5 Aug 2010

Same-sex marriage ban overturned in California

11:51 am on 5 August 2010

A federal judge in the United States has overturned a ban on same-sex marriages in California.

The judge found in favour of gay and lesbian rights activists who had argued that the ban was unconstitutional and discriminated against same-sex couples who sought to wed.

The state measure, known as Proposition 8, was passed by voters in 2008. It banned same-sex marriage, although the state offered same-sex civil unions.

The BBC reports backers of the ban intend to appeal against the judge's ruling. The case is likely to reach the US Supreme Court.

The measure was passed in a ballot referendum by a vote of 52% to 48%.

Currently, five states and Washington DC allow same-sex nuptials, though many states have enacted bans.

However, the ruling does not immediately allow California same-sex couples to marry.

US District Judge Vaughn Walker has delayed final entry of his judgement so he can hear arguments on whether to stay the ruling, pending appeal.