The sponsors of Proposition 8 filed a petition with the California Supreme Court today to block the resumption of same-sex marriages in the state.
In the filing, the sponsors argue that at least 56 of the state’s 58 county clerks are obligated by the state Constitution to refuse to issue gay and lesbian marriage licenses. They contend that only the two lesbian and gay couples from Alameda and Los Angeles counties who challenged the reversal of Prop. 8 in a federal lawsuit are protected by an injunction issued by a federal trial judge.
Theodore Olson, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the federal case, said, “This latest filing is utterly baseless.Any county that defies the federal court’s injunction is at risk not only of contempt of court but also a lawsuit under the federal civil rights laws for which it would be liable for damages and the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.”
He said, “Proponents’ latest effort to stop loving couples from marrying in California is a desperate and frivolous act.”
Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for the sponsors, said, “The man-woman definition of marriage, as passed by the voters, is still a valid part of our state Constitution. 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.”
Same-sex marriages resumed in California on June 28, after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay of the injunction issued by now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco.
The appeals court acted just two days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the sponsors had no standing to defend Prop. 8 because state officials — Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris – had refused to defend it.
Both of the couples who challenged Proposition 8 got married on June 28, and Brown almost immediately ordered county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples statewide.
The state Supreme Court did not announce a deadline for acting on the new petition.