Schwarzenegger: Let the Marriages Begin

Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger is asking that Judge Vaughn Walker lift a stay and allow same-sex marriages to begin immediately.

After Walker issued his ruling overturning Prop 8 on Wednesday, he quickly ordered a temporary stay until all sides could file briefs by today on whether to restart marriages or continue to restrict them until the case is decided by the 9th Circuit on appeal.

“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,” attorney Kenneth Mennemeier wrote on behalf of the governor. “Doing so is consistent with California’s long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect. Conversely, the Administration submits that staying the Court’s judgment pending appeal is not necessary to protect any governmental or public interest.”

Schwarzengger argued that no administrative burdens would be placed on the state in issuing marriage licenses again in a “gender neutral manner.”

“With the branch of government charged with making constitutional determinations now having made those determinations here, the Court’s ruling should take effect.”

Schwarzenegger is one of the official defendants of Prop 8, but decided to not to defending the initiative in the trial, as he has previously expressed opposition to the initiative. In the aftermath of Walker’s decision, he praised the ruling.

Also calling for marriage to begin again was Attorney General Jerry Brown, who also is an official defendant in the case but, like Schwarzengger, chose not to defend Prop 8.

Schwarzenegger had vetoed two same-sex marriage bills passed by the state legislature, arguing that courts should decide the matter. But he also has predicted in the aftermath of the passage of Prop 8 that the initiative would be overturned.

The plaintiffs in the case also asked for the stay to be lifted. Chad Griffin, the president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, said in a statement, “The unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 has been proven beyond a doubt. Extending Prop. 8’s denial of fundamental constitutional rights represents a grave injustice. The time for the court’s ruling to go into effect is now. We welcome Governor Schwarzenegger’s and Attorney General Brown’s opposition to a stay after their thoughtful analysis of the evidence, the court’s ruling and the law.”

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