Supporters of the voter-approved ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California said Friday they have asked the California Supreme Court to order county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Full Coverage: Prop 8 | Prop 8 Timeline
Protect Marriage, which sponsored Prop 8, said it filed the petition Friday, less than one month after the U.S. Supreme Court decided that it could not rule on a challenge to Prop. 8. The decision paved the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California after years of legal battles.
Opponents of same-sex marriage vowed to continue the legal fight after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision. The latest challenge comes after Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy last month denied a last-ditch request from the sponsors to halt the issuance of license.
Friday's filing claims that state officials ordering county clerks to issue the licenses have no legal authority to do so. Same-sex opponents also say Proposition 8 actually remains in force because the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out the case on a legal technicality rather than ruling directly on the constitutionality of the marriage ban.
"The man-woman definition of marriage, as passed by the voters, is still a valid part of our state constitution," Andrew Pugno, general counsel for Proposition 8's official proponent, said in a statement.
"Yet county clerks statewide are lawlessly defying that law by issuing gender-neutral marriage licenses. We are asking California’s Supreme Court to restore the rule of law and the public’s confidence in the integrity of the initiative process."
California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced Friday she filed a brief with the state Supreme Court. Harris' brief urges the court to deny Prop 8 proponents' request, calling the move "baseless" and vowing to "continue to fight against it."
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 that Proposition 8's backers lacked standing to defend the 2008 law because California's governor and attorney general have declined to defend the ban. Two days later, the 9th Circuit Court appeared to have removed the last obstacle to making same sex matrimony legal again in California when it removed its hold on a lower court's 2010 order directing state officials to stop enforcing the ban.
That stay was in place because the judge wanted to allow Prop 8 backers time to appeal his decision.
Within hours of the lifting of the stay, same-sex couples were seeking marriage licenses. The two couples who sued to overturn Proposition 8 were wed in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Same-sex marriage opponents asked Kennedy to step in a day after the federal appeals court in San Francisco allowed same-sex marriages to go forward during a week of historic developments in the same-sex marriage battle. Justice Kennedy turned away the appeal with no additional comment last month.
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