Tuesday, June 17, 2008

California Court of Appeal Denies Petition for Stay of Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Today the California Court of Appeal denied Liberty Counsel's Petition to stay the decision legalizing same-sex marriage. The Court of Appeal has now sent the case back to the Superior Court. A stay would have delayed the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, allowing the legislature to rewrite statutes that conflict with the ruling, and allowing the voters to amend the state constitution in November when they vote on the California Marriage Protection Act.

Yesterday at 5:01 pm (PT), the first same-sex marriage licenses were issued. This happened despite the fact it is well settled in California that "the Legislature has full control of the subject of marriage and may fix the conditions under which the marital status may be created or terminated...." McClure v. Donovan (1949) 33 Cal.2d 717, 728, 205 P.2d 17. The California Family Code specifies that "[a]n unmarried man of 18 years or older and an unmarried female of the age of 18 years or older" may marry. Family Code Section 301 (e). As a part of the marriage license, "the form shall include an affidavit, which the bride and groom shall sign." Family Code Section 505(c). Bride and groom clearly refer to a man and a woman. There is no provision for "Party A" and “Party B.” These statutes, and many others like them, are still in effect.

A recent poll conducted on May 30, 2008 by ccAdvertising shows that 56% of California residents support marriage as one man and one woman. A poll a few weeks ago by the Los Angeles Times similarly revealed that 54% supported the marriage amendment and only 35% opposed it. In November, the people of California will have the opportunity to pass a state constitutional amendment and overrule the 4-3 decision of the California Supreme Court.

The justice system has not been just to the people or the democratic process. Marriage between a man and a woman is universally in the best interest of children. The definition of marriage transcends language barriers and is understood by infants. A few judges may not respect the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, but the common person understands its importance. The people will have the final word on marriage in November. When the people speak for marriage in November and amend California’s constitution, judges will have to listen.