American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

California Supreme Court rejects Prop. 8 Proponents’ baseless attempt to immediately halt marriages

In a baseless attempt to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying in California, the Proponents of Proposition 8 have asked the California Supreme Court to immediately order county clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in the state. Proponents also contend that Prop. 8 is still the law in California, and that the state’s 58 county clerks are issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in violation of state law.

Proponents’ arguments run contrary to the historic Federal District Court decision that invalidated Prop. 8.  That court held that Prop. 8 violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and issued a statewide order prohibiting the enforcement of Prop. 8.  That order took effect on Friday, June 28, two days after United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry that restored marriage equality to California.

On Friday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris swiftly responded on behalf of the State by opposing Proponents’ request to immediately stop marriages. Today, the California Supreme Court agreed with the Attorney General, and denied Proponents’ request for an immediate stay of marriages.

In response to Proponents’ filing on Friday, AFER’s distinguished lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson issued the following statement:

“This latest filing is utterly baseless. The Supreme Court of the United States has rejected the appeal from Judge Walker’s declaration that Proposition 8 violates the federal constitution and the injunction prohibiting state officials from enforcing it. The California Supreme Court itself has confirmed that, when they administer marriages, county clerks are ‘state officers performing state functions and are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state registrar of vital statistics.’ 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. Proponents’ latest effort to stop loving couples from marrying in California is a desperate and frivolous act.”

(Quoting Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco (2004) 33 Cal.4th 1055, 1080)

The Attorney General has until Monday, July 22 to file a brief responding to Proponents’ argument that Prop. 8 is still the law in California. Proponents then have until August 1 to file a reply.

AFER will continue to keep you updated with the latest developments as events unfold.

Topics: Blog, Perry Case