On August 12, the Supreme Court of California voided more that 4,000 marriage licenses that were issued to same-sex couples in San Francisco earlier this year.
Pro-family attorneys and organizations declared victory with the revocation of the licenses as the Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that the San Francisco officials had “no legal authority” to issue them. In addition, the Court also decided in a 5-2 split, that all licenses already issued should be voided.
The case arose following the actions of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom this past February and March when he ordered city clerks to start issuing “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples, which was an order in direct defiance to the state law of California. Newsom’s critics said he was acting on nothing more than his own support of same-sex “marriage.” State law defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
Ben Bull, vice president of Alliance Defense Fund – the organization that launched the case – told CitizenLink, “We’ve won a huge victory. What this order did today was to say that the mayor had acted completely illegally and unlawfully, that what he did was null and void, and that these so-called marriage licenses were also null and void, and have no effect.”
Other reactions to the decision followed similar lines. Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, said, “The California Supreme Court is to be commended for upholding the rule of law with its sharp rebuke to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and all other public officials who disregard our constitutionally mandated system of governmental checks and balances.”
Pat Trueman, senior legal counsel of Family Research Council, stated with regards to the case, “The Court unanimously ruled that the actions by Mayor Gavin Newsom to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses were beyond his authority. This is a sweeping defeat for all those seeking to use the courts to redefine marriage.”
However, some argue that while this is a huge symbolic victory, it will not long stem gay activism and their attempts to use the courts and sympathetic politicians to advance their agenda. Indeed, Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute said that this does not put an end to the marriage question. He sees state-by-state battles. In early August, the people of Missouri voted in a referendum and overwhelmingly said no to same-sex “marriage.”
Regardless of other proceedings in other states, Trueman concludes, “If they can’t win in California, arguably one of the most liberal jurisdictions, they will have difficulty everywhere else they try. The court’s precedent is now a major stumbling block for all those who want to redefine marriage.”
However, Justice Joyce Kennard wrote in her decision that the constitutionality of same-sex marriage for California has yet to be decided by the courts. Rather, the decision focused on whether a municipal official has the authority to override state law, versus the constitutionality of California’s marriage laws.
Still, Dr. Dobson said, “It is important to note that what happened (August 12) is at its most basic level an answer to fervent prayer. Millions of Americans understand that traditional values are under siege in America; they have and will continue to turn to God for His divine protection and provision. We are honored to add our prayers to theirs in this campaign to return righteousness to the public square.”