California Supreme Court Receives Same-Sex Marriage Briefs

On Monday, legal briefs challenging California’s ban on same-sex marriage were presented by the city and county of San Francisco, 15 same-sex couples, Equality California, and Our Family Coalition (represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU) to the state’s Supreme Court. Opponents must file their briefs by June 1st, according to the Contra Costa Times:


“Once all the briefs are filed, the state’s highest court will schedule oral arguments on whether state law’s same-sex marriage ban violates gays’ and lesbians’ rights to equal protection under the law by discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation; their personal-autonomy rights under the state constitution’s privacy clause; or a fundamental right to marry protected by the state constitution.”

In December, the Supreme Court agreed to hear six consolidated cases stemming from decisions in March and October 2005:

“San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer in March 2005 ruled the statutory same-sex marriage ban serves no rational purpose and unconstitutionally denies same-sex couples equal protection. But the state Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 ruling issued Oct. 5, concluded the ban doesn’t violate anyone’s constitutional rights and marriage’s definition is best left to the people and lawmakers rather than courts. “

The new briefs argue that the Court of Appeals erred by framing the question wrong:

“By defining the right with reference to the group excluded from exercising it, the majority ran afoul of both United States and California Supreme Court precedent,” the brief claims. “Past courts have not treated marriage claims by interracial couples as involving the right to ‘mixed race marriage,’ by a prisoner as the right to ‘prisoner marriage,’ or by a parent delinquent on child support as ‘deadbeat parent marriage.'”

Gay marriage debate reaches state high court [contra costa times]
San Francisco officials challenge gay marriage ban [san jose mercury news]
Marriage law battle goes to high court [sf chronicle]


  1. Stephen says

    The right for same sex long term couples to enjoy virtually the same benefits that heterosexual, married couples possess is a goal that I will always support.

    In conjunction with that whole-hearted support, I will continue to orate that no one can put a square peg in a round hole.
    Marriage is between a male and a female.

    Civil unions bridge the gap of inequality vis-a-vis benefits to same sex couples.

    If gays & lesbians simply drop the name game, their chances of gaining these privileges increase exponentially.

  2. FizziekruntNT says

    Stephen, it is precisely your brand of semantic word-smithery that causes the any minority group the most grief of all. Historically, marriage really has been a property rights issue, not a love issue. The only feasible way to bring about true equality would be to utterly strike “marriage” as a term from lawbooks unless specifically referencing religious statutes…in which case, would continue to violate separation of church and state laws. The history of marriage as a religious institution is, in my opinion, garbage, and only a recent phenomenon that is now used as a means for discrimination and a platform of hate.

    Your bridge falls short of reaching the other side to equality and your suggested strategy is a means for delaying what should be a rightful legal position for all, not just the LGBT “community”.

    The final quoted brief above is exactly the kind of logic that must be used at all times in order to prevent such oddly dichotomous black and white, yet sweeping generalizations as “marriage is between a male and a female” to remain acceptable.

  3. Stephen says

    Most supporters of same-sex ‘marriage’ become ostriches (sticking their collective heads in the sand)regarding the difference between a same sex(ual) relation and a heterosexual relation , i.e., the ability to bring forth a new life, and continue to shout for equality. They do not acknowledge the difference, typically saying, “Oh, that’s what the religious people use to make their point.” Though I believe religion is warranted on this issue, the distinction of male & female and what that has the ABILITY to encompass, IS different than that of a same sex union and stands on its own merit, sans religion.

  4. says

    Is marriage a religious institution?

    I feel at times I am the only gay person that is not satisfied by the term “civil union”. To me it feels like a consolation prize given as a means of pacifying gays. Throw them a few crumbs as their used to and they’ll shut up. Truthfully, I hope that we gay men and woman will not stop at gay unions and go after what we deserve, gay marriage. I am saddened but not surprised that many gays are willing to accept second class citizenship after all it is what we are accustomed to. Our entire gay civil rights movement that is being courageously fought by a very few, has been about equal rights, not just some rights. This of course means marriage as well.
    We should not be satisfied by civil unions. Unions are not equal. It’s unfortunate that this have become political as did the civil rights movement back in the 60’s. Even the politicians that are privately in favor of gay marriage are afraid to speak openly about it, with the exception of a few impassioned politicians that have a strong sense of integrity and a clear view of what is right and wrong.

    We cannot look to the bible for any answers regarding equal rights. Those laws were written at a different time and for an ancient culture. It may surprise many to know that gay marriages were widely accepted by the Romans and the Greeks. We also must understand that many of the ancients were a very superstitious people that made many of their laws in regards to those superstitions. We therefore cannot be influenced by scripture. The many books within the bible vastly contradict themselves on many subjects. Which ones should we believe? Many religious institutions have the belief that sexual relations is solely for the purpose of procreation. This is an affront to childless marriages. Are they any less valid? Should they not have sexual relations even though they know it will not produce children? I wonder why God would make sexuality so very pleasurable if it were only for procreation. It wouldn’t need to be enjoyable. The mechanics of sexuality would be all that is necessary. Beside don’t we live in a country that has a law about separation between church and state?

