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Gay marriage: Opponents ask California Supreme Court to enforce ban

Lawyers representing gay-marriage opponents say a federal judge acted beyond his authority when he ordered officials to permit and recognize same-sex marriages throughout California.

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Vitaliy Vel (r.) joined other protesters outside the Sacramento County Recorder's office to demonstrate in opposition to gay marriage on July 1. Supporters of California's Prop. 8 want county clerks to stop issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP/File

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Lawyers representing proponents of the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California have not given up an effort to enforce the ban, despite a US Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago that opened the way for resumption of gay marriage in the state.

On Friday, the Prop. 8 lawyers asked the California Supreme Court to intervene and order state officials to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay men and lesbians.

County clerks across California have been issuing such marriage licenses since June 28.

Legal analysts called the effort a long shot. It may mark the last legal skirmish in California over same-sex marriage.

In a 66-page motion, lawyers with ProtectMarriage said that California officials lack the necessary authority to permit same-sex couples across the state to marry.

They said that the US Supreme Court did not address the constitutionality of Prop. 8 and that a federal judge acted beyond his authority when he ordered officials to permit and recognize same-sex marriages throughout the state.

As a result, these lawyers said, the ban on gay marriage is still in force throughout most of California.

“Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed. Public officials should enforce the marriage amendment because they are not bound by the district court’s injunction,” said Austin Nimrocks, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is supporting the Prop. 8 litigation.

Some legal analysts have questioned whether the federal judge in the Prop. 8 case overstepped his power when he issued a statewide injunction blocking the same-sex marriage ban. They suggest that the judge had the power to authorize the marriage of the two same-sex couples who litigated the issue and won. But it is unclear whether his sweeping statewide order allowing gay marriage in all 58 counties was proper.

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