SAN FRANCISCO — California Attorney General Kamala Harris says the elected clerk of San Diego County is improperly using the state’s legal system to try to prevent same-sex couples from getting married.
Harris argued in court papers filed Monday that county clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. picked the wrong venue when he asked the California Supreme Court to declare that gay marriages remain illegal in all but two of the state’s 58 counties.
She says the state court does not have authority to limit a federal trial judge’s order declaring California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional and prohibiting its enforcement.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriages to return to the nation’s most populous state last month when it ruled that the sponsors of Proposition 8 lacked authority to appeal a federal trial judge’s decision that the ban violated the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian Californians.
Dronenburg claims that the trial court’s companion directive ordering the governor, attorney general and state public health director to cease enforcing Proposition 8 applies only to the two couples who sued to overturn the ban, and to the clerks in Alameda and Los Angeles counties, where the couples applied for marriage licenses.
Harris says Dronenburg is trying only “to create legal uncertainty where none actually exists.”
Dronenburg’s lawyers have until Aug. 9 to respond.
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