Gay Marriage Opponents Ask California Court to Deny Wedding Licenses

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The Sacramento County Clerk’s Office. File photo.

SAN FRANCISCO (LA Times) — Opponents of same-sex marriage asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to order county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, arguing that Gov. Jerry Brown lacked the authority to end enforcement of Proposition 8.

ProtectMarriage, the group that sponsored the 2008 ballot measure banning gay marriage, urged the state high court to act under a California constitutional provision that prohibits officials from refusing to enforce a law unless an appellate court has first determined the law is unconstitutional. There is no binding appellate ruling that says Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Legal experts predicted the California court would reject the challenge. Lawyers for the gay couples who fought Proposition 8 in federal court said they anticipated such an action and were prepared to respond to it. They said a state court may not interfere with a federal court’s decision.

In its 50-page challenge, ProtectMarriage framed its case as a matter “concerning the rule of law and limitations on public officials’ authority.”

Unless the court intervenes, “the end result will be to allow one federal district judge — empowered by state officials who openly advocated for and ceded to Proposition 8’s demise — to nullify a constitutional initiative approved by more than seven million voters,” the challenge said.

The California Supreme Court meets on Wednesdays to decide such petitions, but could act at any time. The court could simply refuse to intervene or could request written arguments before making a decision.

The new challenge deals with a long-running controversy over the reach of a 2010 injunction issued by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.

 

Read more at LATimes.com.

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