Gay Marriage Opponents Resume California Fight
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Opponents of gay marriage in California petitioned the state Supreme Court on Friday to halt to same-sex weddings.
Gov. Jerry Brown ordered all 58 county clerks to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples late last month after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by ProtectMarriage.com, the group that fought to ban gay marriage with Proposition 8.
Though the Supreme Court found that ProtectMarriage did not have standing to defend Prop. 8 on behalf of voters, that group now claims that state officials are still legally bound by state marriage law enacted through Proposition 8, and that Brown exceeded his authority in issuing the order.
"It is imperative that this court affirm the legitimate limits on executive officials' power, lest the people lose confidence in their system of government, believing that elected officials may thwart the people's express will by ignoring duly enacted laws," the motion states. "Executive officials have attacked, failed to enforce, and undermined state laws affirming traditional marriage. Under these circumstances, only a prompt order requiring Respondents to enforce Proposition 8 will restore the people's confidence in their government."
Voters passed Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, in 2008, but Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled it unconstitutional in August 2010.
ProtectMarriage had hoped to defend the law on appeal, but the Supreme Court shut it down on June 26, 2013.
Same-sex couples have been marrying in California since June 28, but the proponents argued that Walker's ruling should only apply to the two couples who filed the original suit, a lesbian couple from Berkeley and a gay couple from Los Angeles.
"Because those plaintiffs have recently been married, all relief due under that injunction has already been provided, and therefore none of the county clerks are required by that injunction to stop enforcing Proposition 8 in the future," the petition states.
It added, "If this court does not require Respondents to enforce Proposition 8, respondents will continue issuing marriage licenses to ineligible couples, and there will be uncertainty about the validity of the marriages that result from those licenses."
In a statement, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera called the motion "a desperate obstruction tactic used in the vain hope of pursuing an unconstitutional agenda."
"Their motion has essentially no chance to succeed," he added. "The most basic concepts of American law tell us that a state court cannot and will not overrule the federal judiciary."