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04/19/2007


SD County Clerk Withdraws Petition to Halt Same-Sex Marriages

San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg on Friday withdrew his petition asking the California Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages and consider whether the Supreme Court's Prop 8 ruling applies only to the plaintiffs involved in the case, the Union Tribune reports:

DronenburgIn a news release sent out Friday afternoon, Dronenburg said he canceled the petition because it covered the same ground as another petition filed earlier to the court.

The first petition was filed July 12 by Dennis Hollingsworth and others. Hollingsworth, a former state senator, has worked with ProtectMarriage.com in support of Proposition 8, which amended the state Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Dronenburg said he was withdrawing his petition, which he filed July 19, to speed up the legal process that he hopes will clarify the current legal standing of Prop. 8.

Both petitions asked the state Supreme Court to stop county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court has denied that request, but has not responded to other questions about the legality of same-sex marriages in California.

“Because I am dropping my action, the California Supreme Court can start tomorrow in making a decision in the lead case of Hollingsworth v. O’Connell and Brown,” Dronenburg wrote in his Friday announcement.

Dronenburg's actions quickly came under scrutiny by the County Board of Supervisors, who distanced themselves from Dronenburg's actions and announced they would review whether his hiring of an outside counsel (a Prop 8 supporter) was legal.


Gay Couple Attacked For Sharing Their Marriage

Club Kensington
Even in relatively gay-friendly California, gay couples are still at risk for violent attacks based on their orientation. Rather than being accosted by strangers on the street, San Diego couple Zack and Shawn struck up a friendship with an older straight couple at Club Kensington, who congratulated the men on their marriage. Then, after inviting the couple over for dinner, things got violent:

But after 20 minutes at Shawn and Zach's home, Zach said the evening took a violent turn while he was talking to the woman's husband about sports. 

"He looked at me and said, 'I hate faggots,'" Zach told 10News. "Next thing you know, he hit me upside the head." 

When asked by the police what happened, the man claimed Zach tried to molest him, but when pressed for specifics he conveniently was "unable to remember details." ABC 10 News reports that the man and wife were planning to divorce and suspect that he may have been lashing out at the happily married couple.

 


SD County Board To Review Clerk's Anti-Gay Actions

StevensSan Diego Supervisor Ron Roberts announced yesterday that Ernest J. Dronenburg, the San Diego County Clerk who recently asked the California Supreme Court to halt gay marriages state-wide, will be the subject of a special meeting of the county's board of supervisors to be held next week. Roberts said in a statement posted on Facebook,

As Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk, Ernest Dronenburg is an independently elected official. I strongly disagree with his decision to file this lawsuit and his subsequent public statements. He is acting on his own, without any direction or consultation from the Board of Supervisors, which was made clear last Friday in a statement I issued and a joint statement on behalf of the entire Board. We will be reviewing this matter with county attorneys during a closed session next week.

Perhaps of particular concern to the board is the question of whether Dronenburg violated the County's Administrative Code of ordinances by hiring Charles LiMandri of Rancho Santa Fe, a vocal supporter of Prop. 8., to represent his petition before the court when the code states that only the County Counsel can be hired for legal services that serve "county purposes." According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dronenburg insists that because San Diego's County Counsel Tom Montgomery rejected his initial petition it was permissible for him to seek outside counsel.

Dronenburg claims his main motivation in filing suit is to seek clarification from the high court as to whether Judge Vaughn Walker's 2010 ruling, currently the preeminent ruling following the US Supreme Court's dismissal of Hollingsworth v. Perry on the grounds of standing, has the power to amend the California Constitution by way of overriding Proposition 8 when, according to Dronenburg, only an appellate court has the power to change the state constitution. However, Susan Jester, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego, may have said it best: “Hiring Charles LiMandri for clarification of this issue would be like sending the fox into the henhouse to count the chicken and the eggs. His job is to implement the law, not to try to change it."

Perhaps even more difficult to reconcile with what we know about this is case is Dronenburg's assertion that he has the best interests of LGBT Californians at heart. According to the Union-Tribune,

"[Dronenburg] said his intention was to protect same-sex couples from the possible disappointment of having their marriages voided if a future court decision affirms the validity of Prop. 8. 'I asked for a stay because I believe it’s cruel to set up people,' he said. Dronenburg recalled that in 2004, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom instructed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and then the state Supreme Court ordered the city to stop such marriages after almost 4,000 licenses had been issued."

PicpicNonetheless, Dronenburg has been widely panned for his actions. A new poll released by the Union-Tribune shows a majority (52%) of San Diegans oppose Dronenburg's efforts to prohibit same-sex couples from getting married. Dronenburg's decision to get involved in this issue came as a surprise to some. VoiceofSanDiego.org reports that in his 2010 campaign for county clerk, Dronenburg pledged that if, "Prop. 8 is ultimately negated, his office [would] treat same-sex couples with respect and dignity." Many in San Diego have also felt that Dronenburg's actions have cast a pall over the city's once glistening reputation as a bastion of bipartisan support for LGBT rights and equality.

