County clerk says move to halt same-sex weddings done to “protect gay and lesbian couples”

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego County's embattled clerk/assessor/recorder
said Tuesday his request to temporarily halt same-sex weddings in California was
made to clarify issues and protect gay and lesbian couples.

Ernest Dronenberg filed the motion last week to find out how June's
ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on same-sex marriage affects voter-passed
Proposition 8 and whether the decision applies to all of California, or just
Alameda and Los Angeles counties, where the couples that challenged the ballot
measure live.

He said he also wanted to know whether county clerks, who are elected by
voters, are independent or governed by state officials.

Proposition 8, which defines marriage in the state as between one man
and one woman, was declared unconstitutional in rulings by lower courts. The
U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on the law's merits, but declared that backers
of the ballot measure did not have standing to bring an appeal.

Supporters of traditional marriage have denounced the ruling and
promised renewed legal action.

“I asked for a stay because it's cruel to set up people,” Dronenberg
said. “In 2004, the last time there was a case, the court came out
against it and they had to unwrap 4,000 marriages — that is hurtful.”

Dronenberg spoke to reporters after a group of gay and lesbian
Republicans called for a county investigation of his request.

Despite his action, the county clerk's office has been issuing marriage
licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

After Dronenberg took the action last week, Board of Supervisors
Chairman Greg Cox said the clerk was acting on his own.

Supervisor Dave Roberts, who is gay, told U-T San Diego Monday that he
wants the board to meet with county lawyers to explore options for dealing with
Dronenberg's action.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris said Dronenberg's petition did not
bring up any new issues, and that all 58 counties were bound to issue marriage
licenses to same-sex couples.

Categories: KUSI