Court Rules Against California Ban on Gay Marriage
California joins the list of states where gay marriage has been enacted by judicial fiat rather than the democratic process.
A California Superior Court judge ruled on Monday that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling stemmed from litigation over San Francisco’s decision last year to allow gay marriage. Those weddings were ruled invalid by the California Supreme Court, but the top court asked a lower court to consider the broader issue. “We’re gratified by today’s ruling,” said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera. He added it was an important step toward establishing equal rights for gays in California.
A judge in California has ruled that the state’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said the state could no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
California reaches major marriage milestone (The Advocate)
A judge ruled Monday that California can no longer justify limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman, a legal milestone that, if upheld on appeal, would pave the way for the nation’s most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed.
In an opinion that had been awaited because of San Francisco’s historical role as a gay rights battleground, San Francisco County superior court judge Richard Kramer said that withholding marriage licenses from same-sex couples is unconstitutional. “It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners,” Kramer wrote.
The judge wrote that the state’s historical definition of marriage, by itself, cannot justify the unconstitutional denial of equal protection for gays and lesbians and their right to marry. “The state’s protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional,” Kramer wrote.
A judge ruled Monday that California can no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman, a legal milestone that if upheld on appeal would pave the way for the nationÃ¢€™s most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed. [….] Ã¢€œIt appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners,Ã¢€ Kramer wrote.
Meanwhile, a pair of bills pending before the California Legislature would put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the November ballot. If California voters follow the 13 other states that approved such amendments last year, that would put the issue out of the control of lawmakers and the courts
It’s a shame for this issue to become fodder for constitutional amendments, whether state or federal, as it will require supermajorities to overturn them should, as I believe inevitable, the public tide shift on the issue. Given that judges are overstepping their bounds and imposing their policy preferences, though, it appears the only recourse that the public has.
See also NYT
Update (1728): Christian News (via GoogleNews) entitles their piece California Judge Rules Against Ban on Gay “Marriage.” The scare quotes around “Marriage,” a practice also employed by the Washington Times, never fails to amuse me in its heavyhanded silliness.
Update (1748): Michael Demmons links a poorly scanned PDF of the opinion at FindLaw. He accuses me, along with Rusty Shackleford, of being “social conservatives.” I find this amusing, since I’ve repeatedly defended the idea of gay marriage on libertarian grounds. My belief that public policy should be made through legitimate processes simply trumps having my preferred outcome prevail.