SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Opponents of same-sex marriage demanded Friday that the California Supreme Court immediately halt the practice that recently resumed in the nation's largest state after a nine-year legal battle.
The group that sponsored voter-approved Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages in 2008, launched a new, two-pronged legal attack in what one expert described as a last-ditch argument with little chance of succeeding.
In its petition, ProtectMarriage argued that state officials who began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples had incorrectly interpreted a June 24 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
The high court ruled that ProtectMarriage had no "standing" to challenge a previous ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down Proposition 8.
On Friday, ProtectMarriage argued in its petition that Proposition 8 remains California law because the U.S. Supreme Court didn't rule directly on the constitutionality of same-sex marriages in what is widely called the "Perry" case.
"The Ninth Circuit's decision in Perry has been vacated," the petition stated, "hence there is no appellate decision holding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
Therefore, the petition concluded, the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages is still in force.
The petition also argued that the original lawsuit filed in San Francisco named only the county clerks of Los Angeles and Alameda counties. It said the ruling doesn't reach the 56 other county clerks, who must continue to abide by the marriage ban passed by Proposition 8.
The petition argues that county clerks are independent state officials and the state registrar — under orders from Gov. Jerry Brown and the California Attorney General Kamala Harris — had no authority to direct them on June 26 to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
Late Friday Harris filed a brief urging the California Supreme Court to deny the request to stop counties from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.