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Appeals court lifts hold on California gay marriages

Two men hold hands while walking on Castro Street in San Francisco, Thursday, June 27, 2013. The Supreme Court issued rulings Wednesday that struck down a provision of a federal law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples and also cleared the way for state laws that recognize marriage equality. (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)
Two men hold hands while walking on Castro Street in San Francisco, Thursday, June 27, 2013. The Supreme Court issued rulings Wednesday that struck down a provision of a federal law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples and also cleared the way for state laws that recognize marriage equality. (Jeff Chiu/AP Photo)
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Updated: 6/28/2013 4:51 pm
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal appeals court says it is lifting its freeze on same-sex marriages in California and the state is required to issue licenses to gay couples starting immediately.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order Friday saying it's lifting the stay it imposed while a lawsuit challenging California's gay marriage ban worked its way through the courts.

That means same-sex marriages can resume in the state for the first time since 2008.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that the sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban lacked the authority to defend Proposition 8 in court once the governor and state attorney general refused to do so.

The decision lets stand a trial judge's declaration that the ban violates the civil rights of gay Californians and cannot be enforced.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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