Monday, March 14, 2005

First Step Toward Marriage Equality

In San Francisco Superior Court, Judge Richard Kramer has ruled today that California's law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman is unconstitutional, setting the stage for a ruling that could allow same-sex couples to receive the full benefits of marriage that only heterosexuals (or those pretending) now enjoy.

The ruling comes more than a year after about 4,000 same-sex couples exchanged marriage vows at San Francisco City Hall after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered that the city clerk issue them marriage licenses. The state Supreme Court declared the marriages invalid last August and ruled that Newsom had exceeded his authority in giving the marriages the go-ahead.

Monday's ruling did not revive those marriages but - if it stands - will allow same-sex couples to marry in the future. Currently, only Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to wed. A trial judge in New York has ruled that state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. That decision is on appeal, and a decision on same-sex marriage is pending in Washington state.

In his 27-page decision, Kramer - an appointee of former Gov. Pete Wilson, a Republican - said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates "the basic human right to marry the person of one's choice," and has no rational justification.

Rejecting California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's argument that California is entitled to maintain the traditional definition of marriage, Kramer said the same explanation was offered for the state's ban on interracial marriage, which was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 1948.

The judge also rejected arguments by opponents of same-sex marriage that the current law promotes procreation and child-rearing by a husband and wife. "One does not have to be married in order to procreate, nor does one have to procreate in order to marry," Kramer said.

As a married, non-procreating, gay-friendly heterosexual, allow me to say hurray, and hope that this is only the beginning.

Free Counter
Online Universities