US: County clerk seeks to halt the issuing of same-sex marriage licences in California

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The San Diego county clerk on Friday filed a petition which seeks a court order to exempt county clerks from issuing marriage licences to gay couples.

Ernest Dronenbug argues in the petition to the California Supreme Court that county clerks had not been given orders from the state governor or other state officials, and that he and other county clerks need further clarity on the legal status of Proposition 8, which previously banned same-sex marriage in the state.

“All I’m really searching for is clarity and finality,” Dronenburg said. “If they answer, it will be over and we’ll have a final decision. And if they don’t, those issues can be brought up in the future.”

Dronenburg said that he and other county clerks had not been properly briefed by Governor Jerry Brown’s administration, despite an announcement that counties should proceed with issuing the marriage licences to same-sex couples.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors said in a written statement that Dronenburg had acted independently, and not on their behalf.

Supporters of Proposition 8 issued a statement commending Dronenburg for filing his petition, and accusing Governor Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris of pushing clerks prematurely into resuming same-sex weddings.

“We applaud San Diego’s county clerk for courageously standing up against the attorney general’s attempt to bully local officials into ignoring our state Constitution,” said Andrew Pugno, counsel for “The attorney general’s obsession with re-defining marriage has put the integrity of the people’s power of initiative, and the rule of law itself, in great jeopardy.”

The Supreme Court in the US state of California already refused to halt the resume of same-sex marriages in the state earlier this week, following the US Supreme Court’s ruling last month, and a petition filed challenging it.

At the end of last week, supporters of California’s Proposition 8 filed a petition to the state Supreme Court challenging the recent resume of same-sex wedding ceremonies, however the Supreme Court refused to do so.

The first same-sex wedding took place between the plaintiffs who brought the case against Prop 8 at the end of June, following the Supreme Court declining to take up the case, and as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals since gave the green light for same-sex weddings to resume.

The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals previously lifted its stay on an injunction, which had ordered state officials to stop enforcing Prop 8, meaning marriage licenses could immediately be issued to same-sex couples.