Emergency Hearing Scheduled Next Tuesday To Stop San Francisco From Issuing More Same-Sex "Marriage Licenses"

Feb 13, 2004

San Francisco – An emergency hearing is scheduled before Judge Ronald Quidachay on Tuesday, February 17, at 11:00 a.m. PST to request a restraining order to stop the issuance of any more same-sex “marriage licenses.” Today, Liberty Counsel, a national public interest law firm, filed suit on behalf of Randy Thomasson and Campaign for California Families (“CCF”) soon after Mayor Gavin Newsom and County Clerk Nancy Alfaro began issuing so-called “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples yesterday, February 12. Mr. Thomasson and CCF are represented by Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel.

After Liberty Counsel filed suit this morning, another organization filed suit this afternoon and sought to convene a hearing to block the issuance of these licenses. Their arguments were heard before Judge James Warren, but court rules require at lease 24 hours notice before an emergency hearing may be convened. Thus, Judge Warren refused to issue an order. Had he done so, the order would clearly be overturned on appeal due to lack of notice to the City. Knowing that the court rules require 24 hours notice, Liberty Counsel set its hearing for next Tuesday, and at that time the Court will hear the merits of this case.

In the meantime, Liberty Counsel attorneys continue to work on the case in preparation for next Tuesday’s emergency hearing.

California law does not allow same-sex marriages. In 2000, Proposition 22 passed by by a majority vote of 61.4% (4.3 million voters). Proposition 22 states: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” California law also provides that “Every person authorized to solemnize marriage, who willfully and knowingly solemnizes any incestuous or other marriage forbidden by law, is punishable by fine of not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the County Jail not less than three months nor more than one year, or by both.”

Mathew Staver said “Mayor Newsom and Clerk Alfaro are no more able to issue same-sex marriage licenses than they are able to issue pilot’s licenses. Just as pilot’s licenses are under federal jurisdiction, marriage license are under the jurisdiction of the state. ”