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Friday, Jul 19, 2013 - Last Blog on Earth | News

Et tu, Ernie Dronenburg?

San Diego County Clerk seeks to halt gay marriages

By Kelly Davis
dronenberg Ernie Dronenburg
CityBeat's occasionally endorsed Republicans for elected office, usually after getting assurance from the candidate that he won't, well, act like a Republican. In 2010, we gave Ernie Dronenburg our thumb's up over Democrat David Butler for San Diego County assessor / recorder / clerk, largely because Dronenburg promised us that he wouldn't meddle if Prop. 8 were overturned:

Dronenburg’s a Republican and conservative activist, and that makes us worry, sure, but he’s promised us that if Prop. 8 is ultimately negated, his office will treat same-sex couples with respect and dignity.

But today came news that Dronenburg filed a petition with the California Supreme Court, asking that his office be allowed, at least temporarily, to stop performing same-sex marriages. Dronenburg explained to the conservative website San Diego Rostra that he was merely seeking clarification on whether Prop. 8 needs to go back to the Ninth Circuit Court for a ruling. 

It's tough to buy the argument that Dronenburg's simply doing his due diligence. Why? Because it wasn't the county's lawyers who who filed the petition on Dronenburg's behalf, but attorney Charles LiMandri. If that name's not familiar, here's a LiMandri primer: 

Charles LiMandri, a Catholic lawyer best known for his pro-life, anti-gay legal crusades. LiMandri considers himself an expert on "countering the gay agenda," having served as an attorney for the National Organization of Marriage in the Prop. 8 battles and for the San Diego firefighters who sued the city after being required to march in a Pride parade. More recently, LiMandri launched an attack on University of San Diego for hosting a drag show; he's currently demanding that the Catholic university forbid its students from doing internships at organizations that support same-sex marriage.

In 2012, in backing gay Republican Carl DeMaio for mayor, LiMandri said he would "pray for him" (not to get elected, but to change his sinful ways) and that his endorsement wasn't to be considered an endorsement of DeMaio's "lifestyle."

California Attorney General Kamala Harris quickly issued a statement on 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."

Tim McClain, spokeperson for county Supervisor Ron Roberts, said Roberts knew nothing about this in advance. McClain offered this statement from Roberts:

"This petition was filed without my consent, consultation or support. I am disappointed and had thought we had moved past such divisiveness after the U.S. Supreme Court's declarative ruling."

Update: An earlier version of the post had McClain saying that since Dronenburg is an independently elected official, he didn't need approval from the Board of Supervisors. McClain followed up to say that he can't comment on whether Dronenburg's action was legal or not.   
 
 
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