- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 5, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A state appeals court yesterday upheld California’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, a third straight defeat for those who want courts to declare a right to “marry” someone of the same sex.

In reversing the March 2005 ruling of a San Francisco trial judge, the 1st District Court of Appeal agreed with the state’s attorney general, who argued that it is up to the Legislature, not the courts, to decide the definition of marriage.

“We conclude California’s historical definition of marriage does not deprive individuals of a vested fundamental right or discriminate against a suspect class,” the court said in a 2-1 decision. “The time may come when California chooses to expand the definition of marriage to encompass same-sex unions. That change must come from democratic processes, however, not by judicial fiat.”

The justices, in their 128-page opinion, noted that California’s ban on same-sex “marriage” does not discriminate against homosexuals because of the state’s strong domestic partner law, which gives registered couples most of the same rights as spouses have in California.

Opponents of homosexual “marriage” praised the decision.

“This is a victory for the right of the people of California to make fundamental policy decisions through democratic processes,” said Monte N. Stewart, president of the Marriage Law Foundation. “It is also a victory for society’s most consequential social institution, and that is marriage.”

Pro-homosexual advocates had said they would appeal to the California Supreme Court if the intermediate court did not decide in their favor.

“Though we are disappointed, we always knew this issue was going to be decided by the California Supreme Court,” said Molly McKay, a spokeswoman for Marriage Equality USA. “We believe that the California Supreme Court will enforce the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law and strike down the discriminatory barriers denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage.”

In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to perform same-sex “marriages” after homosexual couples in that state successfully sued. In the aftermath of that ruling, 19 states passed constitutional amendments against homosexual “marriage.” An additional 26 have statues defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Connecticut and Vermont have civil union laws open to same-sex couples.

Advocates of homosexual “marriage” had seen California as one of their best chances to expand marriage rights after recent high court rulings in New York and Washington state upheld bans in those states.

The case arose out of the 2004 homosexual “marriage” spree that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ignited when he instructed city officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Hundreds of couples flocked to City Hall to marry, but the state Supreme Court invalidated the licenses.

“This is a disappointing second round in what we’ve always known is a three-round fight,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera said of yesterday’s ruling.

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