Gay marriage opponents not giving up yet

Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state's gay marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the weddings being performed in San Francisco.
Associated Press
Jun 30, 2013

Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition  the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly on Friday when it allowed gay marriage to resume by lifting a hold that had been placed on same sex unions.

"The Ninth Circuit's June 28, 2013 Order purporting to dissolve the the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted Petitioners' defense of California's marriage amendment," the paperwork states. "Failing to correct the appellate court's actions threatens to undermine the public's confidence in its legal system."

The motion was filed as dozens of couples in jeans, shorts, white dresses and the occasional military uniform filled San Francisco City Hall on Saturday to obtain marriage licenses. On Friday, 81 same sex couples received marriage licenses.

Although a few clerk's offices around the state stayed open late on Friday, San Francisco, which is holding its annual gay pride celebration this weekend, was the only jurisdiction to hold weekend hours so that same sex couples could take advantage of their newly restored right, Clerk Karen Hong said.

A sign posted on the door of the office where a long line of couples waited to fill out applications listed the price for a license, a ceremony or both above the words "Equality=Priceless."

"We really wanted to make this happen," Hong said, adding that her whole staff and a group of volunteers came into work without having to be asked. "It's spontaneous, which is great in its own way."

The timing couldn't have been better for California National Guard Capt. Michael Potoczniak, 38, and his partner of 10 years, Todd Saunders, 47, of El Cerrito.

Potoczniak, who joined the Guard after the military's ban on openly gay service was repealed almost two years ago, was scheduled to fly out Sunday night for a month of basic training in Texas.

"I woke up this morning, shook him awake and said, 'Let's go,'" said Potoczniak, who chose to get married in his Army uniform. "It's something that people need to see because everyone is so used to uniforms at military weddings."

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Proposition 8's backers lacked standing to defend the 2008 law because California's governor and attorney general have declined to defend the ban.

Then on Friday, the 9th Circuit appeared to have removed the last obstacle to making same sex matrimony legal again in California when it removed its hold on a lower court's 2010 order directing state officials to stop enforcing the ban.

Within hours, same sex couples were seeking marriage licenses. The two couples who sued to overturn Proposition 8 were wed in San Francisco and Los Angeles Friday.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks said on Saturday  the Supreme Court's consideration of the case isn't done because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider the 5-4 decision announced Wednesday.

Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to request a rehearing. While such requests are almost never granted, the high court said that it wouldn't finalize its judgment in the case at least until after that waiting period elapsed.

The San Francisco-based appeals court had said when it imposed the stay that it would remain in place until the Supreme Court issued its final disposition, according to Nimocks.

"Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed," he said. "On Friday, the 9th Circuit acted contrary to its own order without explanation."

Many legal experts who had anticipated such a last-ditch effort by gay marriage opponents said it was unlikely to succeed because the 9th Circuit has independent authority over its own orders — in this case, its 2010 stay.

While the ban's backers can still ask the Supreme Court for a rehearing, the 25-day waiting period is not binding on lower federal courts, Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor with the University of California, Davis law school, said.

"As a matter of practice, most lower federal courts wait to act," Amar said. "But there is nothing that limits them from acting sooner. It was within the 9th Circuit's power to do what it did."

Also waiting to wed Saturday were Scott Kehoe, 34, and his fiancé, Aurelien Bricker, 24. After finding out on Facebook the city was issuing same sex marriage licenses Friday, the San Francisco couple rushed out to Tiffany's to buy wedding rings.

"We were afraid of further legal challenges in the state," Kehoe said.

The city, home to both a federal trial court that struck down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional and the 9th Circuit, has been the epicenter of the state's gay marriage movement since then-Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered his administration in February 2004 to issue licenses to gay couples in defiance of state law.

A little more than four years later, the California Supreme Court, which is also based in San Francisco, struck down the state's one-man, one-woman marriage laws.

City Hall was the scene of many more marriages in the 4 1/2 months before a coalition of religious conservative groups successfully campaigned for the November 2008 passage of Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to outlaw same sex marriages.

Standing amid the beaming couples on Saturday, John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney of the advocacy group Marriage Equality USA looked like proud fathers. The men have been together 26 years, got married in February 2004, had their union invalidated six months later and then became one of the 18,000 couples estimated to have tied the knot in California before Proposition 8 was enacted.

"I don't think getting a license means as much to anyone who hasn't worked so long for it and fought so hard for it," Gaffney said. "It's been a very long engagement."



be for real

dumb dumb da dumb dumb dumb da dumb if they want to be together then why do they need a paper.Next they will try to force churches to marry them


the paper is needed for legal purposes, just like the hetero's receive when they get married. Marriage licenses should be issued to legally consenting adults, regardless of sex. While this may be distasteful to some, it discriminates and that is against the law.


The Pandora's Box of incest, polygamy, etc. has been opened.

WHO are YOU to tell a father and daughter that they can't be married???

WHO are YOU to tell a man that he can't have five wives???

Should be interesting.


I agree, except for incest. The prohibitions against incest are pretty broad across virtually all belief spectrums. Polygamy or pedophilia, though, are completely different stories...

