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The 7 - Current Events & Politics - SF Judge Rules CA Same-Sex Marriage License Withholding Unconstitutional Register and log in to post!
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CRZ
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#1 Posted on 14.3.05 1436.28
Reposted on: 14.3.12 1438.03
http://www2.cbs5.com/topstories/local_story_073145952.html

    Originally posted by the AP
    A judge ruled Monday that California can no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman, a legal milestone that if upheld on appeal would pave the way for the nation's most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed.

    In an opinion that had been awaited because of San Francisco's historical role as a gay rights battleground, San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said that withholding marriage licenses from gays and lesbians is unconstitutional.

    "It appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners," Kramer wrote.

    The judge wrote that the state's historical definition of marriage, by itself, cannot justify the unconstitutional denial of equal protection for gays and lesbians and their right to marry.

    "The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional," Kramer wrote.

    Kramer's decision came in a pair of lawsuits seeking to overturn California's statutory ban on gay marriage. They were brought by the city of San Francisco and a dozen same-sex couples last March, after the California Supreme Court halted the four-week marriage spree Mayor Gavin Newsom had initiated when he directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians in defiance of state law.

    It could be months or years, however, before the state actually sanctions same-sex marriage, if it sanctions the unions at all. Two legal groups representing religious conservatives joined with California's attorney general in defending the existing laws.

    Robert Tyler, an attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, said the group would appeal Kramer's ruling.

    Attorney General Bill Lockyer has said in the past that he expected the matter eventually would have to be settled by the California Supreme Court.

    Meanwhile, a pair of bills pending before the California Legislature would put a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the November ballot. If California voters follow the 13 other states that approved such amendments last year, that would put the issue out of the control of lawmakers and the courts.

    Nevertheless, the plaintiffs and their lawyers said Kramer's ruling was a milestone for California, akin to the 1948 state Supreme Court decision that made California the first state in the nation to legalize interracial marriage.

    The decision is the latest development in a national debate on the legality and morality of same-sex marriage that has been raging since 2003, when the highest court in Massachusetts decided that denying gay couples the right to wed was unconstitutional in that state.

    In the wake of the Massachusetts ruling, gay rights advocates filed lawsuits seeking to strike down traditional marriage laws in several other states, and opponents responded by proposing state and federal constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.

    Kramer is the fourth trial court judge in recent months to decide that the right to marry and its attendant benefits must be extended to same-sex couples. Two Washington state judges, ruling last summer in separate cases, held that prohibiting same-sex marriage violates that state's constitution, and on Feb. 4, a judge in Manhattan ruled in favor of five gay couples who had been denied marriage licenses by New York City. That ruling applies only in the city but could extend statewide if upheld on appeal. Similar cases are pending in trial courts in Connecticut and Maryland.

    Just as many judges have gone the other way in recent months, however, refusing to accept the argument that keeping gays and lesbians from marrying violates their civil rights. A New Jersey judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by seven gay couples fighting to have their unions legally recognized. Most recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals in January upheld that state's gay marriage ban.

    All the cases are on appeal.
Now I know better by even posting this here, but let's see if any/how many posts we can get before I feel compelled to close the thread. ;-)
Promote this thread!
spf
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#2 Posted on 14.3.05 1515.25
Reposted on: 14.3.12 1515.56
I find this interesting because in many ways this seems the ultimate test on whether any place in this country would be willing to accept by majority rule the notion of gay marriage. If such an amendment passes in California, the place historically seen as the social laboratory of the nation, then I think it is safe to presume the issue as one which no one can honestly claim any sort of popular support for. The other defeats can be brushed off as being in places known to be somewhat the opposite of progressive politically. If it falls in CA, the issue is over.

As a Democrat, for purely pragmatic political reasons, I hope such an amendment passes. This issue is an incredibly powerful wedge issue for the GOP, and if we can get this out of the discourse for a while it will allow the Dems to refocus on issues they can gain more traction on, instead of somehow being labeled as the "gay marriage" party.
CubsWoo
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#3 Posted on 14.3.05 1527.31
Reposted on: 14.3.12 1529.01
I think both parties are becoming increasingly more interested in getting their legislation done on the bench instead of through more conventional means. Someone will find a higher court judge with a different ideology and throw this ruling out, and then we're back to square one.
vonLampertheim
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#4 Posted on 14.3.05 1830.40
Reposted on: 14.3.12 1831.22
Expect one of California's infamous "ballot initiatives" on th subject shortly to try and take this issue out of the courts.
Dahak
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#5 Posted on 14.3.05 2241.24
Reposted on: 14.3.12 2241.34
    Originally posted by spf
    I find this interesting because in many ways this seems the ultimate test on whether any place in this country would be willing to accept by majority rule the notion of gay marriage. If such an amendment passes in California, the place historically seen as the social laboratory of the nation, then I think it is safe to presume the issue as one which no one can honestly claim any sort of popular support for. The other defeats can be brushed off as being in places known to be somewhat the opposite of progressive politically. If it falls in CA, the issue is over.

