Courts shoot down last-ditch efforts to halt marriages

As same-sex couples stepped up to be married Tuesday, two last-ditch efforts to halt same-sex marriages were batted down by courts.

The conservative group Liberty Counsel had asked a three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal to stop the weddings until November, when voters will decide whether the state constitution should be changed to limit marriage to being between a man and a woman.

The judges rejected that request Tuesday, saying the high court made it clear May 15 that the same-sex marriages should be allowed.

Also Tuesday, a Sacramento Superior Court judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order on the marriages sought on technical grounds by five supervisors from Yuba, Stanislaus, Nevada and Sutter counties.

The petition, submitted Monday, had argued that the Department of Public Health failed to follow regulations by creating new same-sex marriage licenses without waiting for legislators to amend the state’s marriage laws.

The judge did not rule on the merit of the legal argument, instead saying the lawsuit should have been filed in San Francisco Superior Court, where the issue originally arose and where the Supreme Court is located.

The results were of little surprise to San Francisco officials.

“This is aboutgetting a headline, this is not about getting any kind of relief from the court,” Matt Dorsey, spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, said. Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver said Tuesday he had no plans to file additional petitions and says his group will begin petitioning voters to reject same-sex marriage in November.

“We will focus on getting the grass roots educated before the election,” he said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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