(Poll photo via The San Diego Union-Tribune)


San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Is The Next Politician Facing Sexual Allegations

Bob_FilnerMayor Bob Filner has previously faced anonymous allegations "that he harassed 'numerous' women," according to Politico. Now, his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, is coming forward as well. She and her celebrity attorney, Gloria Allred, are filing a sexual harassment lawsuit, according a a press conference held this past Monday. 

McCormack Jackson, a former reporter, resigned from her position as communications director last June. According to her and Allred, this was due to repeated sexual misconduct by Filner. "Women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots," said McCormack Jackson, "His behavior made me feel ashamed, frightened and violated." Allred then detailed a few occasions in which Filner "asked McCormack Jackson to 'work without her panties on,' placed her in a headlock, and told her that he wanted to consummate their relationship." Allred also added that there were witnesses for certain events. Both women called for Filner to resign. “He is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office.”

Mayor Filner responded to the allegations on Monday, saying that “I do not believe these claims are valid...That is why due process is so important. I intend to defend myself vigorously and I know that justice will prevail.” He has also denied previous allegations of sexual misconduct, and has subsequently resisted multiple calls for his resignation

Allred, who has already taken on the likes of Tiger Woods, O.J. Simpson, and Herman Cain, told reporters that she hasn't yet received contact from anyone on Filner's side. She is asking for anyone who has been victimized by Filner, or anyone with information on any of the incidents, to come forward. “We think that silence only favors the wrongdoer and not the victims.”


CA Attorney General Urges Court To Deny San Diego Clerk's Petition To Halt Same-Sex Marriages: READ

Harris

Late last week, San Diego County Clerk Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr. filed a petition with the California Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages in the state on the grounds that the 2010 federal court ruling by District Judge Vaugh Walker only applies to the two couples who petitioned the court and their respective counties (Los Angeles and Alameda). On Monday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris strongly urged the court to deny the request for a stay, according to the LA Times:

“The public interest weighs sharply against issuing a stay in this case,” Harris’ office argued. “After years of litigation, there is now a final determination that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”

Responding to Dronenburg's notion that a more limited view of Walker's ruling should be applied, "Harris countered that [Walker's] injunction applied statewide because it also ordered [Governor] Brown and other statewide officials to stop enforcing Proposition 8, and those officials have authority over county clerks."

In briefs filed with the Court, Harris went even further in arguing against the requested stay of same-sex marriages:

"The Court should deny the stay because the petitioner has no likelihood of success on the merits. The petition is an impermissible collateral attack on the district court's final judgment. This Court is not the proper forum to litigate the scope or validity of the district court's injunction, as that question is properly presented to the federal district court. The federal injunction applies statewide, and the State Registrar's notices to the petitioner of his legal obligations under the terms of a federal injunction do not violate article III, section 3.5 of the California Constitution. Even if successful, the requested stay would not shield petitioner from proceedings to compel his compliance with the federal injunction."

Dronenburg's petition is the second in California to challenge same-sex marriage in California since the Supreme Court overturned Prop. 8 on a question of standing in June. Last week a request from the backers of Prop. 8 to halt gay marriages was denied by the California Supreme Court.

Read Harris' opposition to the stay AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "CA Attorney General Urges Court To Deny San Diego Clerk's Petition To Halt Same-Sex Marriages: READ" »


San Diego County Clerk Wants To Halt Same-Sex Marriages

Yesterday, San Diego County Clerk Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr. filed a petition seeking to put an end to same-sex marriages in California - at least temporarily.

Dronenbgurg

The LA Times reports: "Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr. argued that the court should halt weddings while it considers the argument that the federal court ruling should apply only to the two couples who sued over Proposition 8, as well as to the county clerks in Alameda and Los Angeles counties, where the couples live."

Dronenburg's office claims the document was filed for the purposes of clarification, saying they want to make "sure to follow the Constitution so there isn’t any confusion."

County Chariman Greg Cox was quick to distance himself from Dronenburg's office saying, "The County Clerk has acted independently on this matter. No one else from the County was consulted or had any part of this court action, including the Board of Supervisors. The County’s position is and always has been that we, the County, will follow applicable law with regards to same-sex marriage."

Also, California Attorney General Kamala Harris immediately issued a brief and stern response which essentially quashes Dronenburg's petition.

"The filing offers no new arguments that could deny same-sex couples their constitutionally protected civil rights. The federal injunction is still in effect, and it requires all 58 counties to perform same-sex marriages. No exceptions."

Read the entire petition here.


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