There must be a law enabling same-sex marriage in California for it to be okay, ruled the First District Court of Appeal today in San Francisco.
The case was the appeal of a March 2005 San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer's ruling that the ban violated the equal treatment laws and regulation. Instead, today's 2-1 decision was, "We conclude California's definiton of marriage does not deprive individuals of a vested fundamental right or disriminate against a supect class."
This parallels the very odd Washington State ruling that rejected a large body of evidence on homosexuals as a legaly supect class worthy of protection.
As other timid (very clearly not activist) courts have ruled in New York and elsewhere, these three judges want the legislature to take the blame. As the ruling puts it, "The time may come when California chooses to expand the definition of marriage to encompass same-sex unions. That change must come from democratic processes, however, not by judicial fiat."
We'll track down the 128-page opinion and digest it.
Predictably, Marriage Equality USA promises to take it upstream. "We believe that the California Supreme Court will enforce the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law and strike down the discriminatory barriers denying same-sex couples access to civil marriage," said Spokeswoman Molly McKay.
The city of San Francisco will appeal, said City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
Dissenting Justice J. Anthony Kline claimed the ban violates both personal privacy rights and automony. He compared with interracial marriage bans, struck down by the state's high court 58 years ago. That set off a national debate and series of marraige equality laws and decisions.
He found that a DOMA definition of marriage excludes a class by sexual orientation. He wrote that it "demeans the institution of marriage and diminishes the humanity of the gay men and lesbians who wish to marry a loved one of their choice."
Tags: massmarrier, same sex marriage, California