Tuesday, February 12, 2008

California Supreme Court To Hold Hearing on Gay Marriage

From Jeffrey Lalloway at the California Divorce and Family Law Blog, comes the news that the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on gay marriage on March 4.

Excerpts from the California Divorce and Family Law post:

"The pros and cons of same-sex marriage will get an airing here March 4 in oral arguments before the California Supreme Court, the court announced Wednesday.

In dispute is the constitutionality of the state's marriage statutes, which currently limit marriage to couples of the opposite sex.

The contentious issue, launched in February 2004 when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began furnishing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, reached the high court in 2006. In re Marriage Cases, S147999.

Three issues are key for the court: whether the state's exclusion of same-sex marriage violates the equal protection rights of lesbians and gay men; whether that exclusion violates the right to personal autonomy protected by the California constitution's privacy clause; and whether the exclusion violates the fundamental right to marry protected by the state constitution's liberty clause.

The most important differences between domestic partnerships and marriage are cultural, according to attorney Kate Kendall of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

'Mothers and fathers do not ever say they want to dance at their daughter's domestic-partnership registration ceremony,' Kendall said last year. 'Marriage is imbued with a very inspiring, intense and significant cultural acceptance that for many couples, long after the day happens, the fact of that ceremony is burned into their memory.'

Mathew D. Staver, the lead attorney for Liberty Counsel, a Florida traditional-family lobby, countered, 'Those who are seeking same-sex marriage are not doing so for the benefits but for the state's seal of approval that comes with marriage. The state does not have to put a stamp of approval on any relationship.'

The Supreme Court granted same-sex marriage proponents' petition for review after a divided panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal voted 2-1 that only the Legislature can define marriage.

The appellate court reversed San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer, who upheld [San Francisco Mayor] Newsom's right to issue the licenses.

From the Daily Journal. (Registration Required)"

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

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