FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 17, 2004
(San Francisco, CA, February 17, 2004) — Today, in a tremendous victory for all same-sex couples, California Superior Court Judge Warren allowed the City of San Francisco to continue granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since February 12, 2004, pursuant to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newson and with the support of San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Mabel Teng, the County Clerk of San Francisco has been issuing marriage licenses on an equal basis to same-sex and different-sex couples. In court today, the Prop 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund failed in their effort to bring the City's equal treatment of lesbian and gay couples to a halt. The Judge also granted the request of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the ACLU of Northern California, and Lambda Legal to intervene in the case on behalf of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the first same-sex couples to be married legally anywhere in the United States, and four other same-sex couples. Assistance to NCLR was also provided by Clyde Wadsworth, of Steefel, Levitt & Weiss and the Law Offices of David Codell. The City of San Francisco was represented by Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, with assistance from Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin.
As a result of the court's ruling, Mayor Newsom and City Assessor Mabel Teng can continue to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Since last week, thousands of same-sex couples have married. There will be another hearing in the case on March 29, 2004. It is likely that licenses will continue to be issued until that time.
In a separate action, filed by Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families, the Judge postponed the hearing in that case until Friday.
The Prop 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund and Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families have filed lawsuits challenging California's new domestic partnership law, which goes into effect in January, 2005.
In addition, last Thursday, February 12, Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), formally introduced the Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act (MLNDA) -- AB 1967. The proposed bill will prohibit discrimination by the State of California in the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
We will continue to post information as it becomes available. For more background on supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples, contact Equality California at http://www.eqca.org/.
- NCLR, ACLU, and Lambda Legal's complaint to enter the case on behalf of five same-sex couples
Read the Complaint in Intervention
- NCLR, ACLU, and Lambda Legal's brief opposing the Prop 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund's request that the judge order the City to stop issuing marriage licenses
Read the Opposition to Stay Request
- The City and County of San Francisco's brief opposing the Prop 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund's request that the judge order the City to stop issuing marriage licenses
Read the City's Opposition