Prop 8 backers try to revive California's gay marriage ban

LOS ANGELES — Supporters of California's Prop 8 have launched a long shot legal challenge to stop the state from performing same sex marriages.

Same sex couples have been getting married in California since the Supreme Court decided in June that Prop 8's backers didn't have the legal standing to defend the voter approved ban on gay marriage. 

The Arizona-based group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a petition with California's top court asking the justices to halt giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Their argument is that the Supreme Court should only apply to the two couples who launched the legal challenge - and not the entire state of California.

Since, they argue, those two couples are now married the state should be prevented from issuing licenses to other same sex couples.

The interpretation is a narrow one stemming from a 2010 lower court ruling by US District Judge Vaughn Walker that found Prop 8 unconstitutional.

Their reasoning, according to NBC News:

But [the Walker decision], the Prop. 8 proponents argue, lacked legal authority to order state officials to do anything except allow the four gay plaintiffs to get married. And even if he did have that authority, they say, county clerks are not under anyone's supervision when it comes to issuing marriage licenses because the California Legislature gave clerks -- and clerks alone -- the authority to issue them.

The lawsuit seeks an immediate stop to any same sex marriage licenses but did not ask the court to invalidate the thousands of marriages that have already taken place.

Theodore Olson, lawyer for the couples who challenged Prop. 8 in federal court, called the sponsors' court filing "utterly baseless."

"Any county that defies the federal court's injunction is at risk not only of contempt of court but also a lawsuit" for damages, Olson said in a statement.

"Proponents' latest effort to stop loving couples from marrying in California is a baseless and frivolous act."