption up in air

On Friday, Schwarzenegger and Brown were the first to weigh in on the issue and both urged an immediate resumption of gay marriage.

It was unclear when the judge would issue a ruling on the possible resumption of same-sex marriages.

The governor and the attorney general almost always defend state laws when they are challenged. But in this case, both refused to participate in fighting the lawsuit that led Walker to overturn the ban.

Brown, a former governor, is the Democratic nominee for governor on the November ballot and he previously called the ban unconstitutional.

Schwarzenegger has been more circumspect on his Proposition 8 position and his motion to immediately resume gay marriage was his boldest pronouncement on the issue.

The outcome in the appeals court could force the U.S. Supreme Court to confront the question of whether gays have a constitutional right to wed.

California voters passed Proposition 8 five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples already had tied the knot.