As Gay Marriages Take Root In California, Conservative Group Asks State Supreme Court To Intervene
Opponents of gay marriage in California aren’t giving up their fight to keep same-sex couples from getting hitched, despite a recent Supreme Court ruling that allowed just that.
ProtectMarriage.com, the organization that has been at the forefront of the fight to keep gay marriage out of the state, is demanding county clerks stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The organization is arguing that Gov. Jerry Brown does not have the authority to order county clerks to carry out an action contrary to the state constitution.
ProtectMarriage.com is asking the California Supreme Court to recognize that state officials cannot ignore Proposition 8, the voter-approved constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, unless an appellate court strikes it down.
“The man-woman definition of marriage, as passed by the voters, is still a valid part of our state constitution,” Andrew Pugno, the attorney who filed the petition with the California Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriage licenses, said in a press release. “Yet county clerks statewide for lawlessly defying that law by issuing gender-neutral marriage licenses. We are asking California’s Supreme Court to restore the rule of law and the public’s confidence in the integrity of the initiative process.”
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8 defenders did not have standing that holds up in court. The non-ruling allowed the state’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the temporary hold on gay marriage, which had been in effect since Proposition 8 was passed by California voters.
Proposition 8 supporters are now claiming the petition is about more than the will of Californians to define marriage between one man and one woman. It is also about holding public officials accountable to the law, they say.
“This has become more than just a fight over marriage,” Pugno said. “The authority of local government officials, and the future of the initiative process itself, is put at grave risk if state officials are allowed to nullify a proposition by executive order, backed by no binding legal precedent. Now it is up to California’s highest court to breathe life back into the people’s power of initiative.”
University of California-Davis law professor Vikram Amar told the Los Angeles Times that the California Supreme Court “will likely stay out of this and say the scope of Judge Walker’s order is a matter for the federal courts to determine,” adding that “state courts generally won’t get into the business of construing federal court orders They leave that to the federal courts.”
The California Supreme Court will likely decide today on the ProtectMarriage.com petition.
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