SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–A California state appeals court panel heard oral arguments July 10 in several “gay marriage” cases, with at least one of the three justices seeming to side with the arguments made by homosexual activists.
The court is just one step below the California Supreme Court, which ultimately will decide the definition of marriage in America’s most populous state. The lawsuits, which were filed by liberal and homosexual groups and the city of San Francisco, seek to overturn a 2000 law adopted by 61 percent of the voters to protect the natural definition of marriage, thus banning “gay marriage.” A state court judge struck down the law last year, but the state appealed the decision.
California already has same-sex domestic partnerships, which grant homosexual couples many of the legal benefits of marriage. But homosexual groups want “marriage.”
“So we have two kinds of marriage in California. We call one a domestic partnership, but it is really the same thing. It’s a second-class marriage,” Justice J. Anthony Kline, one of three judges on the panel, said during arguments, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Kline was nominated to the court by former Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown. The other two judges — who the Times said “appeared more skeptical” to the arguments by “gay marriage” activists than Kline — were nominated by former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson. The ruling by the three-judge panel could have a significant impact on the eventual decision by the California Supreme Court. The appeals court panel has 90 days to issue a decision, the Associated Press reported.
“Marriage has deep meaning not just for some people, but to everyone, and it’s painful, hurtful to deny marriage not just to gay men and lesbians but to their families, their parents and most of all their children,” Therese Stewart, an attorney for the city of San Francisco, told the justices, according to AP. “The domestic partnership law can’t possibly replace the meaning and reverence that marriage has.”
But attorneys for conservative groups urged the panel to uphold the law, saying that children need a mother and father and that marriage is inherently a heterosexual institution.
“Procreation is the only reason that the state is justified in regulating adult intimate relationships…. The state has an interest in trying to have as many children as possible born into the marriage relationship,” Glen Lavy, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund representing the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Legalizing “gay marriage” would be “a very powerful statement that children do not need moms and dads,” Liberty Counsel’s Mathew Staver, who represented the Campaign for California Families, said, according to the Chronicle.
California is one of seven states involved in lawsuits seeking “gay marriage” legalization. Two of those states — New Jersey and Washington — are expecting rulings by their highest courts any week.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage