San Diego clerk ends bid to revive Prop. 8

San Diego County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg said he was withdrawing his legal bid to resurrect Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, because it duplicated efforts by the sponsors of the marriage ban.

Dronenburg said in a press release Friday that he decided to withdraw so the California Supreme Court could reach a speedy decision in the challenge by ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of Proposition 8. ProtectMarriage has argued that state officials had no right to order county clerks to marry same-sex couples.

Dronenberg’s legal action sparked criticisim from gays and liberals and failed to attract support from other county clerks.


Gay marriage resumed in California in June after the Supreme Court ruled that ProtectMarriage had no right to defend Proposition 8 in the place of state officials, who refused. The decision left in place a 2010 ruling by a federal judge that the measure was unconstitutional.

ProtectMarriage has argued that the judge’s ruling was not binding statewide and that state officials erred when they ordered county clerks to stop enforcing the ballot measure. Written arguments were concluded last week, and the court could decide the challenge any day.

Dronenburg filed his bid several days after ProtectMarrige brought its case. He said in Friday’s statement that the court had not questioned the right or “standing” of ProtectMarriage to challege the marriages so his involvement as a county clerk was unnecessary.

The clerk has argued that counties need legal guideance on whether they are obligated to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

“We need to be able to remove the uncertainty in this area as soon as possible,” Dronenburg said.


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