Sunday, June 01, 2008

AGs from 10 states seek stay of California same-sex marriage ruling


Can AGs convince California Supreme Court to stay its same-sex marriage ruling?

CaliforniaEarlier on this blog, I reported on the case of In re Marriage Cases decided May 15, 2008 by the California Supreme Court holding that two state laws that had limited marriages to opposite-sex partners are unconstitutional and that single-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
The attorney generals of ten states (Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Utah) have petitioned the California Supreme Court to stay its decision which would legalize same-sex marriages as of June 17, 2008.
Here are some additional details from Jesse McKinley, States Seek Delay in California Marriage Ruling, NY Times, [They] asked that the marriages be put off until after the November election, when California voters are expected to vote on a measure that would ban same-sex marriages.
The attorneys general said that allowing same-sex marriages now could unnecessarily open the door to legal challenges from gay residents of other states who get married in California. Upon returning to their home states, the newlyweds could demand equality in everything from tax-filing status to testimonial privileges in civil suits, the attorneys general said. * * *
The court is expected to issue a ruling on the stays by the end of business on June 16, said Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the San Francisco city attorney, Dennis Herrera. * * *
The California attorney general, Jerry Brown, said on Friday that a stay was unnecessary. "Same-sex marriage is a deeply contentious issue, but in California the matter has now been resolved by the state Supreme Court," he said. 
Ten US state attorneys general have petitioned [brief, PDF] the Supreme Court of California [official website] to postpone implementation of its May 15 decision [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] legalizing same-sex marriages until after state elections in November. California is slated to allow all same-sex couples, regardless of state citizenship, to wed in California, but each of the 10 petitioning states bans recognition of same-sex marriages. The attorneys general - from Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah - wrote Thursday that if California starts issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples [JURIST report] on June 17 as announced, many same-sex couples in their states would become "marriage tourists" in California and the states' courts would then face unfair, extensive and burdensome litigation on whether to recognize the marriages. The AGs also joined conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defense Fund's recent petition [text, PDF; JURIST report] in saying that deciding the issue before California citizens vote in November on a likely proposed amendment to the California state constitution banning same-sex marriage could lead to legal havoc. Attorneys for the city and county of San Francisco have responded [press release; opposition brief to ADF petition, PDF] that a stay would mingle judicial and political processes and would deny rights based on a merely proposed state constitutional amendment. The New York Times has more. The San Francisco Chronicle has local coverage.


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