US: County clerk withdraws legal challenge to resumption of same-sex marriage in California

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A clerk in the county of San Diego who had moved against the resumption of the issue of same-sex marriage licences in California, has withdrawn a legal bid to stop them from taking place.

Ernest Dronenburg Jr said in a statement yesterday that he had withdrawn his request for the California Supreme Court to stop same-sex weddings, because the sponsors of a 2008 ballot measure have also filed a similar petition.

The high court had rejected the clerk’s request for a stay to temporarily stop same-sex weddings in the state while they considered his petition, reports the Associated Press.

Dronenburg had argued in his petition that county clerks should be allowed to decide whether they want to issue licences to couples.

“County clerks carry out their duties, including the issuances of marriage licenses, without supervision or control of the governor or attorney general,” he wrote. “Indeed, no statute requires county clerks to report to the governor or attorney general.”

He also went on to argue that equal marriage should only have resumed in Alameda and Los Angeles counties, which is where the Proposition 8 cases originated.

The supporters of California’s now defunct Proposition 8 ban on equal marriage, in July began legal proceedings to challenge the resumption of issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, accusing the courts of interpreting a Supreme Court ruling in the wrong way.

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.

ProtectMarriage, the group that sponsored Proposition 8, and its ban on equal marriage back in 2008, has launched a doubled-edged legal attack on state officials’ interpretation of what the Supreme Court ruling means.