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California Supreme Court Refuses to Stop Gay Marriage ... Again

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on July 25, 2013 3:54 PM

The California Supreme Court has refused to stop gay marriage for a second time this week.

"Once more, with feeling" is the name of a musical episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Coincidentally, it also describes the California Supreme Court's position on Proposition 8, otherwise known as the bane of the court's existence the 2008 ballot measure that banned gay marriage.

The court "slayed" (or is it slew?) a request by San Diego County Clerk Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr. for a temporary hold on same-sex marriages. This comes after the court rejected a similar request last week by the sponsors of Prop. 8.

Stayed? No, We Said Slayed (Or is it slew?)

In a one-line order filed Tuesday, the justices rejected Dronenburg’s request for a stay on same-sex marriages while they review a two-pronged effort to keep Prop. 8 on the books, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The state’s high court last week unanimously denied a similar request filed by ProtectMarriage.com, the measure’s backers, to temporarily stop the marriages as the court clarifies legal issues.

Prop. 8 … Still?

As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop. 8 (that the plaintiffs didn’t have standing), the Court left intact Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker’s 2010 decision, which struck down Prop. 8 as unconstitutional. The current case centers on whether Judge Walker’s decision applies to all of California or not.

ProtectMarriage.com, the measure’s backers, argued that the ruling only applied to Alameda and Los Angeles, where the two couples who challenged the law reside, but not all of California.

Dronenburg made similar arguments, but also wanted to know whether county clerks, who are elected by voters, are independent, or governed by state officials. Essentially, ProtectMarriage.com and San Diego’s clerk have filed separate cases in the state Supreme Court urging the justices to conclude Proposition 8 remains in force in at least 56 of the state’s 58 counties.

Attorney General Kamala Harris, a battalion of state counties, and many county clerks have asked the court to reject the arguments, chalking it up to a baseless last-ditch effort to salvage Prop. 8.

The Supreme Court isn’t expected to issue a decision until August at the earliest.

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