BY Aliyah Shahid
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wedding bells may start ringing for gay California couples as soon as today.
The federal judge who upended the state's same-sex marriage ban will rule by noon whether gay couples can tie the knot immediately or wait for an appeals court to weigh in.
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker announced he would make his decision late Wednesday, five days after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and lawyers for gay couples filed legal motions asking that same-sex marriages resume immediately.
The judge ruled last week that the voter-enacted ban, known as Proposition 8 "singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment."
The referendum narrowly passed in 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
Critics of same-sex marriage argued legal chaos could ensue if the judge reversed the hold before the ruling goes in front of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court especially if the higher courts overturn the judge's decision.
Schwarzenegger argued it is in the public's interest to restore the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California.
"Doing so is consistent with California's long history of treating all people and their relationships with equal dignity and respect," he said.