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California top court refuses to stop gay marriage

The California Supreme Court late Wednesday declined to breathe new life into Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that had stopped same sex marriages in the state.

California voters passed a gay marriage ban in 2008, but a San Francisco federal judge struck down the initiative as unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that supporters of the ban did not have the legal right to appeal. 

The state's highest court Wednesday rejected a request from supporters of Prop 8, who asked that it be declared still in effect. They argued that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in late June allowed only the two gay couples who sued to get married.

Once those two couples got married, the Prop 8 proponents argued, the Supreme Court's ruling was satisfied and Prop 8 remained valid and on the books — blocking same sex marriage from anyone else.

The state court brushed that argument aside on Wednesday, tossing out the lawsuit filed by the Prop 8 proponents. That disposed of the only challenge to the law still pending in the courts.

Andy Pugno, an attorney for pro-Prop 8 group, said the court's ruling "leaves grave doubts about the future of the initiative process in our state." 

California officials immediately allowed same-sex marriage to resume in the state after the Supreme Court's June ruling.

Reuters contributed to this report.