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CURRENT ISSUE:  March 21, 2005VOL. 43, NO. 6Oakland, CA

Ruling in support of gay marriage draws criticism from Church

In response to a court ruling in support of same-sex marriage, a spokesperson for the California Catholic Conference expressed hope that the state Supreme Court will overturn the decision.

In a statement released after the March 14 ruling, Ned Dolejsi, CCC executive director, said, “We expect that this unfortunate decision will be appealed to, and hopefully overturned by, the California Supreme Court.” He also called on the California legislature to suspend consideration of a bill that would make marriage a “gender-neutral” institution.

Dolejsi was responding to a decision by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer, who held that it is discriminatory to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Kramer ruled that “no rational purpose exists” for excluding homosexual couples from civil marriage and called a 2000 state referendum defining marriage as an act between a man and a woman “unconstitutional.”

“Marriage, by both custom and biology, is the source of family and children,” Dolejsi said. “That union of a man and a woman is sacramental to the Church, traditional to the public and fundamental to civil society – all rational reasons to preserve the definition of marriage.”

The ruling came in a case brought by same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses last year after the state Supreme Court ordered San Francisco to stop issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Last December San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno introduced a bill that would establish marriage as a personal relationship based on a civil contract between two people without regard to gender. Dolejsi asked members to the legislature to withhold consideration of the bill while the case is on appeal.

Groups supporting traditional marriage responded to Judge Kramer’s ruling with claims that it will activate efforts to amend state and federal constitutions banning same-sex unions. The ruling “will pour gasoline on the fire ignited by the pro-marriage movement,” said Mat Staver of the Florida-based Liberty Counsel.

At least a dozen state are considering bans on gay marriage, and 13 states passed constitutional bans last year. Courts in New York, New Jersey, Washington and Connecticut are considering legal challenges to allow gay marriage.



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