COMMENTARY: San Diego County Clerk is out and proud - as a homophobe

San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg outed himself Friday for all the world to see that he is a flaming homophobe.

The 69-year-old Dronenburg teamed up with noted anti-gay attorney Charles LiMandri from Rancho Santa Fe to petition the California Supreme Court to halt same-gender marriages because they believe that Proposition 8 is the law.

LiMandri, who was a prominent supporter of the discriminatory Prop 8 that took away same-gender marriage rights from Californians from 2008 until last month, is known to take any case that involves denying equality to LGBT Americans. On the Human Right Campaign’s NOM Exposed blog, LiMandri is called NOM’s nakedly hostile Founding Father.

NOM Exposed writes:

• Limandri refers to gay family members by saying he loves them but can't support "their destructive lifestyle"

• He positions gay men as innately non-monogamous and describes our relations as "pathologic," "deviant," and "perverse"

• LiMandri warns of a "potential civil war in this country by imposing same-sex marriage on this nation"

• He denies that there is any genetic basis to homosexuality, instead using the "ex-gay" community's beloved theories about fractured relationships with same-gender parents leading to gayness

Readers of SDGLN will recall that LiMandri, as a trustee at the University of San Diego, had a fit when USD’s PRIDE organization decided to host a drag show on campus and created a website in which he accused USD of selling out to the “homosexual agenda.” LiMandri was also the attorney who defended Carrie Prejean, the homophobic Miss California pageant queen.

The fact that Dronenburg has cozied up to a prominent homophobe like LiMandri reveals a lot about the County Clerk’s motives in the case. Dronenburg is not truly “seeking clarity” about whether the district court ruling, which declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, applied only to the four couples who sued for marriage rights or only to the two counties involved: Alameda and Los Angeles. No, in truth, Dronenburg and LiMandri want to take marriage rights away for every gay and lesbian couple in California who want to wed.

Dronenburg has violated his oath to represent all people in the County of San Diego. He apparently only wants to represent the minority of San Diegans who oppose marriage equality, which puts him at odds with a majority of the residents of this county and indeed the entire state. And Dronenburg took this action without consulting the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and that did not sit kindly with Greg Cox, the board’s chairman. Cox quickly issued a statement:

"The County Clerk has acted independently on this matter. No one else from the County was consulted or had any part of this court action, including the Board of Supervisors. The County's position is and always has been that we, the County, will follow applicable law with regards to same sex marriage."

AG Kamala D. Harris also rebuked Dronenburg.

"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."

This filing may also explain why the San Diego County Clerk dragged his feet for days before the County began to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Weddings began on June 28 in many counties across California, but San Diego County waited until July 1.

Furthermore, Dronenburg seems to be in denial on a number of points.

• He thinks Prop 8 is still the law, even though the U.S. Supreme Court said Prop 8 supporters had no legal standing to contest District Judge Vaughn Walker’s historic ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

• He doesn’t think that he answers to state health-department officials who have legal authority over rules regarding the issuance of marriage licenses. He thinks he is autonomous and can decide for himself whether the County he represents should follow the rules of the state.

• He pretends in the petition, no doubt at the bidding of his homophobia attorney LiMandri, that he is “caught in the crossfire of a legal struggle over the definition of marriage” when in fact he IS the problem. Dronenburg is disobeying orders from the state, from Gov. Jerry Brown and from state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

In reality, Dronenburg is derelict of his duties, he is failing to serve all San Diegans he was elected to represent, and he deserves punishment at the ballot box should he choose to stand for re-election.

Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.

P.S. San Diegans are already angry at the County Clerk and have formed this Facebook page: Recall San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg Jr..

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