San Diego County Clerk Seeks End to Gay Marriages
A San Diego County government official in charge of issuing marriage licenses asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to stop gay marriages.
County clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. argued that same-sex marriages remain illegal in California despite a U.S. Supreme Court's decision widely regarded as authorizing gay weddings.
Dronenburg asked for the halt while the state Supreme Court considers his petition arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court decision applies only to the two couples named in the original federal lawsuit, and to the clerks in Alameda and Los Angeles counties where the couples applied to marriage licenses.
Dronenburg also argues that county clerks aren't bound by orders from the governor, the state attorney general and other state officials to marry gay couples.
The state Supreme Court on Monday refused a similar request to immediately stop gay weddings made by backers of California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state when passed by voters in 2008.
The supporters have make the same legal arguments as Dronenburg.
"The filing offers no new arguments that could deny same-sex couples their constitutionally protected civil rights," state Attorney General Kamala Harris said. "The federal injunction is still in effect, and it requires all 58 counties to perform same-sex marriages. No exceptions."
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in the nation's most populous state on June 28 by dismissing the backers' appeal of a lower court ruling that found the ban unconstitutional. The high court decided the backers lacked authority to defend Proposition 8 after the governor and attorney general refused to do so.
The California Supreme Court still plans to separately consider whether the lower court ruling that invalidated the ban and a companion mandate prohibiting the state from enforcing it applied statewide or only in Los Angeles and Alameda counties.
Lawyers for Proposition 8 sponsors also have argued that because the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule directly on Proposition 8's constitutionality, state officials are bound by state law to abide by the measure.
The state high court has asked for additional written arguments on those issues by Aug. 1.