Los Angeles, California (CNN) - A federal judge ruled on Thursday to allow same-sex couples to marry in California, starting on August 18, handing another big victory to supporters of gay rights in a case that both sides say will likely end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that voter-approved Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. Walker had issued a temporary stay on his decision, which on Thursday he said he would lift.
The high-profile case is being watched closely by supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, as many say it will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, the case could result in a landmark decision on whether people in the United States are allowed to marry people of the same sex.
Same-sex marriage is legal in five U.S. states and in the District of Columbia, while civil unions are permitted in New Jersey. The five states are Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa and New Hampshire.