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Calif. Supreme Court Rejects Last Challenge To Same-Sex Marriages

More than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex weddings to resume in California, the state's highest court Wednesday rejected the last remaining legal challenge to the unions, while also formally dismissing a secondary petition filed by the San Diego County clerk.

Awaiting the Supreme Court decisions on Proposition 8 and the Defense Of Marriage Act, John Shaw looks at a rainbow flag flying atop a flagpole in Hillcrest, June 26, 2013.

The state Supreme Court dismissed a last-minute petition by supporters of Proposition 8 — which was approved by California voters in 2008 and banned same-sex marriage — asking that the measure continue to be enforced in the state. They argued that a 2010 ruling by a federal judge that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional was not enough to overturn the law.

The California Supreme Court did not detail the reasons for its decision, simply dismissing the petition.

The latest petition was filed following the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 ruling that opponents of same-sex marriage lacked legal standing to appeal the federal judge's decision that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Two days later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal lifted a stay it had placed on the ruling while appeals were pending, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the state.

That led to the last-minute appeals by Proposition 8 supporters hoping to keep the measure in place. San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. also filed court papers with the state's highest court asking for clarification on whether his office was required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but he agreed earlier this month to withdraw the petition in light of the appeal by Prop. 8 supporters. The state Supreme Court today formally dismissed that petition.

In March 2000, California voters approved Prop. 22, which specified in state law that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in California. But in May of 2008, the state Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional because it discriminated against gays, and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples got married in the ensuing months.

Opponents of same-sex marriage quickly got Prop. 8 on the November 2008 ballot to amend the state constitution, and it was approved by a margin of 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent.

In May 2009, the California Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8 but also ruled that the unions of roughly 18,000 same-sex couples who were wed in 2008 prior to its passage would remain valid.

Same-sex marriage supporters took their case to federal court, and U.S.

District Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in August 2010 that Proposition 8 "both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.''

Backers of Proposition 8 — ProtectMarriage.com — appealed to the 9th Circuit, because then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to do so. The appellate court heard arguments in 2011 but put a decision on hold while it awaited a state Supreme Court ruling on the ability of Prop. 8 backers to press the case forward despite the state's refusal to appeal.

The state Supreme Court decided that Prop. 8 supporters had legal standing, so the 9th Circuit moved ahead with its consideration of the case, hearing more arguments on a motion by Prop. 8 backers asking that Walker's ruling be thrown out because the judge was in a long-term same-sex relationship that he had not disclosed.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the proposition's primary impact was to "lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.''

That ruling led to the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | August 15, 2013 at 8:52 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Fantastic news! My husband and I have been legally married in CA for 5 years (Before Prop 8) and we've been "married in our hearts" for 17 years!

We're so happy now that California has marriage equality for all couples and not just for a select few.

We're friends with another gay couple that's been together for 46 years! And now they were finally able to get legally married just a few weeks ago! And even though they've been together for 46 years, they were still in tears as each of them was making their vows to one another in front of the county judge.

Happy times are here again! :-)

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 15, 2013 at 1:48 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

And why didn't they "detail the decision"? What are they afraid of?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 15, 2013 at 1:52 p.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Hey Ed, maybe you didn't catch the 2010 US Census, but UNMARRIED couples now OUTNUMBER married ones. This fight isn't about marriage. It NEVER was. But the LGBT'ers are not honest enough to admit it. Never will be.

Welll, at 46, doesn't common law apply? Why bother? Oh, I know, it's the legitimization.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | August 16, 2013 at 10:02 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

LOL! Why bother? Because they love each other! Marriage is the ultimate expression of that love! And being able to finally, legally, marry the person you love is awesome!

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 16, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

You are right mission, the fight isn't about marriage, it's about EQUALITY under the law.

And it's not much of a "fight" anymore.

Polls show support for marriage equality in California would resoundingly defeat a prop 8 type measure if were to come before the people today, so even if the prop 8 people got their way in court it would just be voted out in the next election.

There is really not much else for them to cling to in this "fight" anymore.

As for the court not giving details, I don't blame them.

San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. wasted money and the court's time bringing a motion with arguments that have already been made - and rejected - by the CA court.

Why should they have to keep taking the same dis-proven arguments over and over and over and over and over again just because people like Dronenburg are trying to score politically with their far right-wing base?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 16, 2013 at 11:02 a.m. ― 1 year, 4 months ago

Mr. Dronenburg knew he had zero chance, this was merely a political ploy.

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