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9th Circuit Lifts Stay On Gay Marriages

Same-sex couples in San Diego County and across the state were cleared today to get married, with a federal appeals court lifting a stay it had placed on the unions while the battle over Proposition 8 was pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The nation's highest court ruled Wednesday that supporters of Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure that banned same-sex marriage in California, lacked the proper standing to appeal a lower-court ruling declaring the measure unconstitutional.

The ruling essentially allowed the original federal court ruling to stand, striking down Prop. 8.

But the resumption of weddings was left on hold because of an earlier stay that had been issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals while the case was pending.

Although it initially appeared that same-sex couples would have to wait about 25 days before the stay would be lifted, the 9th Circuit issued a one-sentence order today reading, "the stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately.''

After the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling was released Wednesday, state Attorney General Kamala Harris had called on the 9th Circuit to immediately lift the stay.

Under federal court rules, however, there is generally a 25-day period to allow proponents of Prop. 8 to seek a re-hearing before the Supreme Court.

With the 9th Circuit lifting the stay, however, Harris quickly wrote on her Twitter page, "On my way to (San Francisco) City Hall. Let the wedding bells ring!''

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