Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage Rages in San Francisco

Feb 20, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO - Liberty Counsel attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen are in San Francisco today for more hearings on the same-sex marriage case filed last Friday morning on behalf of Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families. Liberty Counsel filed suit against the mayor and county clerk last Friday morning and the hearing on the merits is set for today at 2:00 p.m. PST before Judge Ronald Quidachay.

Yesterday, the City announced that it would file a cross-complaint against the State of California to force recognition of same-sex marriage licenses. The cross-complaint was filed before Judge James L. Warren, the judge in the other lawsuit that was filed against the City last Friday afternoon. Although the City named Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families in the suit, they have not been served. The City will argue at 11:00 a.m. PST today that Liberty Counsel’s case should be moved from Judge Ronald Quidachay to Judge Warren and is attempting to stop Liberty Counsel’s 2:00 hearing previously set by Judge Quidachay. The City wants Judge Warren to hear both cases so that the hearing on the merits will be delayed until March 29.

Court rules provide that the case filed first should be the lead case upon consolidation. Both cases should be consolidated before Judge Quidachay, who was assigned to Liberty Counsel’s case last Friday.

At 2:00 PST Judge Quidachay is expected to hear a motion to intervene filed on behalf of couples who have received the same-sex marriage licenses. The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, LAMBDA and the ACLU. Liberty Counsel’s request for mandamus and an emergency injunction are also set to be heard at the same time.

Liberty Counsel President and General Counsel Mathew Staver said, "I’ve never seen any litigation progress as it is here. It is like we’ve stepped back in time to the wild west. A number of parties in this case seem to have a high disregard for the law and facts on the one hand, while at the same time contend they are following either the state or federal constitutions. While the city contends they are simply following one part of the constitution by issuing the same-sex licenses, the mayor has filed legal documents stating he is not bound by other parts of the state constitution that says he cannot refuse to enforce state laws.” Staver concluded, “The City’s attempt to bring in the state and remove our case to Judge Warren for a hearing on March 29 and to stay our litigation is a blatant attempt to prevent a hearing on the merits. The longer this mob mentality is allowed to continue the more the situation will get out of control.”