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  WINDY CITY TIMES

San Francisco News Updates
2004-02-18

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NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS

http://www.nclrights.org/index.htm

COMMUNITY UPDATE II:

SAN FRANCISCO MARRIAGE LITIGATION

Updated February 17, 2004 8 p.m. PST

PLEASE NOTE: Many press stories reporting on today's legal actions

contained inaccurate information. Specific corrections are noted below.

LAWSUIT #1: PROPOSITION 22 LEGAL DEFENSE FUND vs. CITY & COUNTY OF SAN

FRANCISCO

A hearing before Superior Court Judge James Warren was held in San

Francisco at 2 pm on Tuesday, February 17. Petitioners, the Proposition

22 Legal Defense Fund, filed an alternative writ of mandate, and requested

that San Francisco be ordered to stop issuing marriage licenses to

same-sex couples. Judge Warren granted the writ, but denied the request

for a stay. This means that the petitioners can continue to argue their

case - but it also means that they were unable to show that they would be

irreparably harmed if marriage licenses continue to be issued to same sex

couples. Therefore, San Francisco may continue to issue marriage licenses

to same-sex couples. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March

29, when the petitioners can once again argue for an injunction.

However, the judge has indicated that the issue of whether California's

Constitution requires equal protection for same-sex couples will be the

key issue in this case.

Several couples were granted the right to intervene in the case, and will

be represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American

Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal. Equality California will also

seek to intervene in the case on behalf of its members, board, and staff.

LAWSUIT #2: CAMPAIGN FOR CALIFORNIA FAMILIES vs. CITY & COUNTY OF SAN

FRANCISCO

Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families have also filed suit

against San Francisco and Mayor Gavin Newsom. An initial hearing was

scheduled this morning in San Francisco before Superior Court Judge Ronald

Quidachay. Because CCF did not provide proper notice to the City and

County of San Francisco, Judge Quidachay postponed the hearing on their

request for a preliminary injunction until Friday, February 20.

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

* Victory: Today's rulings were a SIGNIFICANT VICTORY for married

same-sex couples, and for same-sex couples who still wish to get married.

San Francisco can continue issuing marriage licenses, and the anti-gay

petitioners were unable to demonstrate that they are suffering irreparable

harm due to the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. No

marriage licenses were revoked.

* Key Issue: Although the anti-gay groups are arguing that San

Francisco's actions are prohibited by state laws, Judge Warren seems

likely to consider the key question underlying the marriage issue: does

denying same-sex couples the right to marry violate the California

Constitution?

* Marriage Means Marriage. Nearly 3000 same-sex couples have been married

in San Francisco since February 12. THESE MARRIAGES ARE NOT SYMBOLIC.

THEY ARE REAL MARRIAGES.

* Corrections: Despite statements to the contrary by the Proposition 22

lawyers and in some media stories, neither judge today indicated that the

plaintiffs were likely to prevail in this litigation. Press reports also

indicated that Judge Warren would have ruled for Prop 22 except for a

punctuation error - but in fact, the judge denied the request to stop the

issuance of marriage licenses because Prop 22 did not prove that it is

suffering harm as a result of the City's actions. Finally, one AP report

suggested that Judge Warren said that the marriages of same-sex couples

appear to be illegal - but this report is incorrect as the Judge did not

address this issue during today's hearing.


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