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Religious Tolerance logo

Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger):
California lawsuit challenging constitutionality of Prop. 8
which terminated same-sex marriages (SSMs)

2013-JUL/AUG: San Diego Clerk files withdraws
petition to stop SSMs. ProtectMarriage's appeal
fails. Same-sex marriages securely proceed.

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Continued from a previous essay

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In this web site, "SSM" is an acronym for "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" is an acronym for "Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender persons and Transsexuals."

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2013-JUL-19: One county clerk requested that same-sex marriages be halted in California (Cont'd):

In spite of his opinion, his office continues to dispense marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

On JUL-23, supporters of same-sex marriage held a demonstration in San Diego to object to Dronenburg's actions. Sean Sala, a supporter of marriage equality, said of the clerk's position:

"Your religion, I respect it, I don't agree with it. But my religion and your religion do not run this land. The Constitution of the United States runs this land."

Later that day, the state Supreme Court rejected Dronenburg's petition for a temporary injunction to halt SSM by a vote of 6 to 0, during the absence of one justice.

San Diego Gay and Lesbian News tweeted a message about the ProtectMarriage group:

"It's not over! California Supreme Court still has to has to hear petitions to halt same-gender marriage in August." 4,5

The Los Angeles Times reported on JUL-23 that:

"So far, clerks from about 24 of the state's 58 counties, including Los Angeles, have opposed the attempt to revive Proposition 8. They contend that chaos would result if each county was permitted to interpret the marriage laws on its own. ... State officials say the new challenges amount to a back-handed attempt to persuade a state court to interpret a federal judge's order. Such challenges properly belong in federal court, the lawyers for state officials have argued." 6

However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Protect Marriage has no standing to appeal cases in federal courts. Also, the governor and attorney general have no interest in appealing Judge Walker's decision. This is the ultimate "Catch 22." However, California law allows initiative sponsors to defend their measures in state court. So their only path was to appeal to the California Supreme Court.

The Los Angeles Times continues:

"San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera, whose office is representing four counties, told the [California Supreme Court] ... that [Judge] Walker did not exceed his authority when he blocked enforcement of Proposition 8.

'A district court has the fundamental authority to strike down invalid laws and to enter orders benefiting people not before the court,' Herrera's office argued." 6

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2013-AUG-01: National Organization for Marriage (NOM) backs County Clerk Dronenburg Jr:

NOM's main function is to prevent marriage equality in all states. NOM has urged its supporters to send the over 50 County Supervisors in California with phone calls and letters. Brian Brown, president of NOM wrote:

" As you are undoubtedly aware, the battle over Proposition 8 and the definition of marriage is ongoing in California. And while Governor Brown and Attorney General Harris, with several County Clerks, continue their lawless decree that Prop 8 no longer applies, at least one County Clerk has chosen to follow the rule of law and respect the votes of over 7 million Californians. San Diego Clerk Ernie Dronenburg has asked the California Supreme Court for guidance and direction on whether Proposition 8 still applies.

This confusion was created when the US Supreme Court refused to consider the merits of Prop 8 and dismissed the appeal brought by the proponents of the measure. This left the trial court ruling in effect, but a trial court is powerless to invalidate a law without an appellate court agreeing. With the appeal dismissed, there is no appellate court ruling on Proposition 8.

Merely for asking the California Supreme Court to clarify the law, he is being viciously attacked by homosexual marriage activists, who are demanding that he withdraw his request.

If you have not already, please ... join our California allies in contacting the County Supervisors and voice your support of County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg." 10

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News commented:

"... the Supervisors met in closed session this week to decide what to do about the renegade Dronenburg, who has been accused of putting his faith and his personal prejudice ahead of his responsibilities as County Clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay and straight couples who want to marry. On July 1, the County Clerk’s Office was one of the last ones in California to begin issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples after same-gender weddings resumes on June 28.

