Prop 8 sponsors file emergency motion to stop same-sex marriages

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Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state's gay marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.

RELATED: Update: Court lifts stay on gay marriage in Calif.; Brown orders licenses; couples wed in LA, SF (photos)

When the ninth circuit lifted its stay on gay marriage Friday, it moved weeks faster than expected. There's usually a 25-day waiting period for a Supreme Court decision to become final.

Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly on Friday when it allowed gay marriage to resume by lifting a hold it had placed on same-sex unions while a lawsuit challenging the ban made its way to and through the Supreme Court.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks says a three-judge 9th Circuit panel acted prematurely and unfairly when it lifted a hold on same-sex marriages it had put in place while a legal challenge to the voter-approved ban made its way through the courts.

"Every one on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed," said Nimocks in a statement. "On Friday, June 28, the Ninth Circuit acted contrary to its own order without explanation. Last year the Ninth Circuit itself reminded all parties to the Proposition 8 case that the integrity of our judicial system depends in no small part on the ability of litigants and the public to rely on a judges word. We agree. "

Nimocks says the Supreme Court's consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their decision holding that Proposition 8's backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriage to return to the nation's most populous state by ruling 5-4 on Wednesday that the sponsors of California's voter-approved ban on same-sex unions lacked authority to defend the measure in court.

Also Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned the federal law that prevented the government from awarding federal benefits to same sex couples.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the petition together with Andrew P. Pugno, general counsel for, the organization for the official proponents and campaign committee of Proposition 8.

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