Calif. Supreme Court Rejects Request to Stop Issuing Marriage Licences to Same-Sex Couples

The California Supreme Court on Monday turned down a request by Prop. 8 proponents to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"Although we would have preferred for the California Supreme Court to issue a stay so that the state's marriage amendment would be respected sooner rather than later, the proponents of Proposition 8 will continue to urge the court to uphold the rule of law," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. "We remain hopeful that the court will recognize that Prop. 8 remains the law of the land in California and that county clerks must continue to enforce it."

Prop. 8 is a 2008 California voter-approved amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.  

In a statement released on Monday by ADF regarding the decision of the court in Hollingsworth v. O'Connell not to issue a stay on same-sex marriage, Nimocks added, "Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed."

ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of the ballot measure that bans same-sex marriage, contends that a federal judge's injunction against the marriage ban did not apply statewide.

The state's high court is not expected to make a ruling on the group's petition until August, at the earliest, according to the Los Angeles Times.

ADF says that the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry did not rule on Prop. 8's constitutionality, and the district court's 2010 injunction does not apply statewide.

California's Gov. Jerry Brown previously stated that he had no other choice after the injunction but to order county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the Times.

"Our current lawsuit asks the California State Supreme Court to affirm and enforce the rule of law – declaring that in light of the Supreme Court's decision not to address the validity of Prop 8, that constitutional amendment remains the voter-approved law of the land," ADF stated shortly after announcing its petition to California's high 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.

According to State Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, whose office represents Brown, ProtectMarriage's request is asking the state court to interfere with a federal court order in violation of the constitution.

Lawyers for ADF also point to the Constitution in defending their case.

"The more than 7 million Californians that approved Proposition 8 have a right to see the rule of law – and the constitutional initiatives that the people enact – respected," Nimocks said.

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