Lockyer asks California hight court to hear same-sex
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
December 5, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - In an unusual step, California Attorney
General Bill Lockyer has asked the state Supreme Court to review
a ruling that Lockyer won in a lower court banning same-sex marriages.
Lockyer wrote in a brief filed with the high court in San Francisco
Monday, "We believe a decision by this court would provide
the greatest level of certainty, uniformity and finality in these
The brief says, "The constitutionality of statutes limiting
marriage to male-female unions constitutes an important question
of law that should be reviewed by California's highest court."
In October, Lockyer's office, which has been defending state
marriage laws, won a ruling from the California Court of Appeal
upholding laws that require requiring marriage to be between a
man and a woman.
Last month, that decision was appealed to the state Supreme Court
by the city of San Francisco and 19 gay and lesbian couples who
filed a total of four lawsuits seeking a right to same-sex marriage
Normally, the party that wins an appellate ruling asks the state
high court not to hear the case and instead to leave the intermediate
ruling in place.
The California Supreme Court hears only a small percentage of
the cases appealed to it. If the panel does not choose to take
up an appeal, the Court of Appeal ruling becomes the final state
ruling on the case.
Lockyer spokesman Nathan Barankin said the attorney general has
consistently stated that a ruling from the high court is necessary
because the issue is one of extreme importance and interest.
Lockyer has argued that it is reasonable for lawmakers to limit
marriage to opposite-sex couples while providing the same rights
and protections to same-sex couples through domestic partnerships.
Same-sex couples contend that being denied the right to marry
violates their California constitutional right to equal treatment.
The state high court has no deadline for deciding whether to
review the same-sex marriage cases. If it does agree to consider
the appeal, its decision will be due 90 days after all briefs
are filed and a hearing has been held.
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