California Court Ruling a Plus for Traditional Marriage Advocates
by Allie Martin
July 2, 2004
(AgapePress) - A San Francisco judge has ruled that pro-family groups can defend the constitutionality of California's marriage laws.
On Monday, Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer decided to permit all current parties to the coordinated cases to take part in the briefing on the constitutionality of the state's marriage laws. Those cases involve two original actions filed earlier this year against Mayor Gavin Newsom and the city of San Francisco, along with three challenges by homosexual couples to marriage laws.
Among the groups that will now be allowed to participate in the briefing are the Campaign for California Families (CCF) and the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund. Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, which is representing CCF, says he and his client are "thrilled" that the court is handling the coordinated cases in this manner.
"Judge Kramer recognizes the benefit of hearing all sides of the marriage debate," Staver says, "not just those arguments advanced by the same-sex couples and the [California] Attorney General's office."
The attorney feels that Kramer's ruling makes it easier to argue for traditional marriage. "All of the different individuals and parties will be able to file briefs, and therefore there will be a full briefing and airing of all of the issues, which I think is actually good," he says.
"It's not good, I believe, in California to have these cases pending all over the state; I think it's good to have all of the matters presented. So that means we will be able to present our arguments in defense of California's marriage laws -- and that's what we're excited about."
Staver, who expects the constitutionality question to ultimately wind up before the California Supreme Court and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court, says the ruling is a big boost for pro-family attorneys. "We have to understand we're in California courts -- and anything, as we know, can happen out there," he says. "But the good news is that the marriage laws will have an opportunity to be fully briefed and fully defended in the California cases."
Still, Staver says it is vital that Congress pass a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Toward that end, several pro-family groups are sponsoring "Protect Marriage Sunday" and "Call Your Senators Day" on July 11 and 12, respectively. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to debate and vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment measure the week of July 12.
Oregon Churches Backing State Measure
Meanwhile, more than one-fourth of the signatures collected to place a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the Oregon ballot were gathered at churches. According to Associated Press, the Defense of Marriage Coalition turned in 244,000 signatures to state election officials -- more than twice the number needed.
An organizer of the Oregon petition drive says 65,000 of those signatures were gathered with the help of 941 churches statewide. He says the Defense of Marriage Coalition had more than 30,000 volunteers out in the field circulating petitions.