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The state attorney general and sponsors of the ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California urged its Supreme Court to hear a series of lawsuits seeking to overturn the ban, saying the matter is too urgent to be unsettled.

"The petitions raise issues of statewide importance, implicating not only California's marriage laws but also the initiative process and the Constitution itself," Attorney General Jerry Brown argued in his filing.

"This court can provide certainty and finality in this matter," he said.

Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote earlier this month, overturned the high court's May decision legalizing gay marriage in California. The measure inserts language into the constitution limiting marriage to one man and one woman.

Gay and civil rights groups, the city of San Francisco and other plaintiffs have asked the court to void the measure on the grounds that voters did not have the authority to make, what they say, is a fundamental constitutional change.

There is no deadline for the justices to decide whether they'll take the cases.

The litigation has made unwitting allies of supporters of the same-sex marriage ban and the attorney general, who voted against the proposition. Over the summer, anti-gay marriage groups sued Brown after his office changed the measure's wording to reflect that it would take away a right that same-sex couples then had.


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