State Supreme Court Rejects a Familiar Challenge to Gay Marriage—Again

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Albert Einstein said that “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is one definition of insanity. It can also indicate an obnoxiously stubborn refusal to participate in the legal and political system, like the U.S. House of Representatives voting 39 times to repeal Obamacare knowing the legislation will die in the Senate, and failing that (which it never does) be vetoed by the President.

On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court rejected a plea from San Diego County Clerk Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr. that performances of gay marriage be put on hold until it has pondered his arguments as to why Proposition 8 is still the law despite a crushing defeat in the U.S. Supreme Court last June.

The California justices voted 6-0 without comment to refuse to block state sanction of gay marriage. The arguments Dronenburg made for the legal stay were nearly identical to those made by ProjectMarriage, sponsors of Prop. 8, which were rejected by the state high court last week 

Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved initiative that banned gay marriage in California, is undergoing a tortuous journey through the state and federal judiciary. A U.S. District Court judge found it unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court found that its proponents lacked the “standing” to appeal the decision. Days after that decision, county clerks throughout the state began issuing marriage certificates.    

But Prop. 8 supporters, showing that never-say-die spirit, are pursuing an appeal to the state high court that argues, among other things, that the original court decision only applied to two of the state’s 58 county clerks (who issue marriage licenses) and state officials, who have no jurisdiction over the other 56.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris disagrees with that assessment. “The federal injunction is still in effect, and it requires all 58 counties to perform same-sex marriages,” she said. “No exceptions.”

Prop. 8 supporters also argue that since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled narrowly on the standing of participants, it left intact the state law banning gay marriage. The state high court is not expected to issue a ruling before August.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

California High Court Again Refuses to Stop Gay Marriages (by Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times)

San Diego County Clerk Seeks End to Gay Marriages (by Paul Elias, Associated Press)

California Tells Court to Reject San Diego Clerk's Prop. 8 Bid (by Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times)

San Diego County Clerk Files Petition to Halt Same-Sex Marriages (by Tony Perry and Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Supreme Court Clears Way for More Wrangling in State over Gay Marriage (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

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