    As a Democrat, for purely pragmatic political reasons, I hope such an amendment passes. This issue is an incredibly powerful wedge issue for the GOP, and if we can get this out of the discourse for a while it will allow the Dems to refocus on issues they can gain more traction on, instead of somehow being labeled as the "gay marriage" party.


It was turned down here in Oregon which is a fairly liberal state. Honestly I don't care if gays can marry (let them have the fun of getting divorced too).
However the Democrats need to be careful with this. Keep the dumbass celebrities from making moronic comments that hurt the DNC. Don't make this into a DNC vs. GOP. If the Republicans are dumb enough to do that then burn them on it. Otherwise they should just stay out of it.
Like most people when the courts proclaims something it seems like it's being forced on me. If the people vote for it even if I hate it then it's just a stupid law. Even when elected officials (which judges really aren't) vote on it then I can live with it.
TheBucsFan
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#6 Posted on 15.3.05 0512.31
Reposted on: 15.3.12 0516.50

    If the people vote for it even if I hate it then it's just a stupid law


The majority of the country supporting an unconstitutional concept does not change the fact that it is unconsitutional. This judge ruled it unconstitutional. It's called checks and balances.
Grimis
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#7 Posted on 15.3.05 0634.55
Reposted on: 15.3.12 0635.01
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan
    The majority of the country supporting an unconstitutional concept does not change the fact that it is unconsitutional. This judge ruled it unconstitutional. It's called checks and balances.
Unconstitutional in state court. If the state votes to amend the constitution, than the point is moot.
DrOp
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#8 Posted on 15.3.05 0727.13
Reposted on: 15.3.12 0729.02
Grimis--couldn't couples then appeal federally and couldn't an amended CA Constitution be found Unconstitutional be a federal judiciary?

I commend the judge for this decision. I think this bit of information from CNN is key:


    In a hearing in December, Senior Assistant Attorney General Louis Mauro acknowledged that California is "a leader in affording rights" to same-sex couples. But he maintained that the state has a defensible reason for upholding the existing definition of marriage as part of an important tradition.

    "State law says there is a fundamental right to marry," he told Kramer. "We concede that. State law also says marriage is a contract between a man and a woman."

    But a deputy city attorney, Therese Stewart, criticized "the so-called tradition argument," saying the meaning of marriage has evolved over time. As examples, she cited now-overturned bans on marriage by interracial couples, or laws that treated wives as a husband's property.
Grimis
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#9 Posted on 15.3.05 0832.22
Reposted on: 15.3.12 0835.47
    Originally posted by DrOp
    Grimis--couldn't couples then appeal federally and couldn't an amended CA Constitution be found Unconstitutional be a federal judiciary?
Theoretically yes, but we haven't gotten there(yet) and it would take years to get to that point, short of another case affecting their Constiution.
DrDirt
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#10 Posted on 15.3.05 0914.02
Reposted on: 15.3.12 0914.08
    Originally posted by Grimis
      Originally posted by DrOp
      Grimis--couldn't couples then appeal federally and couldn't an amended CA Constitution be found Unconstitutional be a federal judiciary?
    Theoretically yes, but we haven't gotten there(yet) and it would take years to get to that point, short of another case affecting their Constiution.


We need to separate the religious practice of marriage from the civil practice. In my mind, my wife and I were "married" in church. While doing that we also applied for and received a "marriage" license from the state of Ohio which in my mind is a civil union for legal rights and protections.

Committed gay couples, like committed heterosexual couples, deserve legal protections found in a civil union. However, IMO, "marriage" can only occur between a man and woman and is a sacred religious institution peculiar to a given religion (from Christian and Muslim to Hindu).
DrOp
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#11 Posted on 15.3.05 0930.36
Reposted on: 15.3.12 0934.58
Semantics aside, a lot of the resistance here is purely economical (IMHO). Simply put, civil unions--whether between straight or gay individuals, will cause many companies to pay more money in additonal benefits to their employee's life partners.

I fully understand Dr. Dirt's moral stance and how many conservative initiatives have used this issue and religion to polarize the country, but for a lot of companies, it's a basic money issue. Civil or religous--it still hits them in the back pocket.

(edited by DrOp on 15.3.05 1032)
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#12 Posted on 15.3.05 1131.40
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1132.19
I agree with DrOp. This is a pretty big change in how employers distribute benefits to employees. I am in finance at a healthcare company and we have extended this benefit to same sex couples for a number of years and one of the biggest factors in our decision was cost. It was adding many people to the healthcare insurance rolls that we were not legally mandated to do. Still, it seemed like the right thing to do and we assumed the added cost and trimmed in other areas. Employees were mostly happy. Some employees got their significant others included in their policy and the rest of the employees didn't lose anything.
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#13 Posted on 15.3.05 1226.29
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1229.03
Perish the thought Pieman--but you're talking about a WIN-WIN situation for most people. Yikes! ;)
Sec19Row53
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#14 Posted on 15.3.05 1418.37
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1422.11
    Originally posted by DrOp
    Perish the thought Pieman--but you're talking about a WIN-WIN situation for most people. Yikes! ;)

Is it win-win? After all, the costs of insurance rise due to "trimming in other areas".

