California Supreme Court declines to halt same-sex marriages

acreamer@sacbee.comJuly 15, 2013 

The California Supreme Court on Monday declined to issue an emergency stay that would have put same-sex marriages in California on hold while the court decides whether to consider a new challenge filed last week by Proposition 8 supporters.

The request was part of a petition filed by Folsom attorney Andrew Pugno and his co-counsel, Austin Nimocks of Alliance Defending Freedom, contending that state officials and county recorders lack the authority not to uphold Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved initiative banning same-sex marriage.

"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," Nimocks said in a prepared statement.

"We remain hopeful that the court will recognize that Proposition 8 remains the law of the land in California and that county clerks must continue to enforce it."

Same-sex marriage resumed in California on June 28, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision that found Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. In the weeks since, hundreds of same-sex couples across the state have wed.

Legal analysts viewed today's state Supreme Court action as a signal that the court, which asked for full briefs from both sides by Aug. 1, doesn't view the petition favorably.

"If they'd entered the stay, it would have been a sign that they thought there was merit for them to enter into the case," said UC Davis Law School associate dean Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor.

"Remember, the issue of what you do with these marriages taking place in the meanwhile is a really thorny one. The court would not want the number of same-sex marriages to be increasing in the meanwhile.

"That's why it's a meaningful sign that they're not interested more generally."

Call The Bee's Anita Creamer, (916) 321-1136. Follow her in Twitter @AnitaCreamer.

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