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Clerk Requests to Halt Same Sex Marriages in San Diego, Calif.

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By Katherine Weber, Christian Post Reporter
July 23, 2013|12:44 pm

A San Diego County, Calif. clerk responsible for issuing marriage licenses has requested that the state's Supreme Court halt same-sex marriages, pending clarification on the legal standing of Proposition 8.

San Diego County's clerk, Ernest "Ernie" Dronenburg, is requesting a temporary stay from distributing same-sex marriage licenses while the court considers his legal petition, filed earlier this month that seeks clarification in the federal Supreme Court's June ruling regarding the state's Proposition 8.

In June, the United States Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a previous 2010 ruling in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, in which United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 California voter-approved amendment that upheld the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Dronenburg told the San Diego Union-Tribune that his legal petition is requesting the state ban county clerks from administering marriage licenses to same-sex couples until they clarify the legal standing of Proposition 8.

"All I'm really searching for is clarity and finality," Dronenburg told the local newspaper. 

"If they answer, it will be over and we'll have a final decision. And if they don't, those issues can be brought up in the future," Dronenburg added.

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In his legal petition, Dronenburg seeks clarification on how and why the Supreme Court's ruling affects Proposition 8 on a state level, when the Supreme Court did not address the constitutionality of Proposition 8, but rather upheld a previous ruling.

Additionally, Dronenburg seeks to clarify if county clerks are able to work independently of state officials, including California's Attorney General Kamala Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown. 

Dronenburg argues that because county clerks are elected by voters [Dronenburg was elected two years ago], state law limits officials from controlling a clerk's distribution of marriage licenses. Therefore, Dronenburg argues that a county clerk should maintain the right to independently decide who may receive a marriage license. 

In his legal brief, Dronenburg states that he is "suffering, and will continue to suffer, irreparable injury and damage" unless he receives an injunction from distributing marriage licenses.

As Sandra Banaga from the San Diego County clerk's office told NBC San Diego, 19 other counties have reportedly filed a petition seeking clarity on the legal standing of Proposition 8, and have also requested a temporary stay from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

County Chairman Greg Cox issued a statement Friday announcing that Dronenburg filed his legal petition independently of the county's Board of Supervisors and other county officials.

"The county's position is and always has been that we, the county, will follow applicable law with regards to same-sex marriage," Cox added, as reported by KFMB-TV.

Additionally, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued a statement arguing that all 58 counties in California are required to abide by the Supreme Court's ruling regarding Proposition 8. 

"The filing offers no new arguments that could deny same-sex couples their constitutionally protected civil rights. The federal injunction is still in effect, and it requires all 58 counties to perform same-sex marriages. No exceptions," Harris said in the statement posted on her Twitter

Last Monday, San Diego's Supreme Court refused a similar request on behalf of Proposition 8 proponents to stop same-sex marriages in the state.

 

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