Gay Marriage continues in San Francisco

There have been three lawsuits challenging the legality of the more than 2,500 gay marriages that continue on in San Francisco. Conservatives have been trying to destroy the couples marriages by filing these lawsuits. If there is a threat to marriage, the conservatives have just proven that it is them.

Almost three thousand couples married, and the world has not come to an end, though I’m sure that Pat Robertson and the like are praying for California to slip off into the Pacific.

If you want to see some wonderful pictures of this wonderful event, please visit http://www.authenti-city.com/Conservative suits fail to halt gay weddings
By Adriel Hampton and Alison Soltau Staff Writers
Published on Wednesday, February 18, 2004
URL: http://www.examiner.com/article/index.cfm/i/021804n_suits
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City officials continued their defiance of state law and will issue more than 150 same-sex marriage licenses today after beating back two lawsuits seeking an immediate halt to gay and lesbian weddings.

“Three court hearings and we’re still moving forward,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said. “Business as usual at City Hall.”

A conservative lobby will today petition the First District Court of Appeals to stop a determined Newsom from continuing to grant same-sex marriage licenses.

The latest legal salvo comes after Superior Court Judge James Warren declined to immediately shut down the licensing of same-sex couples. Hundreds continued to flock to City Hall each day in hopes of exchanging vows.

Warren issued an alternative writ of mandate, which told The City to either cease and desist issuing the marriage licenses or continue to issue the licenses and return to court on March 29 to explain the merits of doing so.

Outside court, in an ensuing war of rhetoric, both sides claimed victory.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he was “grateful” the judge had not granted a stay.

“We will be making up arguments on the merits as to why Mayor Newsom and the City and County of San Francisco is perfectly justified and within the rights of the law to order marriage licenses be issued to same-sex couples,” Herrera said.

Members of the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, the group leading the legal charge against The City’s week-old policy of honoring marriage applications submitted by same-sex couples, said they were confident Warren would find in the conservative lobby’s favor on March 29.

The group argues that the same-sex unions violated state law and Proposition 22, which was passed by voters in 2002 and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The City maintains the state law violates the equal protection clause under the state constitution.

Newsom said whatever happens in court, full legal marriage for same-sex couples is the “inevitable” path. “We’ll march down that path until we are forced to stop,” he said.

Though state officials aren’t backing The City’s move to legalize gay marriage, the newly elected mayor said the licenses would carry the full force of law “once we prevail.”

As legal arguments continued on throughout the day, officials and a handful of volunteers processed and recorded 172 same-sex marriages on Tuesday, bringing the total since the civil disobedience began on Thursday to more than 2,400.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a brief statement in support of Prop. 22, a move that Newsom said did not surprise him.

“Californians spoke on the issue of same-sex marriage when they overwhelmingly approved California’s law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman,” Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement. “I support that law and encourage San Francisco officials to obey that law. The courts should act quickly to resolve this matter.”

San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Mabel Teng said the office’s deputies were answering questions for recorders in surrounding counties about the specifics of how they were processing the licenses for same-sex couples. Newsom said he has not yet heard from others mayors interested in following The City’s lead, but is expecting calls.

“We’ll get those calls, but not right now,” he said.

In court, Prop. 22 attorney Robert Tyler questioned whether a mayor had the authority to overturn a state law on the grounds that it violated the constitution. He suggested that the city has bought itself an expensive and ill-advised legal battle, and that his firm would seek punitive damages and legal fees.

He argued that issuing the licenses caused “confusion and injury” to insurance companies and employers who would not know whether to grant the couples marital benefits.

Warren said he had read the voluminous briefs submitted to him, and had done his own research, reviewing all the relevant statutes. Before acting on the conservative group’s request, however, he said the lawyers would have to resolve a punctuation error — a semicolon where the word “or” should have been.

“I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal. … That semicolon is a big deal,” Warren told the lawyers.

The attorneys then spent hours arguing about punctuation and court procedures before the judge issued his own order.

Earlier Tuesday, Judge Ronald Quidachay ruled that a second conservative lobby, the Campaign for California Families, had not given sufficient notice to seek an injunction against the licenses. The CCF was told to come back Friday for that injunction hearing.

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