POLITICS: PennAve

California court declines to halt gay marriages

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Gay Marriage,Judicial Branch,Justice,DOMA,California,PennAve,Sean Lengell,Law,State Courts

The California Supreme Court on Monday refused to stop gays from marrying while it considers a request by same-sex marriage opponents to resurrect the state’s controversial Proposition 8 law.

The court turned down a request made Friday by ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of the 2008 voter-approved referendum, for an emergency order to halt the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The group’s move was a last-ditch attempt to preserve Proposition 8 after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on it last month, essentially striking down the law.

In dismissing the case, the U.S. Supreme Court said ProtectMarriage lacked the legal authority to defend the law in court after state officials refused to do so. While the justices avoided making a sweeping decision on the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage restrictions, their move left in place a lower court’s ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

But the California Supreme Court said it still plans to consider whether the lower court ruling that invalidated the ban, as well as a companion mandate prohibiting the state from enforcing it, applied statewide or only in Los Angeles and Alameda counties.

ProtectMarriage also argues that because the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t directly rule on Proposition 8’s constitutionality, state law requires that the measure’s ban on same-sex marriage remain.

The court is not expected to rule on the group’s petition until at least August.

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