- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2004

San Francisco officials yesterday filed suit against the state of California, saying that state laws outlawing same-sex “marriage” are unconstitutional and unenforceable.

The state constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said yesterday.

“The rights afforded by California’s constitution clearly trump laws restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples,” Mr. Herrera said.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, asks the court to declare unconstitutional two sections of the California Family Code that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and block the state from enforcing “discriminatory state provisions.”

One area of relief presumably is getting the 2,800 San Francisco same-sex “marriage” applications registered with the state.

Officials with California’s Health and Human Services agency said this week that they will not register or record “altered” applications.

San Francisco officials have been helping homosexual couples fill out the standard marriage form by manually scratching out the words “groom” and “bride,” and writing in “Applicant 1” and “Applicant 2,” or “spouses for life.”

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer yesterday said his office would defend California’s traditional marriage laws.

“[T]he people of California have spoken. State law prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriage,” he said.

However, “as a lifelong defender of civil rights, due process and equal protection for all,” he said, “I do not personally support policies that give lesser legal rights and responsibilities to committed same-sex couples than those provided to heterosexual couples.”

Therefore, the courts should determine whether San Francisco has acted illegally, he said.

The San Francisco lawsuit also asks to consolidate into its lawsuit two others filed by traditional-values groups, which are trying to get a judge to stop San Francisco officials from issuing “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples.

One of the groups — Campaign for California Families, represented by Liberty Counsel — is scheduled to appear this afternoon before Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay.

The other group — Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, represented by Alliance Defense Fund — appeared before Superior Court Judge James L. Warren this week.

Judge Warren asked San Francisco to “cease and desist” from issuing “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples but refused to order a stop to the “marriages” until he heard legal arguments March 29.

Benjamin Bull, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, said yesterday that the San Francisco lawsuit was a delaying tactic.

“This is as much a maneuver to keep this in court and keep the issue alive as it is anything else,” Mr. Bull said.

The Alliance Defense Fund also has filed a consolidation motion but asked that Judge Quidachay hear the case. San Francisco’s lawsuit against the state seeks to have all the cases consolidated under Judge Warren.

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