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Group seeks order to stop gay marriage in Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO — 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 US Supreme Court to step in and stop the weddings.

Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit acted prematurely and unfairly 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 through the Supreme Court.

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Austin Nimocks, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit acted prematurely and unfairly.

Nimocks said 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 Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriage to return to California by ruling ,5 to 4 ,Wednesday that the sponsors of the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex unions lacked authority to defend the measure in court.

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

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