SAN FRANCISCO – Pro-family groups and their case for the sanctity of marriage were dealt a blow Wednesday after the California Supreme Court declined to stay its May 15 ruling, which legalized gay "marriage."
The court's latest decision will allow same-sex couples to begin receiving "marriage" licenses as early as June 17.
Pro-family groups had hoped that the state's high court would postpone handing out same-sex "marriage" licenses until after the results of a November voter referendum on the issue that would nullify the court's ruling if it draws a majority vote.
Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), said it was "arrogant" for the court to allow county offices to hand out same-sex "marriage" licenses before allowing voters to decide on the issue.
"The voters are witnessing unprecedented judicial arrogance," said Thomasson in a statement.
But the most compelling argument made by pro-family groups was that allowing same sex couples to receive "marriage" licenses – only to see them nullified with a majority vote months later – would throw the state into chaos.
"The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of legal chaos," said Ron Prentice, chairman of ProtectMarriage.com in a statement.
"The court has ignored the will of the people and demonstrated no concern for the legal turmoil it is likely imposing upon the entire country. The court's decision is perhaps the worst case of American judicial activism in modern times. The refusal to wait for the people to decide by the constitutional process confirms that," he added.
Although disappointed by the court's refusal to stay its ruling, pro-family groups believe that support for an amendment to protect traditional marriage – which drew over 1 million signatures – continues to be strong.
"The battle over marriage is far from over and will not be decided by four judges," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University's School of Law, in a statement.
"The people will decide in November. If any same-sex marriage licenses are issued before November, the passage of the constitutional amendment will make them invalid and invisible," added Staver, who was among those who helped argue the case against gay "marriage."
Nationally, support for gay "marriage" has been mixed.
Although a Gallup Poll released last month revealed that only 40 percent of Americans "currently say marriage between same-sex couples should be legal," a more recent, combined USA Today/Gallup poll released this week said that nearly 60 percent of Americans also "believed government should not regulate whether gays and lesbians can marry the people they choose."
Since 2004, when the Massachusetts State Supreme Court made its ruling to recognize gay "marriage," 27 states have passed a constitutional ban on the practice, while over a dozen others have passed laws limiting or outlawing it.