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When the California attorney general asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to immediately take up the issue of gay marriage rather than wait for the appeals process to play out, some of his courtroom opponents got on board with the idea. “We’re really strongly for it,” said Shannon Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Right now, the [same-sex] couples have no way of knowing whether they are going to be able to marry or not. And that puts them in a very vulnerable legal position.” That’s pretty much the same argument Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is defending state laws that limit marriage to a man and a woman, made last week in asking the high court to decide the issue now. “Same-sex couples should be given a prompt determination as to whether they can marry, and should not have to put their lives and affairs on hold indefinitely,” the attorney general argues in his petition to transfer the appeals. “In addition, federal, state and local public officials should be given prompt clarification of their duties.” If the litigation goes through the 1st District Court of Appeal, Lockyer’s office contends, the Supreme Court wouldn’t settle the issue until at least 2007. It’s been less than three months since a San Francisco Superior Court judge found the current laws banning gay marriage unconstitutional. His decision, which covered six coordinated cases, became final in April. Lockyer’s office, involved in four of those cases, appealed them to the 1st District at the end of May. But last week, Lockyer argued that the appeals “are of such public importance that they must be promptly decided.” Among his opponents, lawyers for the city and many of the same-sex couples involved said they were already thinking along the same lines. Some plan to file papers to second Lockyer’s idea. “The attorney general weighing in this way on this issue will hopefully get the Supreme Court’s attention,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart. One of two legal advocacy groups defending the current laws won’t necessarily back the idea, though. “We were a little surprised by this, because Lockyer was reportedly not seeking bypass. So we hadn’t given it a lot of thought,” said Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel Glen Lavy. “We still are trying to figure out what we are going to think.” The Alliance Defense Fund is sure that it wants all six cases to go through the appellate courts together, though, Lavy said.

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