Schwarzenegger pushes for gay marriage in California

By Andy Goldberg.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on

Friday called on a judge to immediately authorize gay marriage in


The Republican governor and former movie star made the call in a

court filing on the fate of a court order that has delayed

implementation of a ruling reversing the ban on gay marriage.

Lifting the stay would permit gay couples to marry immediately in

California, precisely what Schwarzenegger argued for.

“The administration believes the public interest is best served by

permitting the court’s judgement 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 Attorney General Jerry Brown, a candidate for governor,

argued for immediate lifting of the stay.

“Proposition 8 is unconstitutional,” said Brown, referring to the

voter-approved initiative struck down by the court. “The public

interest weighs against its continued enforcement.”

Opponents of gay marriage are hoping that presiding Judge Vaughn

Walker extends the stay pending their appeal on his ruling Wednesday

that a ban on same-sex marriages in California is unconstitutional.

They filed a notice of appeal with the Ninth US Circuit Court of

Appeals in San Francisco Thursday. Walker’s ruling overturned a 2009

ruling by the California Supreme Court that upheld a statewide ballot

proposition from 2008 that reserved marriage for two people of the

opposite sex.

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out

gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license,” Walker wrote

in a 136-page ruling.

He said the ballot measure “prevents California from fulfilling

its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal


The constitutional right to marry, Walker said, “protects an

individual’s choice of marital partner regardless of gender.” He

wrote that domestic partnerships in California, available to same-sex

couples, are a “substitute and inferior institution” lacking the

social meaning and cultural status of marriage.

The ruling will make California only the sixth state in the US to

permit gay marriage. The others are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa,

Maine and Vermont. But it will have an even bigger effect on the

approximately 30 of the 50 US states that have clauses in their

constitutions that marriage is solely a matter between a man and a


The judge’s decision handed supporters of gay rights a major

victory. But both sides expect the case to reach the US Supreme


Thursday’s notice of appeal is the first step in that process.

The case will be assigned to a three-judge appellate panel, and

legal experts say that opponents of gay marriage stand a far better

chance if the case reaches the US Supreme Court, which has a 5-4

conservative majority.

The gay marriage issue has been unsettled for years in California,

where the top California state court had given the green light to

same sex marriage in May 2008, only to have 52 per cent of the voters

in November 2008 ban the practice through a referendum.

The ban was upheld in May 2009 by the California Supreme Court,

which did leave in place the 18,000 same-sex marriage licences issued

from May-November 2008.