Alliance Defense Fund attorneys submitted briefs on behalf of Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund Thursday to the California Superior Court in San Francisco, arguing that California’s marriage laws do not run afoul to the California Constitution.
The arguments were submitted to Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer in a case where San Francisco and several gay couples are seeking to declare the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, the result of Proposition 22 ballot initiative, unconstitutional. Plaintiffs say the law violates California Constitution's equal protection clause, which would allow same-sex couples to marry.
The state’s marriage law, which was approved by 61 percent of voters in 2000, reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Senior Vice President of ADF’s Marriage Litigation Center Glen Lavy, who disagreed with the plaintiffs' arguments, said the definition of marriage as used in the state’s DOMA is consistent with that used in the California Constitution.
“Same-sex ‘marriage’ is an oxymoron,” stated Lavy. “Marriage always has meant the union of a man and a woman.”
“Marital rights may not be extended to same-sex couples without changing the meaning of the term ‘marriage’ as the California Constitution uses it,” Lavy added. “By using statements such as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ in connection with ‘marriage,’ the constitution makes an opposite-sex definition indisputable.”
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and same-sex couples sued after the California Supreme Court said Newsom overstepped his authority when he issued some 4,000 same-sex marriage licenses in February and March. The state’s High Court also invalidated those marriage licenses.
The challenges were consolidated into one case and given to Kramer for review. Kramer will hear the case on Dec. 22.
Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Campaign for California Families will also defend Ca.’s marriage laws alongside Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund. Lockyer submitted his briefs on Oct. 8.
ADF’s brief states, “The state has no interest whatsoever in recognizing or extending benefits to other intimate adult relationships [than marriage]…. The arguments in favor of marriage for same-sex couples apply equally to incestuous or polygamous relationships.”
Besides California, 36 other states have passed Defense of Marriage Acts and 16 other have approved marriage initiatives defining marriage between one man and one woman, including the eleven states that voted on constitutional marriage amendments on Election Day.
“It’s eminently clear that the California Constitution directly supports the concept of marriage as a union of a man and a woman,” Lavy said. “Tuesday’s landslide adoption by voters in 11 other states to amend their state constitutions to reflect this definition demonstrates clearly that those who want to redefine marriage to mean anything and ultimately nothing are completely out of touch with the vast majority of Americans.”