Herrera Files Response to Marriage Rights Foes in Court of Appeals

City Denies Legitimacy of Discrimination Based on Unconstitutional “Social Ideal”

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec.16, 2005) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed the City’s briefs in the California Court of Appeal today in response to appellants Campaign For California Families and the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, who are appealing a trial court decision from earlier this year that found the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples unconstitutional. In March, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled that provisions of state marriage laws unconstitutionally discriminate on the basis of sex and impinge on the fundamental right to marry the person of one’s choice.

In both appellant’s briefs filed with the court, the argument against allowing gay men and women to marry questioned the ability of same-sex couples to provide an appropriate environment in which to parent children. Prop 22 LDEF’s brief, in particular, argued that banning same-sex marriage ensured that, “children inevitably resulting from sexual intercourse between men and women are raised by both of their biological parents in one household-the optimum setting for childrearing.” Likewise, in their brief, the Campaign for California Families asserts that the state law rightfully “affirms a particular kind of relationship as the social ideal,” where both of the marriage parties are of the opposite sex.

“To argue for the legitimacy of discrimination based on some ideal notion of biological parenthood is outrageous and insulting to millions of families and children,” said Herrera.

The City’s brief argues that the California Constitution provides extensive civil rights protections that render continued exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage constitutionally unsupportable. The City’s case is being handled on appeal by Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese M. Stewart together with Deputy City Attorneys Sherri Sokeland Kaiser, Julia M.C. Friedlander and Kathleen S. Morris.

The cases are Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund v. CCSF/Gavin Newsom/Nancy Alfaro, Court of Appeal No. A110651 and Campaign for California Families v. Gavin Newsom and Nancy Alfaro, Case No. A110652.