    Somebody please help me understand why marriage by many is considered a religious institution. For the sake of discussion I would like someone to tell me why atheists are then eligible for marriage? It seems to me that heterosexual marriages are afforded just about any opportunity and environment they choose to take their vows. Even those damned heathens.

    Straight men and woman can choose a church marriage; they can get married underwater, on a mountaintop, by a justice of the peace or even by a ship captain. However, the most romantic and holy place I can imagine to pledge ones vows of love and fidelity, is driving through a drive-in chapel in Las Vegas, as one would order a family meal. Don’t get me wrong. I do love happy meals. The best part is, no one even has to bother to get out of the car. How can one compete with that kind of service? I’ve heard that they even change your oil, but that may be just hearsay.

    Has it dawned on anyone that the constitution of the United States says very clearly that all people shall be treated as equal? There are no clauses added to that, such as, except gays. What was stated in that document then still rings very clear yet today and likely for many years to come. We don’t have to look too awfully far back into our history to find examples of how we ignored the constitution for selfish heterosexual Anglo-Saxon citizens so we could still own people. It wasn’t until the early part of the nineteenth century before woman were allowed to vote. Not so long before that, slavery was legal. It wasn’t until nearly fifty years ago that African Americans weren’t allowed to marry whites. If we are to learn anything from our nation’s history, we should then know that whenever we veer off from what that beautifully crafted document for whatever convenient reason, it is eventually overturned and changed for reasons of being fairer. I have still yet to hear a valid reason how gay marriage could negatively impact modern society. I’ve heard that if gays were allowed to marry it would have the potential of destroying traditional marriage. We only have to look at the statistics of the success of “traditional marriages to discover that more than half end up in divorce. Gays did not cause that. Fidelity within marriage has a terrible track record as well. Therefore I would truly like to hear some reasonable argument posed that would make sense why gay marriage ought not be allowed. Thank you, Aaron Jason Silver; Fennville, Mi 49408 for more information on issues within gay culture please read; “why gay men do what they do”, an inside look at gay culture

  5. FizziekruntNT says

    Stephen, I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say other than, if I were to take your response offensively, perhaps you are of the opinion that gays and lesbians are effectively rendered eunuchs by the mere religious supposition that marriage is only for procreators of a single type.

  6. Stephen says

    I am not saying gays are eunuchs. That would mean they have no ability to pro-create, as their testicles (and possibly more)would have been removed. Additionally, the term applies strictly to males.

    I AM saying that marriage brings together a man and a woman who will always have the ABILITY (barring health problems) to bring forth new life in a sexual union. Two people of the same sex, sans any artificial means, cannot accomplish this.

    Hence, the difference in calling the joining of a man and a woman ‘marriage’.

    I am not being offensive here. That is not my purpose, never was. I am simply making the distinction as to why two people of the same sex do not marry.

  7. Leland says

    Stephen, your persistence with this irrelevant angle shows that you are simply retarded. BTW, I’ve always wondered: what do you guys serve at the monthly Flat Earth Society meetings?

  8. Daniel says

    I agree with Stephen and think that all heterosexuals who cannot bear children either because of age or because they are infertile should not be allowed to get married. I also think that all marriages that do not result in childbirth (and no adoptions or surrogates) within 2 years should be dissolved. If marriage is only for procreation this is only fair.

  9. Stephen says

    Despite the assumed snide remark by Daniel, the distinction of a man and a woman’s sexual relation, sans any contraception, infertility or any other means that would prevent it, will always result in a newborn. That can never be acheived with a same sex couple. That, is the essence of marriage. Hence, (once again) the inherent DIFFERENCE in the relationships. Difference is not necessarily bad and this is a penultimate ‘case in point.’

    Same sex couples need to cease playing the name game and recognize they ARE different but that it’s not a bad thing. Civil unions bridge the gap and will afford same sex couples the benefits of their married counterparts.

  10. Daniel says

    Stephen, you can continue to twist in the wind as much as you want. If marriage is for the express purpose of giving birth then those who cannot do so should not be allowed to join in the process.

    The truth is that propogation is just one aspect of marriage. The government has decided to allow many rights between couples who marry that have nothing to do with children. If the government got completely out of the “marriage” business and only had civil unions I would be fine with that. Let marriage be an entirely religious entity. Of course that would mean gays would be allowed to marry if the churches they belonged to allowed it–again–that would be fine with me.

  11. says

    Amid all this seriousness (Stephen, you are being seriously stoopid), the third-grader that lives in my heart would like to point out the words “briefs” and “oral” in this story.