BY JULIA CHEEVER
Bay City News
A little more than 18 hours after gay and lesbian weddings began in California, a group opposed to same-sex marriage lost a last-ditch bid to a state appeals court in San Francisco to stave off the unions.
A Court of Appeal panel in a brief order issued before noon turned down a request by the Campaign for California Families for a stay of the state Supreme Court’s May 15 decision holding that same-sex couples have a state constitutional right to marry.
A three-judge panel said, “The motion for a stay or other extraordinary relief, submitted by the Campaign for California Families on June 12, 2008, is denied.”
The appeals court also sent the case back to San Francisco Superior Court to issue any further orders necessary to carry out the High Court’s decision.
Lawyers for the city of San Francisco and same-sex couples had said the bid for a stay was a frivolous and futile gesture because the California Supreme Court, as the state’s highest court, had already refused to grant a stay.
The campaign asked the appeals court for a stay of the ruling until Californians vote on Nov. 4 on a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.
The group also argued the high court’s ruling created confusion because while it struck down two state laws requiring male-female marriages, it didn’t address other family code provisions referring to heterosexual marriage.
But the appeals court noted in today’s order that the Supreme Court said on May 15 that same-sex couples were entitled to orders “directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate the (Supreme Court’s) ruling in this case.”
The appeals panel quoted the high court as saying the purpose of such orders would be “so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner
consistent with the decision.”
The appeals court sent the case back to San Francisco Superior Court, where the case began four years ago, for “further action consistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion.”
The state high court’s ruling went into effect at 5 p.m. on Monday and several counties, including San Francisco, Alameda and Sonoma counties, began issuing marriage licenses and performing same-sex weddings at 5:01 p.m.
All counties were expected to issue the licenses beginning today.
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