California’s attorney general has asked a federal appeals court to allow gay marriages to take place while the state’s supreme court decides on the validity of the ban on same sex marriage.

Attorney general Kamala Harris has joined lawyers for two gay couples and the city of San Francisco in resuming gay marriages. Gay marriages were banned in 2008 following a voter initiated ballot, Proposition 8.

Prop 8 was overturned by Judge Vaughn Walker in August, who ruled that the ban on gay marriage in California was wrong. The decision came after a lengthy “trial” of the arguments for and against allowing gay couples to marry. “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,” Judge Walker wrote at the time. He initially ordered for gay marriages to resume in the state with almost immediate effect.

Unusually, the official ‘defendants’ of that appeal, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney-General Jerry Brown, refused to defend the ban. So, the groups who supported the introduction of Prop 8 have been arguing that they have the right to defend the ban on marriage.

Today, Ms Harris argued that maintaining the ban before the judgement is discriminatory: “The public interest weighs heavily against the government sanctioning such discrimination by permitting it to continue.” The attorney general added: “Events have demonstrated that if the stay ever was justified, it is no longer.”