Opponents of same-sex marriage filed an emergency motion on Saturday, just 24 hours after California began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Attorneys for the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately halt same-sex marriage in California.
In their filing, the group says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely when it allowed gay marriage to resume on Friday. ADF Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks said the high court is not done considering the Prop 8 case, although they issued a ruling Wednesday. Nimocks said Saturday that his clients have 22 days to ask the judges to reconsider their 5-4 decision.
"The 9th Circuit's June 28, 2013 Order purporting to dissolve the stay ... is the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted Petitioners' defense of California's marriage amendment," the petition states. "Failing to correct the appellate court's actions threatens to undermine the public's confidence in its legal system."
"Our clients have not been given the time they are due and were promised so that they can make their next decision in the legal process," Nimocks said in a statement. "The more than 7 million Californians that voted to enact Proposition 8 deserve nothing short of the full respect and due process our judicial system provides."
Meanwhile, 81 same-sex couples received marriage licenses on Friday.
Scott Kehoe, 34, and his fiancé Aurelien Bricker, 24, told The Associated Press that when they learned on Facebook that San Francisco was issuing same-sex marriage licenses Friday, the they rushed out to Tiffany's to buy wedding rings.
"We were afraid of further legal challenges in the state," Kehoe said.
"Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed," Nimocks said. "On Friday, the 9th Circuit acted contrary to its own order without explanation."
Legal experts expected a final push from gay marriage opponents, but they believe the filing is unlikely to succeed, Mercury News reported. The 9th Circuit has independent authority over it own orders, a stay dating back to 2010.