Judge Vaughn Walker

The judge in the California same-sex marriage case has decided to allow gay and lesbian marriages to go-ahead as from next week.

Judge Vaughn Walker, who is openly gay, ruled that the state of California can start issuing same-sex marriage licenses from August 18.

The judge originally overturned the Prop 8 measure banning gay and lesbian marriage last week, but suspended his decision until he had a chance to receive and assess applications calling for him to continue to suspend or “stay” his ruling until the appeals process had been completed.

On Thursday he dismissed these applications.

“Lifting the stay will put into action Judge Walker’s basic premise that the state can’t discriminate against same-sex couples,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Californians deserve equality and they deserve it now.”

The decision, however, disappointed hundreds of lesbian and gay couples who were standing by to marry immediately but who will now have to wait until at least next week.

The judgement also faces numerous challenges including appeals which could see the suspension of Walker’s ruling before it can come into force on Wednesday.

Prop 8 supporters are likely to appeal Thursday’s decision to the Ninth Circuit, which could issue its own stay and stop marriage licenses from being issued.

Additionally, supporters of Prop 8 have already filed their appeal of the entire case with the Ninth Circuit.

It is anticipated that the matter will be ultimately finalised in the US Supreme Court.

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