SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–The California Supreme Court said Aug. 10 it would not hear an appeal of a much-publicized “gay marriage” case — at least not yet.
The decision means that the case — which seeks the legalization of “same-sex marriage” in California — must follow the normal course and first wind its way through the state appeals court level before it ends up before the Supreme Court.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and homosexual activists had asked the high court to hear the case immediately, hoping to come to a speedy solution. But the court ruled 5-0, with one member not participating, not to take the case, the Associated Press reported. The court also has one vacancy.
Pro-family groups applauded the ruling, but nevertheless said the decision only delays what may be inevitable — a battle over “gay marriage” before the high court.
Lockyer spokesman Nathan Barankin told AP that the attorney general was “disappointed.”
“We thought that the cases were ripe for a prompt and final resolution without having to go through the court of appeal,” Barankin said.
The delay helps pro-family groups who are gathering petitions for a constitutional marriage amendment they hope to place on the ballot in 2006. There are two coalitions — ProtectMarriage.com and VoteYesMarriage.com. Each is pushing a different amendment.
“There was no need to rush to judgment on California’s marriage laws,” Mat Staver, chief counsel of the conservative group Liberty Counsel, said in a news release. “Now that the marriage cases will proceed along the normal litigation route, the people will have time to move forward to amend the state Constitution to preserve marriage as one man and one woman.”
The pro-amendment groups may be in a race against time. In March a lower court judge sided with homosexual activists by striking down Proposition 22, the state law that explicitly bans “gay marriage.” It had been approved by voters in 2000 by a margin of 61-39 percent. The ruling is being appealed, and could end up before the Supreme Court next year. If the lower court’s ruling stands, “gay marriage” will become legal. A marriage amendment, though, would trump any court ruling.
Meanwhile, a bill that would legalize “gay marriage” is being considered by the state Senate.
LAWSUIT IN LONDON — A lesbian couple in the United Kingdom is suing to have their Canadian “gay marriage” recognized in Britain. The U.K. high court heard the case Aug. 12. The couple says it will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights if it loses at the high court, the London Times reported.
“We want our marriage to be recognized as a marriage, just like any other marriage in Canada,” a statement from the couple, Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson, read.
The United Kingdom is set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships in December, but the couple calls the new law “insulting and discriminatory,” the BBC reported. The new law will grant homosexual couples most of the legal benefits of marriage.
CHEROKEE CONTROVERSY INTENSIFIES — A Cherokee Nation lesbian couple will have to clear at least one more hurdle before filing the document to make its “gay marriage” legal.
Eight Cherokee tribal councilors filed a petition with the Cherokee Nation court Aug. 9, asking it to prevent the couple from filing a marriage application that would make the union official, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported. Just six days earlier, the same court had handed the lesbian couple a victory by tossing out another lawsuit against the women.
The new legal challenge includes something the old one did not — tribal councilors. Last August the tribal council voted to ban “gay marriage,” although the law was passed after the couple already had requested and received a marriage application.
Although Oklahoma has laws banning “gay marriage,” tribal sovereignty allows the Cherokee Nation to define marriage as it wishes.
For more information about the national debate over “gay marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage