California's highest court refused Tuesday to block the state from sanctioning same-sex marriages while it considers a petition arguing that a voter-approved gay marriage ban remains valid in all but two counties.
Without comment, the California Supreme Court rejected a request from the elected government official in charge of issuing marriage licenses in San Diego County for an order halting gay marriages, which resumed in the state last month for the first time since the ban passed in November 2008.
County clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. sought the stay on Friday. He also asked the seven-member court to consider his legal argument that same-sex marriages still are illegal in most of California, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision widely regarded as having authorized them and the state attorney general's assertion that clerks throughout the state must issue licenses to gay couples.
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.