Gay marriages in California can continue ruled the state's Supreme Court on Wednesday. The brief ruling all but ended the bid by traditional marriage supporters to make a state majority vote of more than 7 million voters nearly 5 years ago to ban same-sex marriage stick.
The high court unanimously tossed out a legal challenge by supporters of Proposition 8, denying the petition to uphold the state's voter-approved marriage amendment.
A legal defense team says the decision coming in the court's brief ruling means supporters of Prop 8 will have to wait for a new set of elected officials who back their view.
"Elected officials should enforce the law. Though the current California officials are unwilling to enforce the state constitution, we remain hopeful that one day Californians will elect officials who will," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks.
"It is unfortunate that the California Supreme Court chose not to decide the important, still-unresolved questions about the enforcement of Proposition 8, the law of the land in California," Nimocks said. "Regrettably, an executive branch that has turned a blind eye to the enforcement of its state's constitution has silenced more than 7 million Californians who clearly expressed their views about marriage. The court's decision today, however, does not end the debate about marriage in California."
A trial judge's 2010 order striking down the ballot measure as unconstitutional was supported by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June. On June 28, county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples under orders by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Traditional marriage supporters requested that the state Supreme Court stop the weddings, saying that the federal court action was meant to be applied narrowly and only to the two couples who filed the federal lawsuit challenging the ban.
Legal arguments made by Prop 8 supporters were not addressed by the state Supreme Court.
Prop. 8 was passed by 52 percent of California voters in November 2008, months after the California Supreme Court had legalized same-sex marriage in May that year. The state's high court upheld the amendment but did not void same-sex marriages that occurred between its 2008 ruling and the passage of Prop. 8.
As of now, 13 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.