Groups fighting marriage ruling receive support

Conservative groups petitioning the California Supreme Court to delay finalizing its ruling to legalize same-sex marriage have been joined by the attorneys general of 10 states.

In a friend-of-the-court brief filed late Thursday, the officials said they have an interest in the case because they would have to determine if their states would recognize the marriages of gay residents who wed in California.

The attorneys general all represent states that have constitutional provisions banning gay marriage: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah. Except for Florida and New Hampshire.

They asked the court to stay its May 15 ruling until after the November election, when a proposed state constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman could go before voters. If it passed, it would trump the state Supreme Court’s ruling.

Another, similar request was filed May 22 by the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, one of the litigants opposing marriage equality in cases dating back to February 2004.

What happens in the state is being watched because California does not have a residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license.

“We reasonably believe an inevitable result of such ‘marriage tourism’ will be a steep increase in litigation of the recognition issue in our courts,” Utah Attorney General Mark L. Shurtleff wrote.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office submitted its own brief Thursday urging the Supreme Court not to grant the stay.

In San Francisco, City Attorney Dennis Herrera said Friday that to delay the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples would be “unprecedented and inhumane.”

The Supreme Court has until the close of business June 16 to decide the stay request, but it also could give itself extensions up to 60 days.

The California Office of Vital Records informed officials this week that they can start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples June 17.

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