Yesterday afternoon, the California Supreme Court issued an order temporarily directing San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in San Francisco. The Court said it would hear a case in May or June on whether Mayor Gavin Newsom and the City of San Francisco had the authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
For the more than 3600 lesbian and gay couples who are already married, the Court's decision does not address or call into question the validity of their marriages. The Court's order also does not address the question Mayor Newsome was correct in deciding that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violates the California Constitution.
It is unfortunate for the many couples who were turned away from City Hall yesterday, and who had planned to be married in the near future, that the Court required the Mayor to stop issuing marriage licenses while this case is pending. However, we are confident that the Court will ultimately decide the constitutional question, and conclude that excluding lesbian and gay couples and their children from the benefits, protections and obligations of legal marriage offends the promises of equality, liberty and privacy in our state's Constitution.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who were the first same-sex couple married in San Francisco and who have been in a committed relationship for over 51 years, commented that "On March 12th, we will celebrate the 1 month anniversary of our legal marriage. We hope and believe that in the not too distant future all lesbian and gay couples will likewise have the opportunity to marry legally and enjoy government respect and recognition of their relationships. We consider today's ruling by the California Supreme Court simply to be a pause on the road to full equality and celebration of our relationships."