California Attorney General Asks to End Ban on Gay Marriage

March 2, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

Kamala Harris, California’s first female African-American and first Asian-American attorney general, joined lawyers and the city of San Francisco on Tuesday in asking a federal appeals court to allow gay marriages to resume while the court considers the constitutionality of the state’s voter-approved ban, The Huffington Post reports.

According to the HuffPost, Harris wrote a letter to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying that sponsors of Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban, were unlikely to prevail in their appeal of a trial judge’s ruling last year that struck down the measure. Her request came one week after President Obama’s administration announced that it would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Presumably, the federal government’s steps toward diminishing laws against same-sex marriage will bolster Harris’ new undertaking.

“The public interest weighs heavily against the government sanctioning such discrimination by permitting it to continue,” she wrote in the letter.

Harris’ timing may be perfect, with gays in California and across the country growing impatient with gay rights legislation including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell  and same-sex marriage laws. The California Supreme Court recently said it would take at least until the end of the year to consider a legal question asked by the federal court as it tries to resolve the appeal, The HuffPost reports.

Same-sex unions were legal in the state before Proposition 8 passed in November 2008. Harris’ letter and Obama’s recent decree may set in motion another gay rights movement just as intense as California’s in 2008.

Read more: Attorney General Kamala Harris Asks to Resume Gay Marriage

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