A federal appeals court on Wednesday refused to allow gay marriages to take place in California while it considers the constitutionality of the state's voter-approved ban.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris had joined gay marriage proponents in urging the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift a stay that had been placed on a lower court's ruling to strike down Proposition 8.
Lawyers for two same-sex couples had sought again to lift the stay after the California Supreme Court recently said it would take at least until the end of the year to consider a legal question asked by the appeals court in the case.
However, Proposition 8 supporters said the ban should stay in effect to honor the voters' wishes until the legal questions are settled.
"The voters deserve for their votes to count even while the lawsuit is pending" said Andrew Pugno, general counsel for the Proposition 8 campaign.
"Both sides are well aware that this issue will not be finally decided until it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, and it helps no one for the law to shift back and forth prior to that time," he said.