Proposition 8 still applies in California, backers say

United States Supreme Court 2 CNA US Catholic News 3 27 12 United States Supreme Court.

Proposition 8 backers have filed a legal brief saying that the ballot measure defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman still has legal force in California, alleging that state officials incorrectly acted in response to the recent Supreme Court decision on it.

"The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, and the district court's injunction does not apply statewide; therefore, county clerks should abide by the state constitution," said  Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Washington, D.C.-based legal group said July 12 that California State Registrar Tony Agurto wrongly ordered all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of state law after the June 28 U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit lifted its stay of a district court's injunction against Prop. 8, which passed in the 2008 elections.

The group said that the registrar does not have the authority to make such orders to county clerks and California Attorney General Kamala Harris was therefore wrong to threaten legal action against clerks who decline to follow the order.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the lawsuit against Prop. 8, Hollingsworth v. Perry, on the grounds that defenders of Prop. 8 did not have legal standing to challenge the 2010 ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, which declared the ballot measure unconstitutional.

Alliance Defending Freedom's legal petition to the California Supreme Court argues that the Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry vacated the 9th Circuit Court's decision that declared Prop. 8 to be unconstitutional. This means that the constitutionality of Prop. 8 has not been sufficiently determined.

The petition asks for a legal mandate requiring state officials to comply with state law, which recognizes marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

"Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed. Public officials should enforce the marriage amendment because they are not bound by the district court's injunction," Nimocks said.

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