Court won't force Calif officials to defend Prop 8 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Court won't force Calif officials to defend Prop 8

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In this Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 file photo, hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters march through San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File) In this Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 file photo, hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters march through San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California court has refused to order Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to appeal a ruling that overturned the state's gay marriage ban.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday denied a conservative legal group's request to force the officials to defend voter-approved Proposition 8.

Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland did not explain why the appeals court turned down the request filed two days earlier by the Pacific Justice Institute.

The institute now plans to take the matter to the California Supreme Court, Chief Counsel Kevin Snider said Thursday.

"We are disappointed that the appellate court showed indecisiveness in trying to prevent a constitutional crisis," Snider said. "They didn't want to deal with it."

The institute maintains the attorney general and governor have the duty to uphold all laws, including those passed by voters.

Brown has said he cannot defend Proposition 8 because he thinks it is unconstitutional; Schwarzenegger has chosen to remain neutral.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Proposition 8 last month as a violation of gay Californians' civil rights.

The measure approved by 52 percent of California voters in November 2008 amended the state Constitution to outlaw same-sex unions five months after the state Supreme Court legalized them.

The state has until Sept. 11 to challenge Walker's ruling. Both Brown and Schwarzenegger have said they don't plan an appeal.

The coalition of conservative and religious groups that sponsored the ban has appealed the ruling by Walker. But doubts have been raised about whether its members have authority to do so because as ordinary citizens they are not responsible for enforcing marriage laws.

Twenty-seven members of the California Assembly sent Schwarzenegger a letter this week urging the governor to bring an appeal if Brown will not.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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