San Diego County Clerk Withdraws Attempt To Stop Same Sex Marriages

As promised, San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg asked the California Supreme Court today to dismiss a lawsuit in which he asked the panel to stop same-sex marriages in the state.

Dronenburg announced Friday that he planned to withdraw his July 19 petition because he believes it is similar to another lawsuit filed by the sponsors of Proposition 8, the state’s now-blocked voter initiative banning gay marriage.

“At this point my case could be considered duplicative and slow the process,” Dronenburg said on Friday.
His attorneys filed a one-sentence request for dismissal with the San Francisco-based court today.

Gay and lesbian weddings resumed in California on June 28, after a federal appeals court lifted a stay of a U.S. trial judge’s 2010 injunction prohibiting enforcement of the 2008 initiative.

Two days earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court left that injunction in place when it ruled that the sponsors of Proposition 8 had no standing, or legal authority, to appeal the trial court ruling.

Dronenburg and the Proposition 8 sponsors both argued in their state high court lawsuits that the injunction should protect only the two gay and lesbian couples who filed a federal civil rights challenge to the initiative. Both couples married on June 28.

The state Supreme Court denied an immediate stay in both lawsuits, but is still considering the request by the Proposition 8 supporters and their committee, Protect Marriage, for a full review of their petition.

In his original filing on July 19, Dronenburg said his arguments were similar to those of the initiative backers. But he said that as a public official whose duty to issue marriage licenses was directly affected, he additionally presented “unique interests and injuries that are particularized to him.”

Dronenburg was later criticized by several members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for taking action and retaining an outside lawyer, Charles LiMandri of the Rancho Santa Fe-based Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, without the board’s direction.

The board held closed hearings on the clerk’s action last week.

In Friday’s statement, Dronenburg said that because the issue of the Proposition 8 sponsors’ standing has not been raised in briefs submitted to the state Supreme Court in the past few days, he now feels confident his claims will be addressed in the other case.

Last month, 24 other county clerks, among the state’s 58, signed on to briefs opposing Dronenburg’s lawsuit and saying they believe the injunction applies statewide.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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