- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2004

Traditional-values groups say they are relieved that judges and attorneys general in California, New Mexico, New Jersey and New York have ordered local officials to stop issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexual couples.

“Finally, law and order has returned to the Golden State to stop the phony-marriage nonsense beside the Golden Gate,” Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America, said after the California Supreme Court on Thursday ordered San Francisco to stop its same-sex “marriage” spree.

“Recent events in Boston, Oregon and California over the issuance of marriage licenses to homosexual couples make it very clear that the pro-family movement must pay close attention to the actions of elected officials and judges who openly violate the law,” said Rev. Lou Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.

Homosexual-rights groups said they were not disheartened.

“We are disappointed that for a time lesbian and gay couples will not be issued marriage licenses from the city and county of San Francisco,” said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

“However, we are confident” that courts eventually will decide that “excluding lesbian and gay couples from the benefits and obligations of legal marriage offends the promise of equality of the California Constitution,” she said.

Currently, only Oregon’s Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, is issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

On Friday, Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers issued a nonbinding opinion that said such “marriages” were illegal under current law. However, circuit court judges last week declined to order Multnomah County officials to stop issuing licenses, and instead asked them to return to court later this month to explain their actions.

About 2,000 homosexual couples have been issued licenses by Multnomah County so far.

More than 4,100 couples were “married” in San Francisco as of Thursday. Licenses also were issued in New Paltz, N.Y.; Sandoval County, N.M.; and Asbury Park, N.J., before authorities stepped in.

On March 29, Massachusetts lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene to take a final vote on a compromise amendment they passed preliminarily on Thursday.

The amendment defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and creates marriage-like civil unions for same-sex couples. When they reconvene, the lawmakers might finalize this amendment or vote on an altered version.

Also on March 29, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay is scheduled to hear arguments on the legality of San Francisco officials’ decision to “marry” same-sex couples.

California citizens groups have been trying since Feb. 12 to have the licenses blocked, saying that California family code and a 2000 voter-passed ballot initiative prohibit same-sex “marriage.”

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his allies say that the state constitution forbids them from discriminating on the basis of gender and that they were within their rights to start issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

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