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Gay marriage opponents ask state court to deny marriage licenses

Opponents of same-sex marriage asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to order county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, arguing that Gov.

lacked the authority to end enforcement of

.

ProtectMarriage, the group that sponsored the 2008 ballot measure banning gay marriage, urged the state high court to act under a California constitutional provision that prohibits officials from refusing to enforce a law unless an appellate court has first determined the law is unconstitutional. There is no binding appellate ruling that says Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Legal experts predicted the California court would reject the challenge. Lawyers for the gay couples who fought Proposition 8 in federal court said they anticipated such an action and were prepared to respond to it. They said a state court may not interfere with a federal court's decision.

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In its 50-page challenge, ProtectMarriage framed its case as a matter "concerning the rule of law and limitations on public officials' authority."

-- Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

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