FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 20, 2004
NCLR, ACLU and Lambda Legal Prepare for Next Hearing Scheduled for March 29
(San Francisco, CA, February 20, 2004) — In another important victory for lesbian and gay couples, Judge Ronald Quidachay ruled today in San Francisco Superior Court that the City may continue to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On Monday, same-sex marriages will resume at City Hall.
Two anti-gay groups filed lawsuits against the City of San Francisco in the past week in an effort to prevent same-sex marriages from going forward, and today the judge combined those lawsuits into one case. It is not yet determined which judge will hear that case. The next hearing is scheduled for March 29.
"The anti-gay organizations seeking to block the issuance of marriage licenses for same-sex couples have once again failed in their efforts to be awarded an injunction. These organizations simply failed to demonstrate that there is any harm to anyone as a result of these marriages," stated Kate Kendell, NCLR Executive Director. "The past two weeks have touched off an unprecedented national conversation which we believe the country is ready for, and which will lead to full acceptance, equality and legal recognition for all relationships."
The hearing today was scheduled to address the lawsuit and request for a stay against San Francisco by Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families (CCF). CCF is the second anti-gay organization to file suit against the City and County for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Earlier this week, a hearing was held in the lawsuit filed by the Proposition 22 Legal Defense Fund and the judge in that case also declined to order San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses. As a result of today's hearing, the cases will now move forward together.
The next hearing in the case is likely to be on March 29, as scheduled, following Tuesday's hearing in the first case although the judge today did not set a firm date. However, it is still unclear which of the two judges who have already participated in the suits will preside over the consolidated case.
In the meantime, the City and County of San Francisco will continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
NCLR, along with Lambda Legal and the ACLU, will continue to press forward with our claims that marriage licenses should continue to be issued and that all licenses should be accorded legal recognition and respect. But any victory we achieve will of course benefit all couples, including those already married and those who intend to marry in the future.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.