PJI to County Clerks: Don’t Issue Gay Marriage Licenses

Chuck Storey, Imperial County Clerk
Chuck Storey, Imperial County Clerk

Sacramento, CA—Attorneys with the Pacific Justice Institute today are sending a letter to county clerks throughout California, warning them not to issue gay marriage licenses.

“Except for the two counties of Alameda and Los Angeles actually named as defendants in the Prop. 8 lawsuit, there is currently no legal authority that would allow the other 56 counties in California to disregard Prop. 8,” noted Kevin Snider, PJI’s staff attorney who wrote the letter.  Brad Dacus, the president of PJI, commented, “We are back to the lawlessness of 2004, when Gavin Newsom started issuing marriage licenses that the California Supreme Court later invalidated.”

Last week, it was widely misreported that the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Prop. 8, the traditional definition of marriage now enshrined in the California Constitution.  In actuality, the Supreme Court’s decision that the official proponents of Prop. 8 could not appeal an adverse decision means that now-retired Judge Vaughn Walker’s order against Prop. 8 will be reinstated.  “However, that order applies only to the parties before it and not to the entire state,” said staff attorney Matthew McReynolds.

In its letter, PJI points out that, under Article 3, Section 3.5 of the California Constitution, administrative agencies—including state agencies that prepare marriage license forms—cannot consider a law to be unconstitutional until an appellate court has so ruled.  Since that has not happened with Prop. 8, most county clerks must continue to regard it as binding, regardless of any directives by state officials to the contrary.

PJI also noted that, in the middle of the Prop. 8 lawsuit two years ago, Judge Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals criticized the plaintiffs for only seeking a limited injunction that would not likely apply statewide.

“The rule of law is being trodden underfoot by the opponents of Prop. 8,” said Dacus.  “We are pointing the county clerks back to what the law actually says—not what activist judges or overzealous politicians are claiming.”

PJI is offering to defend county clerks who continue to regard Prop. 8 as binding and deny same-sex marriage licenses.


  1. Chuck, how you dare! forcing your truth on all. Equal rights has nothing to do with religion. State and religion separation, please; otherwise, soon we will be figthing like in other religious countries. I should have never voted for you.

    • Umm…you realize Chuck didn’t write this right? His picture is up there because he is the Clerk for the Imperial County and the staff reporter is reporting on a subject that is directed at all County Clerks across the state.

        • I really can’t help you if you can’t understand that Chuck isn’t directly involved in this. Please try reading it a couple more times and maybe it will be clear.

          • Don’t worry Improv, I understood what I read. I understood your Umm message. My point is: chuck made it clear to all the citizens of Imperial Valley, his stand against equal rights for some citizens, since long ago. Besides, don’t help me, I am ok. I just believe in State and Religion separation; this picture reminded me of his opposition or lack of support for equal rights.

          • Ah, you had not made that clear in your post. It seemed way out of left field without the proper context. So you’re making a comment based on previous interactions and/or knowledge of Chuck Storey. It would’ve helped clear things up if you had mentioned that.

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