Prop 8 Judge Keeps Gay Marriage on Hold

If the appeals court does not act by August 18, gay marriages will get the official green light.

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BY Aliyah Shahid

The federal judge who upended California's same-sex marriage ban ruled on Thursday that gay couples can't tie the knot just yet.

In a much-anticipated ruling, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker announced that same-sex marriages in the state should stay on hold until at least Aug 18, leaving room for gay marriage opponents to file an appeal.

If the appeals court does not act by 5 p.m. on the 18th, gay marriages will get the official green light to go forward.

Walker's announcement comes just 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.

Walker 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.