- The Washington Times - Friday, March 12, 2004

California’s high court yesterday ended San Francisco’s monthlong wedding party when it ordered city officials to stop issuing “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom must “refrain from issuing marriage licenses or certificates not authorized” by California marriage laws, the California Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling.

Almost 4,200 marriage licenses have been issued in San Francisco since Feb. 12.

The seven justices said their ruling did not address the legality of such homosexual “marriages,” and said they would hear the arguments in May or June on lawsuits brought by the state and by pro-family groups against San Francisco’s issuing the licenses.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, lawmakers preliminarily passed a state constitutional amendment that says marriage is the union of a man and a woman and creates a civil-union system for same-sex couples.

The amendment passed 129-69, far more than the 101 votes needed. It was supported by Senate President Robert Travaglini and House Speaker Thomas Finneran, both Democrats.

The amendment also won a second preliminary vote, but advocates of homosexual “marriage” were conducting procedural maneuvers to derail the proposal late last night.

Conservative groups oppose the current amendment because it creates civil unions. Homosexual rights groups oppose any amendment because the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court already has granted them full marriage rights as of May 17, and they do not want to settle for civil unions.

In Oregon yesterday, a state circuit court ordered officials from the state’s largest county to stop issuing “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples or explain their actions at a court date to be determined today.

Multnomah County officials said they would continue to issue licenses. The county, which includes Portland, has issued more than 1,700 licenses already.

President Bush yesterday reiterated his support for a federal marriage amendment.

“I will defend the sanctity of marriage against activist courts and local officials who want to redefine marriage. The union of a man and woman is the most enduring human institution,” Mr. Bush said via satellite at the National Association of Evangelicals’ convention in Colorado.

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and presumed presidential nominee, supports civil unions but not same-sex “marriage.” He has denounced Mr. Bush’s stance as divisive and unnecessary.

In California, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who filed a lawsuit two weeks ago with the high court, said yesterday he was “gratified” that the court “granted our request to quickly resolve this issue.”

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