Although we might have thought that the US Supreme Court had ended the debate over California’s Proposition 8, that was not quite the case. Opponents argued that the US District Court case that overturned the proposition that voided the ban on same-sex marriage only allowed the two couples who brought that suit to get married and did not carry statewide implications.
Hence they appealed to the California state Supreme Court that governor Jerry Brown had overstepped the limits of the ruling by ordering all registrars throughout the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
But yesterday that court turned down their appeal without comment or any dissent so it seems like the issue is finally over. As Lyle Denniston explains:
The practical effect of the state court’s action was to give state officials a clear path to require clerks in all fifty-eight California counties to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Officials have already issued such orders, to implement a 2010 decision by a federal district judge in San Francisco striking down “Proposition 8″ under the federal Constitution.
Whatever lingering doubt there had been over the past seven weeks, about whether California would officially become the thirteenth state to permit same-sex marriages, was due to a series of maneuvers by supporters of “Proposition 8″ to put a halt to such unions under various theories of California state law.
The state’s supreme court in its order Wednesday did not resolve any of the state law issues that had been put before it by the ballot measure’s sponsors and by one county clerk, from San Diego County. The decisive part of the state court order was this single sentence: “The petition for a writ of mandate is denied.” That was a reference to a petition by the “Proposition 8″ sponsors to direct county clerks to treat the measure as if it were still in effect.
It would seem that this is the happy end of the long legal saga in California.