SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to revive Proposition 8, ending the last remaining legal challenge to same-sex marriage in the state.
Meeting in closed session, the state high court rejected arguments by ProtectMarriage, Proposition 8’s sponsors, that only an appellate court could overturn a statewide law.
A federal judge in San Francisco declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010, and state officials refused to appeal. ProtectMarriage did appeal, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that initiative sponsors have no right to defend their measures in federal court. The decision left in place the ruling by retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker.
In its challenge before the state’s highest court, ProtectMarriage argued that a single judge lacked the authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment. The group also contended that Walker’s injunction applied to two counties at most and that state officials had overstepped their authority by ordering county clerks throughout California to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
State officials countered that the challenge was a veiled attempt to persuade a state court to interfere with a federal judge’s order in violation of the U.S. Constitution.