San Diego County Clerk faces heat after asking state high court to halt to gay marriages

Ernest Dronenburg filed petition last week

SAN DIEGO - San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr. is facing heat after he asked the California Supreme Court to halt gay marriages.

Dronenburg petitioned the state's high court to ban county clerks from issuing licenses for same-sex marriages -- three weeks after gay couples began tying the knot in San Diego and across the state.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors said they weren't involved with the action, and gay rights activists are calling on the board to investigate.

A Facebook page urging the recall of Dronenburg has nearly 300 likes as of early Monday evening.

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria also took aim at the petition, saying, "I'm really disappointed by the actions of our clerk for putting San Diego in such a bad light."

In a statement to 10News, Dronenburg said, "All I'm searching for is clarity and finality. If they answer, it will be over and we'll have a final decision. And if they don't, those issues can be brought up in the future."

What are those issues?

Gay marriage opponents say the Supreme Court's decision on Proposition 8 never ruled on the merits of gay marriage and let stand a district court ruling affirming the nuptials.

Opponents argue the state Constitution requires a court higher than that to overturn something like Prop. 8.

In a just-filed brief, the state Attorney General's Office disagreed, citing several factors why that requirement doesn't apply in this case.

Still, opponents of gay marriage applauded Dronenburg.

"Knowing the blowback and repercussions he's facing, it's quite courageous the stance he's taking," said Pastor Chris Clark of the East Clairemont Southern Baptist Church.

While Dronenburg hasn't revealed his personal opinion on gay marriage, gay activists say it's clear he's using his office to force his personal agenda, pointing to the involvement of a nonprofit led by attorney Charles Limandri, an outspoken Prop. 8 supporter who is handling the petition pro bono.     

"His alliance with Limandri is blatant. It's apparent and everybody sees through this," said gay rights activist Sean Sala.

Briefs on both sides have now been submitted to the state Supreme Court while same-sex marriages continue across the state.

Supporters and opponents of the clerk's petition have planned news conferences for Tuesday.



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