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 courts latest decision will allow same-sex couples to begin receiving marriage licenses as early as June 17.
Pro-family groups had hoped that the states 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 courts 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 courts 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 courts 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 Universitys 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.