Judge Denies Immediate Stay of Gay Unions

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Gay and lesbian couples won another reprieve Friday when a judge declined to immediately stop San Francisco from granting them marriage licenses, saying conservative groups failed to prove the weddings would cause irreparable harm.

Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay denied the Campaign for California Families' request for a temporary restraining order but said the group did have the right to a hearing on their argument that the city is violating state law.

The conservative group argued that the weddings harm all Californians who voted in 2000 for Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

The judge suggested that the rights of the gay and lesbian couples appeared to be more substantial.

"If the court has to weigh rights here, on the one hand you are talking about voting rights, and on the other you are talking about equal rights," Quidachay said.

Quidachay consolidated the Campaign for California Families' lawsuit against the city with one filed by another conservative group, and told lawyers for both sides to work out between themselves when the next hearing would be held.