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Supreme Court justice refuses to block California same-sex marriages

US Supreme Court [official website] Justice Anthony Kennedy on Sunday rejected a request by Proposition 8 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] supporters to block the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in California. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) [advocacy website], a Christian legal advocacy group, had filed an emergency petition [JURIST report]] on Saturday arguing that the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] erred in dissolving the stay [JURIST report] that had blocked the ruling striking down Proposition 8. Kennedy offered no explanation for rejecting the request. California now joins 12 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing same-sex marriages.

The Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] last Wednesday in Hollingsworth v. Perry [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that Proposition 8 supporters lacked standing to appeal the district court's order striking down Proposition 8. When Proposition 8 was initially struck down [JURIST report] in 2010 by US District Judge Vaughn Walker, then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former attorney general and current Governor Jerry Brown, who were originally defendants in the lawsuit, refused to continue defending the measure on appeal [JURIST report]. This left defendant-intervenors Protect Marriage [advocacy website] and other groups to continue to defend the law and appeal the ruling. Wednesday's 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.

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