Hearing on Constitutionality of Ca. Marriage Laws Scheduled for Dec. 22

Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer will hold a hearing on whether California's same-sex marriage ban is constitutional.
( [email protected] ) Oct 27, 2004 06:05 PM EDT

A San Francisco judge overseeing constitutional challenges to California’s marriage law scheduled Tuesday a hearing for Dec. 22.

Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer refused to follow requests of same-sex opponents to postpone the hearing until January. He said the hearing would be held this year on the question of whether the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

The judge also said that during the hearing, he would consider legal issues of whether the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage amounts to discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation, or violates the right of privacy. A separate hearing will be scheduled if factual evidence is needed to decide the case, according to Kramer.

He said he wanted to make the case "less personal and more legal."

Plaintiffs in the consolidated suits include the city of San Francisco and about a dozen individuals.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed some 4,000 marriage licenses to be issued to same-sex couples beginning February until March when he was stopped by the California Supreme Court. In August, the state’s High Court upheld Ca.’s marriage law passed by voters in 2000 and nullified the same-sex marriage licenses. The city then sued the state seeking to declare the marriage law unconstitutional.

On Oct. 8, Ca. Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed arguments defending Proposition 22. Campaign for California Families and the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund later joined defense after receiving permission from Kramer. The deadline for their briefs is Nov. 4