The California Office of Vital Records has announced that the state will begin granting marriage licenses to lesbian and gay couples on June 17th.

Earlier this month the state Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples cannot be excluded from marriage.

Lawyers for gay and lesbian couples have filed a brief with the court opposing a request to delay the ruling filed by an

Arizona-based, right-wing legal group, the Alliance Defence Fund.

“This delay tactic by the other side is a desperate attempt to stave off what we all know to be true,” said Jon Davidson, Legal Director at Lambda Legal, an LGBT rights organisation.

“Once couples start to marry and Californian’s see that no one is hurt and many families are helped it will become harder to pass an antigay amendment. Love trumps hate.”

A poll released earlier this week found that the majority of Californians, 51%, back gay marriage.

43% oppose same-sex marriages in the state.

Only 40% said they would back changing the state constitution to exclude gay and lesbian couples from marriage. 54% oppose a change, as does California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.