The thing that really drives this home as the correct decision (how's that for an about face) is the statement about how interracial marriages had to be legalized. Just because it's tradition doesn't make it right.
DrOp
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#15 Posted on 15.3.05 1638.11
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1640.54
Companies trim in other areas all the time. At least in thei instance, it's trimming in order to not be discriminatory.

And WIN-WIN in the sense that people in civil unions get benefits and people in marriages keep benefits.
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#16 Posted on 15.3.05 1706.00
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1706.18
I actually heard an interesting piece about how giving people health care saves money in the long run. There's less likely to be extended leaves of absence from the employees from chronic health issues they never took care of because they couldn't afford the treatment costs.

Some companies are requiring their employees to undergo health screenings to counteract that.

Either way, I applaud this judge. I am a huge believer in the sanctity and neccessity of marriage, and I believe all people should get married if they are a couple, including homosexuals. Forcing a large segment of the population to live together outside of the precepts of marriage weakens and cheapens marriage, imo.
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#17 Posted on 15.3.05 1811.06
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1812.49
    Originally posted by Sec19Row53
      Originally posted by DrOp
      Perish the thought Pieman--but you're talking about a WIN-WIN situation for most people. Yikes! ;)

    Is it win-win? After all, the costs of insurance rise due to "trimming in other areas".

    The thing that really drives this home as the correct decision (how's that for an about face) is the statement about how interracial marriages had to be legalized. Just because it's tradition doesn't make it right.


Well, regardless of how you feel on the issue, don't you think that there is a huge difference between granting marriages to balck men and white women (or whatever), and granting marriages to a man and a man?
Dahak
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#18 Posted on 15.3.05 1821.29
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1822.40
    Originally posted by TheBucsFan

      If the people vote for it even if I hate it then it's just a stupid law


    The majority of the country supporting an unconstitutional concept does not change the fact that it is unconsitutional. This judge ruled it unconstitutional. It's called checks and balances.


Since you (sort of) quoted me I will respond. Judges don't really run for election. A judge will retire half way through their term and then another is appointed. So even if it's not an open election which it is half the time the "new" judge is the incumbent.
Now I agree about checks and balances. Above I said that I have no problem with gay marriages. Also the courts are the best way to keep stupid laws in check. However people don't believe in laws made by judges as much as ones passed by voters or by elected officials. You can find a judge to pretty much approve or disapprove of pretty much anything. That is the problem with judges passing laws.
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#19 Posted on 15.3.05 1844.07
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1844.19
    Originally posted by BigSteve
      Originally posted by Sec19Row53
        Originally posted by DrOp
        Perish the thought Pieman--but you're talking about a WIN-WIN situation for most people. Yikes! ;)

      Is it win-win? After all, the costs of insurance rise due to "trimming in other areas".

      The thing that really drives this home as the correct decision (how's that for an about face) is the statement about how interracial marriages had to be legalized. Just because it's tradition doesn't make it right.


    Well, regardless of how you feel on the issue, don't you think that there is a huge difference between granting marriages to balck men and white women (or whatever), and granting marriages to a man and a man?


Not particularly. I'm of the opinion homosexuality is genetic anyway, seeing how common it is in nature. Regardless of whether it's genetic or not, the interracial couple made just as much of a choice as did the two gay men to get married.
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#20 Posted on 15.3.05 1942.26
Reposted on: 15.3.12 1944.36
    Originally posted by BigSteve
      Well, regardless of how you feel on the issue, don't you think that there is a huge difference between granting marriages to balck men and white women (or whatever), and granting marriages to a man and a man?


    Ok, here's a list of the general reasons people get married in Western Society:
    1. Signify a life-long commitment
    2. Security for children (social and economic)
    3. Make a public commitment
    4. For legal status or for financial security
    5. Religious beliefs

    You can add on something about sexual monogamy if you want too, but strangely (to me) that isn't quite as universal.

    The point is that there isn't any one of these things that can't apply to a same sex couple in the same way that it applies to a bi-gender couple. You could try to argue the religious beliefs one, but there are plenty of religious (and republican for that matter) homosexuals out there. There wouldn't be such an issue about gay clergy if there weren't.

    The other thing that is interesting to me from an Anthropology perspective, is that while marriage is a relatively universal concept, there is no way you can universally define it. Any definition you can come up with, there are exceptions to somewhere in the world. In some cultures marriage is not sexually related (as in the two parties do not have sex). In others it isn't between two people (instead being between 3 or more, and in the majority of multiple wife cultures, it is the wives and not the husband that pick the new wife). In some places in the world both parties don't even have to be alive (ghost marriages are really interesting btw, they are performed in order that a ghost might find rest).
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