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California AG responds to San Diego County Clerk's petition against same-gender marriage

SAN FRANCISCO – California’s Attorney General today asked the California Supreme Court to deny the San Diego County Clerk’s petition to issue a stay on same-gender marriages in the Golden State.

AG Kamala Harris filed a legal document today in response to County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg’s petition on Friday that sought to halt same-gender weddings. The “informal opposition” document also listed Gov. Jerry Brown; Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health; and Tony Agurto, the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

The document notes that this is the second attempt by anti-gay supporters of Proposition 8 to ignore the ruling by District Judge Vaughn Walker that the law is unconstitutional. Appeals by Prop 8 supporters have be denied by the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided that they do not have legal standing to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling.

“Like the Hollingsworth petition, this second petition … is an attempt to circumvent the federal district court’s judgment in Perry. This time, petitioner Dronenburg focuses his attack on the notices he received from the State Registrar, and he mistakenly asserts that these notices, informing him of his legal obligations under that judgment, violate article III, section 3.5 of the California Constitution. This subtle shift in focus does not distinguish this petition in Hollingsworth v. O’Connell – and much of this petition repeats verbatim from the Hollingsworth petition,” the document states.

“The Court should deny the stay because petitioner has no likelihood of success on the merits. The petition is an impermissible collateral attack on the district court’s final judgment. This Court is not the proper forum to litigate the scope or validity of the district court’s injunction, as they question is properly presented to the federal district court. The federal injunction applies statewide, and the State Registrar’s notices to the petitioner … does not violate … the California Constitution.”

The document comes with a warning.

“Finally, the public interest weighs sharply against issuing a stay in this case. After years of litigation, there is now a final determination that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. If successful, the petitioner’s effort to revive a ban on same-sex marriage in San Diego County will compel new violations of gay and lesbian Californians’ federal constitutional rights, precipitate a wholly avoidable conflict with the federal court, and block the uniform application of marriage laws in California.”

Dronenburg v. Brown - Informal Opposition to Request for Immediate Temporary Stay