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Court Challenge Fails To Stop California Gay Marriages

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to stop gay marriages in the state.

In a brief ruling, the high court unanimously tossed out a legal challenge by supporters of Proposition 8, the ballot measure passed by voters that banned same-sex marriages in California.

In June, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling left in place a trial judge's 2010 order striking down the ballot measure as unconstitutional. On June 28, Gov. Jerry Brown ordered county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Prop 8 supporters had asked the state Supreme Court to stop the weddings, arguing that the federal court action applied narrowly and only to the two couples who filed the federal lawsuit challenging the ban.

San Diego County clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. also had filed an appeal to the state high court to halt gay weddings but withdrew it earlier this month, saying his challenge was too similar to that of the Prop 8 backers to merit a separate legal bid.

With little comment, a unanimous state Supreme Court allowed gay marriages to continue. The state Supreme Court didn't address the legal arguments of Prop 8 supporters, leaving open the possibility they may take their case back to federal court.

A spokeswoman for the supporters didn't immediately return a phone call or email inquiry.

Backers of Prop 8, which passed in 2008, argue that the lawsuit permits only county clerks in Alameda and Los Angeles counties from issuing same-sex wedding licenses since the lawsuit filed by the two couple residing in those counties wasn't filed as a class action lawsuit on behalf of all gay couple wishing to be married in California.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker previously issued a sweeping opinion saying Prop 8 violated equal protection guarantees in the U.S. Constitution by denying the two California couples a chance to marry in the state.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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