San Francisco told to 'cease and desist' or return to court

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)--Two California judges refused to stop San Francisco from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Feb. 17, although one judge gave city officials an option: “cease and desist” or return to court and explain their action.

Both judges refused conservatives’ requests to immediately halt the “weddings,” meaning that they could perhaps continue for several days.

However, California Superior Court Judge James L. Warren told the city to “cease and desist” from issuing the licenses or return to court March 29 to defend their actions, which are illegal under California law.

After the ruling the city’s attorney said city officials had not decided what they would do, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Ben Bull, attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, expressed satisfaction with the ruling. ADF is representing the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Education Fund.

“Judge James L. Warren has stepped in with respect for the law and common sense,” Bull said in a statement. “As attorneys representing the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Education Fund we will seek every remedy possible to stop this runaway activity.”

Earlier in the day Superior Court Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay refused to issue an emergency injunction and said he wouldn't hear the case until at least Feb. 20.

Quidachay told the Liberty Counsel, which was representing the Campaign for California Families, that it had not given the city enough notice to obtain an injunction, according to the Associated Press.

"It does appear to the court that there was not strict compliance [with the notification rule]," Quidachay said, according to the Chronicle. "The court itself is not prepared to hear the matter."

Mathew Staver, president of the Liberty Counsel, said he believes that Quidachay eventually will rule against the city.

"We are confident that, when the court hears the arguments in this case, the court will invalidate the mayor's publicity stunt," Staver said in a statement. "The marriage licenses will not be worth the paper they are written on. ... The rule of law must be restored. Neither the mayor nor the county clerk is above the law."

Under the direction of new Mayor Gavin Newsom the city of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Feb. 12 in direct violation of state law. In 2000 California voters, by a margin of 61-38 percent, passed a proposition that reads, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Gavin and the city argue that prohibiting same-sex "marriage" is a violation of the California constitution.

Since Feb. 12 more than 2,000 same-sex "weddings" have taken place in the city. City official say the licenses will continue to be issued until a court tells them to stop.

Both sides say the case could end up before the California Supreme Court.


For more information on the battle over same-sex "marriage," visit BP's story collection at:

http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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