Arnold: Terminate same-sex marriage
Arnold: Terminate same-sex marriage
Sat Feb 21 02:44:00 2004

Arnold: Terminate same-sex marriage
Orders immediate action by state AG to stop San Francisco's illegal licenses
Posted: February 21, 2004 12:07 a.m. Eastern

Shortly after a court plea by traditional-family defenders was rejected, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the state's attorney general to stop San Francisco's issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of state law.

Schwarzenegger sent a letter late yesterday to Attorney General Bill Lockyer ordering him "to take immediate steps" to have a court declare the city's actions illegal.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom oversaw the first officially sanctioned same-sex marriages in American history Feb. 12. Since then, more than 3,000 licenses have been issued to homosexual couples.

"Our civilized society and legal system is based upon a respect for and adherence to the rule of law," Schwarzenegger wrote. "The City and County of San Francisco's unfortunate choice to disregard state law and grant marriage certificates to gay couples directly undermines this fundamental guarantee."

As attorney general, the governor said, "you have the authority to take legal action to require the City and County of San Francisco to comply with the laws of the State."

Schwarzenegger's spokesman said the governor planned to refer to the recent events in San Francisco in his speech last night at the California Republican Party's convention.

Communications Director Rob Stutzman said the directive came after a judge gave same-sex couples in San Francisco another reprieve yesterday afternoon by rejecting a request by traditional-family defenders to immediately stop issuing the licenses.

Stutzman said, "You have, at this point, nearly two weeks of flouting of state law. The governor feels that we've come to a point where we're starting down a dangerous path and it leads to anarchy at some point. It's time for this to end."

San Francisco's defiance is inspiring imitators nationwide, prompting a traditional-family defender to sound an alarm declaring "anarchy is breaking loose across America."

In a New Mexico county yesterday, for example, 26 licenses were issued to same-sex couples, while in Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley advocated "gay" nuptials in the Windy City.

Those developments, and many more, followed the the Nov. 18 decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that homosexual couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution and should be allowed to apply for marriage licenses. The state's Legislature has been ordered to come up with a law that complies with the ruling by mid-May.

Yesterday, the Sacramento-based Campaign for California Families argued all Californians who voted in 2000 for Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, would be harmed by San Francisco's decision last week to issue the licenses.

Judge Ronald Quidachay granted an order that San Francisco "cease and desist" or return to court in March to show good cause why the "gay marriages" should not stop.

But he denied the request for a temporary restraining order because the family lobby group failed to prove irreparable harm would be done if the ceremonies continued.

The judge consolidated the lawsuit against the city with one filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, instructing lawyers for both sides to settle on a hearing date.

Campaign for California Families said while the licenses would continue to be issued, the judge recognized state law on marriage is being violated, which was the basis for his order to show cause.

In March, the city will have the burden of proof to show why its actions are not illegal.

Significantly, the group emphasized, Quidachay denied San Francisco's request to stop the case in light of the city's lawsuit filed Thursday against CCF and Liberty Counsel, claiming the "equal protection clause" requires homosexual "marriage."

"We obviously preferred that the judge would have stopped the city from issuing these illegal same-sex 'marriage' licenses," said Mathew Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, which represented Campaign for California Families. "He did not, but this case is far from over."

Quidachay seemed to indicate, however, the legal principle of "equal rights" gives credence to the city's argument.

"If the court has to weigh rights here, on the one hand you are talking about voting rights, and on the other you are talking about equal rights," Quidachay said, according to the Associated Press.

Yesterday, after the suit by San Francisco over state law, Schwarzenegger declared the licenses issued to same-sex couples by the city are illegal.

"The marriage certificates submitted to the Department of Health Services by the city and county of San Francisco fail to meet legal standards," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

But San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera argued after filing suit, "The rights afforded by California's Constitution clearly trump laws restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples."

The lawsuit asks the San Francisco County Superior Court to rule three sections of the California Family Code prohibiting same-sex marriage run counter to the state constitution.

The suit also targets Proposition 22, which was approved four years ago by 60 percent of state voters.

Herrera says both state laws violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender.

CCF and Liberty Counsel blasted the city's legal maneuver.

The lawsuit ''is without merit and reflects a spoiled-brat mentality of someone who doesn't like the rule of law,'' charged Thomasson.

Staver said: ''The city is engaging in blatant delay tactics. They're afraid to reach the merits of this case. That's why they're trying to derail our hearing Friday,'' according to Knight Ridder Newspapers.

Schwarzenegger said Attorney General Lockyer "has assured me that he will vigorously defend the constitutionality of the law."

As WorldNetDaily reported, a state official says California will not accept the licenses granted to homosexual couples because the city changed the language on the official applications to delete gender-specific terms.

"There is a statewide form that every county has to use for marriage applications," Nicole Kasabian Evans, a spokeswoman for California Health and Human Services, told Reuters.

"If we receive application forms that are different from the single form used throughout the state, we will not accept them."

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