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California's Supreme Court Denies Request to Halt Same-Sex Marriages

California's Supreme Court ruled in a closed session on Tuesday to deny the request of a San Diego clerk to halt same-sex marriages in the state.

The high court said in a brief statement that it was denying the request of San Diego County Clerk, Ernest "Ernie" Dronenburg, who requested a halt on issuing same-sex marriage licenses while the court considers his legal petition, which was submitted last Friday seeking to clarify the legal standing of Proposition 8.

"The request for an immediate temporary stay or injunctive relief is denied," the state's Supreme Court said in a brief statement to CNN

The court voted Tuesday 6 to 0, with Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar not present, to deny Dronenburg's request for a hold.

California's Attorney General Kamala Harris, who supports the overturning of Proposition 8, tweeted the news of the Supreme Court's Monday ruling. 

"The CA Supreme Court has denied the San Diego clerk's request to halt same-sex marriages," Harris tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

Dronenburg, who was elected County Clerk of San Diego two years ago, requested a temporary halt to issuing same-sex marriage licenses while the court reviewed his legal petition, which sought "clarity and finality" in the federal Supreme Court's June ruling on Proposition 8.

In June, the federal Supreme Court voted to uphold a 2010 ruling by United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker that overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved amendment that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Two days after the Supreme Court ruling, same-sex marriage couples began marrying in California again, but a total of 20 counties in California filed petitions contesting the legal standing of the Supreme Court's ruling on Proposition 8.

Dronenburg's legal petition argues that because California clerks are elected by voters, state officials, including the Governor or Attorney General, do not have the power to control a clerk's distribution of marriage licenses.

Additionally, Dronenburg's petition questions what affect the Supreme Court's ruling has on Proposition 8, since the Supreme Court did not address the constitutionality of the measure, but rather upheld a previous court's ruling.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Charles S. LiMandri, a lawyer for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is representing Dronenburg, argued that by administering same-sex marriage licenses, county clerks are violating state law. 

LiMandri argued that although state officials are ordering county clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses, the California constitution still defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. 

"County clerks [in California] are issuing marriage licenses in violation of state law," LiMandri wrote. 

State officials argue that any challenge to Proposition 8 should be addressed in federal court, rather than at a state level, since the federal Supreme Court has issued the most recent ruling on Proposition 8. 

Last week, the state's Supreme Court denied a similar request to halt same-sex marriages in the state by ProtectMarriage, a group that has backed Proposition 8.

Attorney General Harris has previously argued that clerks in all 58 counties must abide by the Supreme Court ruling.

"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.

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