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Calif. Supreme Court Denies Dronenberg’s Request To Halt Same-Sex Marriages

The state Supreme Court today denied a request by San Diego County's embattled clerk/assessor/recorder to temporarily halt same-sex weddings in California, a move he said he took in order to clarify legal issues and protect gay and lesbian couples.

Aired 7/23/13 on KPBS News.

The state Supreme Court today denied a request by San Diego County's embattled clerk/assessor/recorder to temporarily halt same-sex weddings in California, a move he said he took in order to clarify legal issues and protect gay and lesbian couples.

One of the attorneys in the California Proposition 8 case, David Boies (center), speaks outside the Supreme Court as he's surrounded by plaintiffs in the case, couples Paul Katami (from left) and Jeff Zarrillo, and Sandy Stier and Kris Perry.

Ernest Dronenburg filed the motion last week to find out how June's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage affects voter-passed Proposition 8 and whether the decision applies to all of California, or just Alameda and Los Angeles counties, where the couples that challenged the ballot measure live.

He said he also wanted to know whether county clerks, who are elected by voters, are independent or governed by state officials.

Proposition 8, which defines marriage in the state as between one man and one woman, was declared unconstitutional in rulings by lower courts. The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on the law's merits, but declared that backers of the ballot measure did not have standing to bring an appeal.

The state's high court issued its denial without comment. State Attorney General Kamala Harris said Dronenburg's petition did not bring up any new issues, and that all 58 counties were bound to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Earlier today, Dronenburg said he filed the stay request to protect gay and lesbian couples, since supporters of traditional marriage had promised renewed legal action.

"I asked for a stay because it's cruel to set up people,'' Dronenburg told CBS8. "In 2004, the last time there was a case, the court came out against it and they had to unwrap 4,000 marriages -- that is hurtful.''

Dronenburg spoke to reporters after a group of gay and lesbian Republicans called for a county investigation of his request.

Despite his action, the county clerk's office has been issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

After Dronenburg took the action last week, Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox said the clerk was acting on his own.

Supervisor Dave Roberts, who is gay, told U-T San Diego on Monday that he wants the board to meet with county lawyers to explore options for dealing with Dronenburg's action.

According to published reports, Dronenburg received help in preparing his stay request from Charles LiMandri, an area lawyer who was a major Proposition 8 supporter.

At a news conference after June's court ruling, LiMandri vowed to seek a court order blocking the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Dronenburg said the court action was filed at no cost to taxpayers.

Susan Jester, president of Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego County, which represents gay and lesbian GOP members, demanded the county clerk stop using his office to interfere with the law.

"I don't believe it's good government to mix your religious beliefs with your constitutional office duties,'' Jester told NBC7/39. "His job is to implement the law, not to try to change it.''

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 23, 2013 at 5:54 p.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Ernest Dronenburg is an idiot who should be recalled.

He is wasting county money and resources to file a court challenge that is exactly the same as one that was filed and rejected just weeks ago.

He knew there was 0 chance of this passing.

This was merely a political ploy to get name recognition and pays on the back from his evangelical base.

I'm disgusted this person is in this county-wide office, he should be ashamed of himself!

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 24, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Our endless appeal system is a problem in itself.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 24, 2013 at 11:16 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

""I asked for a stay because it's cruel to set up people,'' Dronenburg told CBS8. "In 2004, the last time there was a case, the court came out against it and they had to unwrap 4,000 marriages -- that is hurtful.''

Sounds to me like it was more about the time AND money if they print out licenses, go through the process, then have to rescind.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 24, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Why is Dronenburger being second guessed?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 24, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

"Dronenburg spoke to reporters after a group of gay and lesbian Republicans called for a county investigation of his request."

1) Why?

2) Why ONLY Republicans?

3) Kinda cancels out the "if you're gay, why aren't you a Democrat?" demands made at Carl De Mayo during the mayoral community debates in Hillcrest.

4) HOW is Dronenburger mixing his religious beliefs in this?

