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San Diego county clerk asks state court to end same-sex marriages

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By Jacob CombsCalifornia state seal

Last Friday, Ernest Dronenburg, Jr., the San Diego Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, filed a petition with the California Supreme Court seeking an order to halt marriages for same-sex couples in the state.

Marriage equality was returned to California on June 28, two days after the Supreme Court ruled the proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing to defend the law in court, allowing a district court decision invalidating the law to go into effect.  Nevertheless, the legal battles surrounding the law continue, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr. argued that the court should halt weddings while it considers the argument that the federal court ruling should apply only to the two couples who sued over Proposition 8, as well as to the county clerks in Alameda and Los Angeles counties, where the couples live.

Dronenburg, 69, is an elected Republican whose office is in charge of issuing marriage licenses in San Diego County.

Dronenburg’s request comes on the heels of a petition filed with the state high court by ProtectMarriage, the group which sponsored Prop 8 during the 2008 election and worked to rescind marriage equality rights in the Golden State.  In its filing, the ProtectMarriage argued that California Governor Jerry Brown lacked the constitutional authority to mandate county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples–an argument that Dronenburg echoes in his petition.

In his filing, Dronenburg says that he is “caught in the crossfire of a legal struggle over the definition of marriage” since he believes Prop 8 is still in effect but had been ordered by state officials to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Last week, the California Supreme Court denied the Prop 8 proponents’ request for an immediate stay prohibiting same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses while the new legal challenge makes its way through the state courts.  Briefing on the larger issues of the case is scheduled to continue today and last through early August.

University of California, Irvine Professor Douglas NeJaime told the Los Angeles Times that Dronenburg’s filing essentially piggybacks on ProtectMarriage’s petition, although it differs in that it is being made by an  government official who may be better equipped to demonstrate a constitutional injury than the proponents of the ballot measure.  According to the Times, NeJaime predicts Dronenburg’s challenge will fail.

San Diego County’s majority Republican Board of Supervisors put distance between them and Dronenburg after the clerk’s court filing.  “The county clerk has acted independently on this matter,” board Supervisor Greg Cox told the Times. “No one else from the county was consulted or had any part of this court action, including the Board of Supervisors. The county’s position is and always has been that we, the county, will follow applicable law with regards to same-sex marriage.”

Dronenburg’s filing, via Scribd, is available below.  (H/t to Kathleen and Equality Case Files)

[scribd id=154859453 key=key-2layb79kbmlckkzuhef4 mode=scroll]


  • 1. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  July 24, 2013 at 10:04 am

    […] week, San Diego’s county clerk filed a petition with the California state supreme court to end the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex […]

  • 2. LA Breasts  |  December 25, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Blows my mind

  • 3. LA Enhancement  |  December 25, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    How does this stuff happen?

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