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      Appeals court lifts hold on Calif. gay marriages

      A federal appeals court says it is lifting its freeze on same-sex marriages in California and the state is required to issue licenses to gay couples starting immediately.

      The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order Friday saying it's lifting the stay it imposed while lawsuit challenging a gay marriage ban in California worked its way through the courts.

      That means same-sex marriages can resume in the state for the first time since 2008.

      The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that the sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban lacked the authority to defend Proposition 8 in court once the governor and state attorney general refused to do so.

      The decision lets stand a trial judge's declaration that the ban violates the civil rights of gay Californians and cannot be enforced.