The state’s highest court rejected Dronenburg’s demand to issue a temporary stay, but still must hear the petition this month. The State of California has also replied to the petition, essentially saying that it was rehashing old arguments that have failed in the courts." 10

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2013-AUG-02: San Diego Clerk Dronenburg withdraws lawsuit before the California Supreme Court:

On AUG-02, Clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. said that he planned to withdraw his petition of JUL-19 because he regards it as very similar to another lawsuit filed by the group Protect Marriage that originally sponsored Prop. 8. He felt that to have two similar active lawsuits would delay the decision of the court. Both lawsuits argued that the scope of the decision of the District Court should extend only to to the plaintiffs: one gay couple and one lesbian couple and not to all loving, committed couples who wish to marry. 11

According to CBS San Francisco:

"Dronenburg was later criticized by several members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for taking action and retaining an outside lawyer, Charles LiMandri of the Rancho Santa Fe-based Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, without the board’s direction."

"... Last month, 24 other county clerks, among the state’s 58, signed on to briefs opposing Dronenburg’s lawsuit and saying they believe the injunction applies statewide."

His lawyers filed a one-sentence request to the California Supreme Court on AUG-05 to withdraw his petition. 11

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There is no concensus on the Internet for the spelling on the San Diego County clerk's last name. A Google search found about 27,400 hits for "Dronenburg" and about 27,400 for "Dronenberg." According to his official web site, the correct spelling is "Dronenburg." 12

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star symbol2013-AUG-14: ProtectMarriage's appeal rejected:

ProtectMarriage had asked that the California Supreme Court issue an immediate "stay" or hold on any future same-sex marriages. This was unanimously rejected by the Court. Same-sex marriages can now proceed with some degree of security that they will continue into the future.

Prop. 8 which had terminated SSMs in California in late 2008-NOV, was reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013-MAR. They ruled on 2013-JUN-26 that ProtectMarriage did not have standing to appeal the District Court's ruling to either the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court for the simple reason that they were not adversely affected by the tens of thousands of same-sex marriages that have ocurred or will continue to occur in California. The group was clearly distressed that they have been forced to live in a state where all loving, committed couples can marry -- both opposite-sex and same-sex. But this was not regarded as sufficient "damage" to provide them with standing.

This decision left the District Court ruling intact. It had declared Prop. 8 was unconstitutional. ProtectMarriage attempted to have the state Supreme Court declare that retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker's ruling only applied to the four plaintiffs, or only appllied to two counties in California -- because Judge Walker lacked the authority to overturn a state constitutional amendment and restore marriage equality throughout all of California.

State officials argued before the California Supreme Court that ProtectMarriage's appeal real goal was to persuade the court to interfere with a federal judge's order in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

With the appeal rejected, California appears to be the 13th state that will allow same-sex marriage in the future.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Sharon McNary, "Prop 8 update: Gay marriage opponents ask California Supreme Court to deny licenses," KPCC, 2013-JUL-12, at:
  2. "Hate map," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2013, at:
  3. "18 anti-gay groups and their propaganda," Intelligence Report, Winter-2010, Issue #140, at:
  4. "County Clerk shows up at protest to defend himself." CBS8, 2013-JUL-23, at:
  5. Greg Botelho & Amanda Watts, "California court denies bid to halt same-sex marriages in state," CNN, 2012-JUL-24, at:
  6. Maura Dolon, "California high court again refuses to stop gay marriages," Los Angeles Times, 2013-JUL-2, at:
  7. "California’s County Clerks Meet Over Same-Sex Marriages," KCBS, 2013-JUL-19, at:
  8. "California court rejects bid to halt gay marriages in state," Associated Press, 2013-JUL-24, at:
  9. Maura Dolan, "California Supreme Court again refuses to stop gay marriage," Los Angeles Times, 2013-JUL-23, at:
  10. Kin Williams, "Anti-gay hate group NOM backing County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg in Prop 8 flap," San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, 2013-AUG-01, at:
  11. "San Diego Clerk Drops Lawsuit Seeking End To Same-Sex Marriages," CBS San Francisco, 2013-AUG-05, at:
  12. "Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr. Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk," at:

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Site navigation:

Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Couples > California > Prop 8 > here

Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2013-JUL-12
Latest update: 2013-AUG-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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