A Christian legal group wants California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to arrest the mayor of San Francisco for issuing nearly 2,000 marriage licenses to homosexual couples in defiance of state law.
The American Family Association Center for Law and Policy called Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to oversee the nation’s first officially sanctioned same-sex weddings Thursday “an arrogant stunt” proving “the radical homosexual movement will trample the rights of all who stand in their way.”
The AFA’s law center wrote Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Bill Lockyer Friday insisting the mayor not only violated civil law, but criminal law as well.
Schwarzenegger and other state officials have remained silent on the issue.
The letter cites California’s penal code Section 115, which “prohibits the knowing procurement of any false or forged instrument to be filed or recorded in any public office.”
The penalty for the felony, the letter notes, is up to three years in prison. The AFA says this means three years for each false certificate issued.
With the clerk’s office kept open over the weekend, more than 1,700 same-sex couples have been issued licenses since Thursday, when the city became the site of the first officially sanctioned “gay marriage” in American history.
Opponents of same-sex marriage are confident they will convince San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay to issue a temporary restraining order after a hearing this morning.
The motion filed on behalf of the pro-family lobby group Campaign for California Families by the public-interest firms Lively & Ackerman and Liberty Counsel presents an “irrefutable argument” that Newsom and Clerk Nancy Alfaro had no authority to redefine marriage in direct conflict with California law, asserted the group’s president and general counsel Mathew Staver.
“The rule of law will be restored in California,” Staver said. “The mayor and the clerk have no right to act as tyrants, ruling San Francisco as their personal dictatorship.”
The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund sought an emergency hearing Friday afternoon but was rejected for failing to give defendants the 24-hours notice required by law.
A hearing in ADF’s lawsuit also will be held today.
Newsom argues homosexuals should be able to marry based on the California Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. The 36-year-old mayor, who began his term Jan. 8, insists he merely is fulfilling his duty.
“I’m not interested as a mayor in moving forward with a separate but unequal process for people to engage in marriages,” Newsom said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “The people of this city and certainly around the state are feeling that separate but unequal doesn’t make sense.”
But the Alliance Defense Fund – representing state Sen. William Knight, author of a successful state ballot-measure that limited marriage to a man and a woman – argues the San Francisco County Clerk has no authority under the state’s constitution to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“This isn’t civil disobedience on the mayor’s part; its sheer unfettered anarchy and complete disdain for the rule of law,” ADF chief counsel Benjamin Bull said. “No mayor, not even the mayor of San Francisco, has the authority to defy the laws of the state in which they reside.”
The statutes under the family code specify marriage is reserved to a man and a woman, and Bull points out no court has declared that section to be unconstitutional.
“Officials charged with solemnizing marriages must enforce those statutes on constitutional grounds when issuing marriage licenses, regardless of what [Mayor] Newsom orders them to do,” said Bull.
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