SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's Attorney General on Monday urged the state Supreme Court to consider whether a gay marriage ban passed by voters this month was legal.
The state's top lawyer, former governor Jerry Brown, said the court should keep the ban in place while it considers the issue -- and it should rule quickly.
California's ban marked a major reversal for same-sex couples, who had won state Supreme Court approval to marry in the trend-setting state in May.
Only a handful of states, provinces and European countries recognize same-sex marriage and gay marriage advocates have demonstrated vocally around the country since the November 4 vote.
Gay marriage advocates have argued in court that the ban vote was improper, since it was passed in an amendment process requiring majority approval -- the ban won 52 percent support.
A measure which takes away rights already granted to a minority needs to follow a more substantial process, called a revision, gay marriage advocates said.
Gay marriage opponents say the process was constitutional and the losers are tying to overturn the will of the people, but on Monday they agreed California's highest court should hear the challenge to the measure, called Proposition 8.
"Other courts addressing similar revision/amendment arguments under closely analogous constitutional provisions have rejected them," a ProtectMarriage.com statement said.
"Proposition 8 is simple, narrow, and targeted to a single issue."
Brown said that allowing same-sex marriage during the review process would increase uncertainty and urged the court to act promptly.
"The public interest would be best served not by issuing a temporary stay (on the ban), but by an expedited resolution of the important issues raised," he said in a review requested by the court, which is expected to decide as early as this week whether to hear the matter.
Reporting by Peter Henderson, editing Todd Eastham