Same-sex marriages are to resume next week in California after a federal judge lifted the ban.

Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last week that banning gay marriage in the state is unconstitutional but ruled on Thursday that his verdict should apply now, rather than staying the order while gay marriage opponents appeal.

However, the week-long delay means that gay marriage opponents can appeal to a higher court to keep the ban in place.

Judge Walker wrote: “The evidence presented at trial and the position of the representatives of the State of California show that an injunction against enforcement of Proposition 8 is in the public’s interest.

“Accordingly, the court concludes that the public interest counsels against entry of the stay proponents seek.”

If no order to keep the ban is made, gay couples can begin marrying again on Wednesday August 18th.

California legalised marriage for gay couples in 2008 but the voter initiative Proposition 8 struck it down in the same year.

Judge Walker’s verdict comes after a three-week trial in February, which was the first federal trial to examine the issue.

Both Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown had asked the him to lift the stay.

The issue is expected to be contested all the way to the US Supreme Court.

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