5) Jester (ha ha) KNOWS Dronenburger's religious beliefs??? Surely you jest, Jester.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | July 24, 2013 at 11:24 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago


Ernest Dronenburg actually LOVES gay couples! He loves them SO much that he doesn't want to issue them marriage licenses because he's concerned that they might get revoked like they did back in 2004 when the City of San Francisco started issuing civil marriage licenses to gay couples. And the CA Supreme Court ruled that the city of San Francisco couldn't do that.

Please! As if Ernest Dronenburg actually cared about gay people! It's a ruse to stop issuing civil marriage licenses!

Ernest Dronenburg, it's over! Prop 8 is no longer the law of the land!

Get with the program and do your elected duties!

P.S. - We will remember this come election day, Ernest Dronenburg!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 24, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago


@Street, yet I'm glad they are there. Our lawyer-happy way of doing things is more the problem.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 24, 2013 at 11:40 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

@EDDIE, it WASN'T the city of San Fran, it was Twosome Gotsome ( did he ever!) who thumbed his nose at the CA Constitution and pretty much did this on his own! Yeah, building support for his eventual gubernatorial run at the time.

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Avatar for user 'mikefry'

mikefry | July 24, 2013 at 12:29 p.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

The State of CA tried to defend Prop 8 in court and LOST. Then, the State chose to not appeal. They had no obligation to do so. Your nut-job friends appealed "for" the State of CA to the 9th Circuit AND LOST. SCOTUS determined your friends did not have standing to appeal, which means they not only lost, they double down lost, or triple down lost. See? They lost and lost again. And, then the Supreme Court said they had no reason to be even IN the fight. And, yet, they continue to squander donor dollars and tax dollars on these frivolous suits. I think you should have to pay ALL of the court costs for the State when you lose. And, I think you should lose your job.

Also - to add to my prior outrage... he is suggesting that a federal court needed to decide. In fact a federal court DID decide. SCOTUS, after deciding this man's "friends" did not have "standing" to appeal, the remanded the case BACK to the 9th Circuit (the federal court that had already ruled Prop 8 to be unconstitutional). The 9th Circuit then decided to immediately lift the stay that was in place to block same sex marriages. That decision came from a FEDERAL court.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 24, 2013 at 2:26 p.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

is Mr. Fry addressing Dronenburger?

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | July 25, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Actually, the State has never defended Prop 8 in any court. Going all the way back to Gov. Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown to Gov. Brown and Attorney General Harris, Prop 8 has never been defended by the State of CA.

It's been a handful of private citizen donors and sponsors of Prop 8 that have attempted to defend Prop 8 and as private citizens, it was SCOTUS that ruled that they didn't have standing to represent this case in their court.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 25, 2013 at 11:17 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Eddie, that's right, despite Arnie's earlier opposition to same-sex marriage. Both Brown and Harris failed to do their jobs in seeing through Prop 8 as the people voted.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 25, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Bottom line is the state was negligent when they allowed prop 8 to be put note ballot in the first place.

Civil rights are not up for vote.

The state needs to ensure future ballot measures go through constitutional muster BEFORE being put on the ballot.

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Avatar for user 'Eddie89'

Eddie89 | July 25, 2013 at 3:37 p.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

It should not be so easy to modify a State's Constitution. Where just a simple majority of the voters can literally vote to change it to deny civil rights for a minority group of people. Luckily we have higher level courts that can be appealed to and so these laws are struck down appropriately.

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Avatar for user 'timbuckt00'

timbuckt00 | July 30, 2013 at 11:22 a.m. ― 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Prop 8 ammended the CA constitution which was overturned by the Federal Circuit Court as unconstitutional, backed by the US Supreme Court ruling of "no standing" for the plaintiffs. However, I can't find any updated version of the Constituion and its amendments that repeals the prop 8 ammendment. Has anyone found an updated version with the latest strike of Prop 8 from the Constitution? If not, when will it be updated to reflect the latest position on same gender marriages?

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