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Related Categories: San Francisco | LGBTI / Queer
Judge Lets Same-Sex San Francisco Marriages Go On
by sources
Friday Feb 20th, 2004 2:10 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A San Francisco judge on Friday denied a request by a conservative family values group to stop the thousands of same-sex weddings that have taken place in the city since Mayor Gavin Newsom lifted a ban on gay marriages last week.

It was the second time in a week that a State Superior Court judge had denied a request to issue a temporary restraining order that would stop the weddings until the issues could be resolved at a further hearing or trial.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay denied the request on the grounds that the conservative family values group, the Campaign for California Families, had not presented evidence showing that irreparable harm would be caused by allowing the weddings to continue.

The group argued that since state law does not recognize same sex marriages the weddings were a waste of taxpayer money and were deliberately violating a law passed by California voters in 2000 declaring that marriage could only be between a man and woman.

Judge Quidachay ordered that another case challenging Newsom's decision be consolidated with the case he is hearing and he set March 29 as the date for the next hearing.

While the lawyers argued, the marriages continued inside City Hall, just across the street from the courthouse. Four musicians serenaded newlyweds as they left the building, and about a dozen protesters carrying signs that read "Trust Jesus" and "Prepare to meet that God" milled about outside the elegant copper-domed civic building.

Meanwhile, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said the state would oppose Newsom's actions, which conflict with Proposition 22, the state ballot initiative restricting marriage to members of the opposite sex. More than 3,000 same-sex couples have been married since Newsom decided last week to defy state law and make his city the first in the nation to marry gay and lesbian couples.

"The people of California spoke on the issue of same-sex marriage when Proposition 22 was overwhelmingly passed in 2000," Gov. Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "I will abide by the oath I took when I was sworn in to uphold California's laws."

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, said California Attorney General Bill Lockyer assured him that he will "vigorously defend the constitutionality of the law in the case brought against the state by San Francisco."

City lawyers on Thursday asked the Superior Court to strike down state laws that limit marriages to a man and a woman, saying they violate equal rights and equal protection clauses of the state constitution.

San Francisco's same-sex marriages have been criticized by President Bush, who some legal analysts believe is moving closer to endorsing a constitutional ban on gay and lesbian marriage as a result of the city's actions.;jsessionid=5LGV5Q2NK5CNGCRBAE0CFEY?type=topNews&storyID=4406775

(San Francisco, California) As marriage licenses continue being issued to same-sex couples in San Francisco lawyers for both sides are back in court wrangling over how to proceed with lawsuits brought by two conservative groups opposed to gay marriage.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay is hearing a second application by conservative groups for an injunction to stop same-sex marriages.

The court will also hear an application by lawyers for the city and for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU to have the suit merged with one already before Judge James Warren.

Warren is the first judge to hear from the religious right on the issue of same-sex marriage last week.

The pro-gay marriage lawyers argue that the cases should be merged to prevent a duplication that could result in inconsistencies in the rulings.

Earlier today, Judge Warren declined to rule on a similar application to have both cases heard together saying he wanted to wait until the issue went before Judge Quidachay this afternoon.

Yesterday the City of San Francisco filed suit against the State of California and the two conservative groups, the Campaign for California Families and the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, arguing that a state ban on same-sex marriage violates the state constitution. (story) A ruling on this issue is not expected today.

California's two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, both San Francisco Democrats, expressed opposition to the city's stand, angering gays in the state, who until today have been staunch supporters of the two.

"If the mayor believes that law is unconstitutional, the place to go is the court,'' Feinstein said. ``I believe this makes the national situation much more complicated and gives ammunition to those who are pushing for a constitutional amendment.''

Nevertheless, at city hall the marriages continued.

About 25 anti-gay protesters briefly blocked the door of the county clerk's office, lying down in front of the line and singing religious songs. Gays and lesbians responded by belting out ``The Star-Spangled Banner'' until sheriff's deputies escorted the protesters out. No arrests were made.

©® 2004
§Legal victory for US gay couples
by bbc Friday Feb 20th, 2004 6:23 PM
A judge in San Francisco has refused an appeal by conservative groups to call an immediate halt to the city's same-sex marriages.
The matter will return to court next month - and in the meantime officials say they will continue granting marriage licences to gay couples.

Nearly 3,000 gay couples have married since the city began issuing licences on 12 February.

Conservative family values groups want those unions to be declared invalid.

It is the second time in a week that a judge has denied a move to halt the same-sex marriages, pending a further hearing.

In the latest case, the conservative group Campaign for California Families had attempted to persuade the judge that issuing licences to gay and lesbian couples was a waste of taxpayers' money and likely to cause harm.

But that argument was rejected.

"You have not made a showing of irreparable harm," Judge Ronald Quidachay said.

He scheduled a hearing for 29 March, the same day that was set earlier this week in a separate suit filed by another conservative group, the Alliance Defense Fund.

New Mexico marriages

In a further twist, San Francisco is suing the state of California, claiming laws that bar same-sex marriages are discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Mayor Gavin Newsom says state laws defining marriage as being between a man and a woman are against the equal rights provisions set out in California's constitution.

Californians voted against gay and lesbian marriages under Proposition 22 in 2000, which says marriage is limited to one man and one woman.

In New Mexico, a county clerk issued marriage licences to at least 15 couples on Friday.

Victoria Dunlap said she made the decision after the county attorney said state law did not explicitly ban same-sex marriage.

"This has nothing to do with politics or morals," the Sandoval county clerk told the Associated Press news agency.

"If there are no legal grounds that say this should be prohibited, I can't withhold it. This office won't say no until shown it's not permissible."

'Historic moment'

Gay men and lesbians have travelled from across the US to get married in San Francisco.

The BBC's David Willis in San Francisco says some regard what is happening in the city as a landmark moment in the struggle for gay rights and have likened it to the campaign against racial segregation in America.

The legal status of gay marriages is being contested elsewhere.

In Massachusetts, a court recently said it was "unconstitutional" to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

But before the first legal weddings can happen there, attempts to block them through amending the constitution are expected.

Opponents of gay marriage include President George W Bush and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"I strongly believe that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman," Mr Bush said on Thursday.
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I agree...X.C.Monday Jan 24th, 2005 7:56 AM
Business OwnerJeanie GarlinMonday Mar 8th, 2004 5:20 PM
Small Business OwnerJoel AguannoSunday Feb 29th, 2004 3:52 PM
Thanks, GovRuthSunday Feb 22nd, 2004 1:25 PM
SchwarzeneggeracqualisciaSaturday Feb 21st, 2004 1:48 AM
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