(RNS) Same-sex couples can begin marrying in California again on Aug. 18 after a federal judge lifted a stay on his recent ruling that struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Based on the trial record, which establishes that Proposition 8 violates plaintiffs’ equal protection and due process rights, the court cannot conclude that proponents have shown a likelihood of success on appeal, wrote U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker in a closely watched order that was issued Thursday (Aug. 12).

The Alliance Defense Fund, which had argued for keeping the stay that was issued with Walker’s original Aug. 4 decision, said it would appeal on behalf of ProtectMarriage.com.

This case has just begun, and ADF and the rest of the legal team are confident that the right of Americans to protect marriage in their state constitutions will ultimately be upheld, said Jim Campbell, an ADF lawyer.

It makes no sense to impose a radical change in marriage on the people of California before all appeals on their behalf are heard.

Equality California, the largest gay rights organization in the state, praised Walker’s decision to lift the stay.

“This case has definitively proven that extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples causes no harm and is in line with our country’s core values of equality and liberty, said Geoff Kors, the group’s executive director. Today is a monumental step forward for our entire nation.

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