In all honesty, consenting adults of ANY nature ought to be able to enter into legal contracts that provide for inheritance and so on. Of course, the truth is, consenting adults of any nature can already do just that. The problem here is the government generated and/or mandated benefits that automatically kick in when people are legally (read "recognized by government") married.

Get rid of government discrimination based on marital status, and everything else goes away. Well, it won't go away, of course. But it WILL go back where it's supposed to go: Within the purview of churches and other religious institutions.

I would note that, while polygamy will doubtless be an issue we'll deal with (not that far over the horizon, either, with fundamentalist Islam on the rise), pedophilia should be a no-brainer. The "consenting adults" argument, when combined with the "as long as it's not hurting anybody else," completely fall apart when a child is involved. I'd hope that everyone of ANY political persuasion can at least agree on THAT much!


Re: "Get rid of government discrimination based on marital status,"

IMO, the "real" driver is govt. provided subsidies and perqs.

The Supremes chose a case involving estate taxes on which to make their decision.


IMO, in many ways, this ruling was AGAIN more about taxes (like ObamaCare) and less about morality.


Agree!! I have been saying the same exact thing! The guy on the show "Sister Wives" had to leave his state because they were after him for his polygamy lifestyle! Sounds like double standards to me!


You are right contago who are you. This is supposed to be the land of the free. As long as all parties agree and no one is harmed what does it matter? If there is a god I guess they will have to answer to him when that day comes.

be for real

contangos right.If they allow this five wives will be next then father daughter it wont stop

The Big Dog's back

Seems like we have a lot of closet polygamists and incestuous people on here this morning.


You prefer b*stiality right DOG??? :)

The Big Dog's back

Well, now that you've admitted to being one of those 2 things I mentioned, maybe you can start a group and petition to allow your choices.


So you enjoy the Big Dog's BACK eh? :)

The Big Dog's back

Which one are you going to petition for?

Dont Worry Be Happy

There are bigger problems in the world that need addressed then to tell someone they can not marry someone of the same sex.

So much wasted government time is put into telling people what they can and can not do with their own lives. Don't get me wrong we needs laws into place but this situation is not something we should be this concerned over.

If someone chooses to marry the same sex it is between them and God. We shouldn't tell anyone who they can or can not love and want to spend the rest of their lives with they are human and have want and needs like a straight person.

I am happy in a straight marriage and we have lots of gay friends whom are wonderful and glad they are a part if our lives.

dorothy gale

I find it ironic that the attorneys fighting this are part of a group called "Alliance Defending Freedom." Whose freedom, exactly, are they defending?!


Freedom from perversity.


The bigot speaks!

dorothy gale

You ARE free from perversity if that is your choice. If you don't like gays, you don't have to marry one. I would love freedom from bigots and morons but the Constitution protects them as well. There are plenty of other countries that restrict freedoms, perhaps one of them would suit you better?


I recognize where my true citizenship is found and hold the values of the kingdom of God above those of any nation I might live in.

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.”


Regarding polygamy--a marriage is a legal contract between TWO people and only those two people. If you put a third person in the mix, then that negates the contract between the two.


Re: "Regarding polygamy"

Know your U.S. History - "The Utah War":

Where in the U.S. Constitution is polygamy prohibited?

What goes around, comes around.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Excellent point regarding polygamy. Technically, the contract would still be between two people - the husband and the wife. He simply would just have contracts with multiple people.


I won't reply to the links you provided, because they are from Wikipedia. Not a reputable source of facts. I would be happy to read something from a reputable source.
And I don't recall ever saying anything about marriage and the Constitution. We have many laws that aren't specified in the Constitution. Does that mean they are unconstitutional? No.
Here's the problem with polygamy. A legal marriage implies that one's spouse has certain legal rights above and beyond anyone else. It's an exclusive contract between two people. Thus it isn't legally possible to have multiple spouses. If it's more than one spouse, it's not a marriage. By definition, a marriage is between two people. If more than two are involved, it's no longer a marriage.
Regardless, polygamy has nothing to do with same-sex marriage.


Gaffney said. "It's been a very long engagement."

He thinks that’s long, wait until he spends eternity suffering for his choices.


Why would he spend eternity suffering?


Suffering is usually reserved for married people!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I have more of an issue with the quote regarding the couple that "rushed to Tiffany's" to get wedding rings. Number one, it must be nice to be immediately able to go to a high priced jeweler, number two I find it ironic that there are people who feel compelled to follow symbolic traditions that have nothing legally to do with the act they are about to perform.

It is more sad that there are so many people who actually don't know what a marriage (legally, socially, or any other -ally) is or the reasons behind the western symbols/traditions it tends to carry. The further irony is that many couples who subscribe to no faith, don't align with Christian ideals of any sect, or even atheists use cultural traditions deeply steeped in Christianity.

For instance, it is said of Japan, "You are born Shinto, marry Christian, and die Buddhist."

That said, when people lead lives without meaning and understanding, that is the true tragedy.


A favorite Zen koan:

Nothing is as it seems and neither is it otherwise.

BTW: Since you like comparative religions, check out U.G. Krishnamurti.

He was often called the "anti-guru".

Most of his stuff is free online:

Pterocarya frax...

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."


1 Corinthians 2:6-16