California Judge Rejects Same-Sex 'Marriage' Ban; State's Argument Is Compared with 'Separate but Equal' Laws

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Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A California judge yesterday ruled that it is unconstitutional for the state to deny marriage licenses to homosexual couples.

"[I]t appears that no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners," San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled in the consolidated lawsuit filed by same-sex couples and others seeking marital rights.

Judge Kramer rejected the state's arguments that male-female marriage embodies the traditional understanding of what marriage is.

"Simply put, same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before," Judge Kramer wrote.

He also rejected the state's argument that it is acceptable to maintain traditional marriage while offering many similar rights to same-sex couples through laws recognizing domestic partnerships.

"The idea that marriagelike rights without marriage is adequate smacks of a concept long rejected by the courts - separate but equal," said the judge, who was appointed to the bench by Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.

Judge Kramer will hold a hearing on his ruling March 30. Appeals are expected by that time.

"We're gratified by today's ruling," said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who represents the city and county of San Francisco in the lawsuit.

Last year, San Francisco officials "married" more than 4,000 same-sex couples. Although the California Supreme Court later ruled those "marriages" invalid, San Francisco officials are hoping the consolidated lawsuit will lead to legalization of same-sex "marriage" in the state. …