San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who launched the battle over same-sex marriages in California
A legal battle sparked four years ago when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom arbitrarily issued same-sex marriage licenses has reached the California Supreme Court again.
Attorneys representing several parties with interest in the outcome argued for three hours over the issue of whether the state would allow, as Massachusetts did under the tenure of Gov. Mitt Romney, a “marriage” for same-sex duos.
Six different cases stemming from Newsom’s decision were consolidated on the appeal, and Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University’s School of Law, argued on behalf of traditional marriage.
Staver said the fundamental constitutional right to marry includes rights and obligations that cannot be eliminated, because they come from the inherent nature of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
“Marriage is more than a private relationship between two people who love each other,” he said. “While it is a private relationship, marriage serves a public purpose to preserve society’s interest in procreation and to provide the optimal environment for children.”
Staver said the state has an interest in protecting the institution of marriage, which predates government, in order to encourage responsible procreation among opposite-sex couples.
“Among opposite-sex couples, procreation is sometimes planned and sometimes unplanned. Children are thus the natural consequence of opposite-sex relationships. Providing for the next generation is essential to any society, but providing an environment that encourages stable relationships for the well-being of children is critically important,” he said. “Marriage thus provides encouragement for opposite-sex couples to unite for the sake of children. Same-sex couples do not need marriage to encourage their unions, because such relationships never produce unplanned children.”
When Newsom launched his activism for same-sex marriages, Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit on behalf of Campaign for Children and Families and its executive director Randy Thomasson.
The California Supreme Court eventually ruled 7-0 that the mayor lacked the authority to issue licenses to same-sex couples. But the court voted only 5-2 to overturn the licenses that already had been issued. Then several of those duos, as well as the city and county of San Francisco, filed a series of lawsuits challenging the state’s marriage laws.
After arguing the case, Staver told WND it’s always hard to predict the outcome, which is expected within about 90 days.
“I think it’s going to be a close decision, based on their questions. It is unclear which way it’s going to come down,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a very close decision.”
Staver said it would be a simple 7-0 decision if the court followed the plain meaning of the law. But “when you begin arguing same-sex marriage is permissible, objectivity and history are thrown into the wind.”
The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco previously affirmed the validity of Proposition 22, in which California voters in 2000 approved by a 2-1 margin a statewide ballot initiative defining marriage as involving only one man and one woman.
“Judges are not free to rewrite statutes to say what they would like, or what they believe to be better social policy,” Justice William McGuiness wrote at the time. “Courts simply do not have the authority to create new rights, especially when doing so involves the definition of so fundamental an institution as marriage.”
The ruling struck down a decision from Judge Richard Kramer, who said limiting marriage to a man and a woman was “irrational.” Kramer’s ruling came after several homosexual groups sued to challenge the state’s marriage limits.
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