County clerk withdraws same sex marriage halt request

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Ernest DronenbergSAN DIEGO — San Diego County’s clerk today said he has withdrawn his court action before the state Supreme Court, which questions whether he must issue same-sex wedding licenses, because another court case is moving ahead.Assessor/Recorder/Clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. announced today that he has withdrawn a request for a for a stay of the issuance of same sex marriage licenses. The request for an immediate stay has already been turned down, but the full case has not been heard by the state court.

Dronenburg’s court actions were intended, he said, to answer his questions on the impact of this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling which denied an appeal by backers of voter-passed Proposition 8, which limited marriage in California to between one man and one woman.

He said the issues are addressed in a separate court action, Hollingsworth v. O’Connell and Brown.

“Now that the briefing is finished in that case and the issue of standing was not raised, I now feel certain the court will answer the three questions,” Dronenburg said. “At this point my case could be considered duplicative and slow the process.”

He said he wants to know how June’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same- sex marriage, which did not address the merits of the law, affects the ballot measure. He asked if the decision applies to all of California, or just Alameda and Los Angeles counties, where the couples that challenged the ballot measure live.

And he also asked if county clerks, who are elected by voters, are independent or governed by state officials.

Such marriage licenses are being issued by the San Diego County clerk’s office, pending the final answer from the state Supreme Court.

His requests were ridiculed by single-sex marriage advocates, and both the U.S. and California Supreme Courts have rejected similar legal attacks on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that same-sex marriages must proceed.

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts today said he thought Dronenburg’s latest move was “appropriate,” given the existence of the other case. He and other supervisors said Dronenburg acted on his own and without authorization when he filed his court action.

The supervisors discussed Dronenburg’s activities related to gay marriage in a closed session meeting earlier this week, but made no decisions. The discussions were scheduled to continue next week.

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