SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. -- A San Francisco judge on Monday ruled against Californias ban on gay marriage, saying there is no rational purpose to keeping marriage between a man and a woman only.
San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer said in his controversial opinion that it appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite sex partners.
"The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional," Kramer wrote in his 27-page decision.
At the crux of his ruling was his opinion that marriage is a basic "human right" -- a characterization long disputed among social conservatives and liberals.
Kramer wrote that the state's ban on same-sex "marriage" violates "the basic human right to marry the person of one's choice."
The ruling was made in light of a series of lawsuits brought by the city of San Francisco and a dozen same-sex couple one year ago, after the California Supreme Court halted the four-week marriage spree that Mayor Gavin Newsom initiated in February 2004. Newsom and SF city officials handed out some 4,000 same- sex marriage licenses in defiance of state law before being ordered to stop.
In August, the state's high court invalidated those "marriage" licenses and ruled that Newsom had overstepped his authoirty in giving the green light to such unions.
The several lawsuits filed against Mayor Newsom and by same-sex marriage advocates were then consolidated before Judge Kramer, who released his 27-page opinion today.
The recent ruling is not retroactive, and will not validate the licenses issued in the past. However, if it is left to stand, same-sex couples will be allowed to "marry" across the state. Kramers decision essentially strikes down Proposition 22, a statewide voter legislative initiative that was passed in 2004 with a 61.4 percent majority vote.
Liberty Counsel, a legal group specializing in issues pertinent to the Christian community, defended the Campaign for California Families (CCF) and its founder Randy Thomasson in the case. Matthew D. Staver, president and general counsel of LC, said the group plans to appeal the ruling at the higher court on behalf of CCF.
This ruling is not the end of the battle, said Staver. It is just the beginning.
The opinion is likely to be appealed at the California Supreme Court, the states highest court, before the ruling is implemented.
Current California law defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman only. However, the state does not yet have a constitutional amendment protecting the traditional definition. A pair of bills are pending before the states legislature, that if passed would place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Should California voters approve the amendment, as they did the current marriage laws, the state will join thirteen others in placing the issue out of the hands of judges and lawmakers and in the hands of voters.