Proposition 8 backers on Friday tried one last legal maneuver to revive California's gay marriage ban, asking the state Supreme Court to halt the same-sex nuptials taking place across the state since the U.S. Supreme Court appeared to doom the law in a ruling last month.

Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based group behind Proposition 8, filed a petition with the state's high court, urging the justices to order county clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and abide by the 2008 voter-approved ban.

The group argues that the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, leaving issues yet to be resolved by the courts before same-sex marriages can resume.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera called it a "desperate obstruction tactic" that he would oppose in the state Supreme Court.

The court, in addition to deciding whether to accept the case, must also address an Proposition 8 supporters' emergency request to immediately halt marriage licenses while the legal challenge unfolds.

The Alliance's legal gambit appears to be a long shot. The U.S. Supreme Court and a federal appeals court already have rejected attempts to put a stop to the marriages, and the state Supreme Court would have to cut against those decisions.


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The U.S. Supreme Court in June found that Proposition 8 supporters never had the legal right to defend the law in lieu of the governor and attorney general, who consider it unconstitutional. As a result, the case returned to a federal judge's 2010 ruling striking down Proposition 8 because he found it violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples.

Proposition 8 backers maintain that ruling only applied to the two couples who sued to overturn the law, and it did not have statewide effect. But gay marriage advocates have succeeded in scrapping the law since the Supreme Court ruled, and thousands of couples throughout California have married.

Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236. Follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.