In 2004, the Mayor of the City of San Francisco ("City") directed the city clerk to alter forms and documents required for the issuance of marriage licenses so that they could be used by same-sex couples, and then began to issue such licenses. The Attorney General of California and opponents of same-sex marriage filed writ petitions to enjoin this action and enforce then current Family Code provisions defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The City and groups of same-sex couples filed various actions seeking declaratory judgment as to the constitutionality of the Mayor's action and their marriages. The various actions were consolidated into a single case (see below for constituent actions).
The case brought together City of San Francisco v. State
, No. A110449 (Cal. Ct. App.), No. CGC-04-429539 (Super. Ct. S.F. City & County); Tyler v. State
, No. A110450 (Cal. Ct. App.), No. BS-088506 (Super. Ct. L.A. County); Woo v. Lockyer
, No. A110451 (Cal. Ct. App.), No. CPF-04-504038 (Super. Ct. S.F. City & County); Clinton v. State
, No. A110463 (Cal. Ct. App.), No. CGC-04-429548 (Super. Ct. S.F. City & County); Proposition 22 Legal Defense & Education Fund v. City of San Francisco
, No. A110651 (Cal. Ct. App.), No. CPF-04-503943 (Super. Ct. S.F. City & County); and Campaign for California Families v. Newsom
, No. A110652 (Cal. Ct. App.), No. CGC-04-428794 (Super. Ct. S.F. City & County). The Superior Court of San Francisco held that the Family Code provisions were unconstitutional under California equal protection doctrine. That holding was reversed on appeal, and opposite-sex definitions of marriage were held constitutional by the appellate court.
The California Supreme Court, C.J. Ronald M. George, held that privacy and due process provisions of the state constitution entitle all citizens to a right to marriage. It was the first U.S. case to establish sexual sexual orientation as a suspect classification subject to strict scrutiny. It found that provisions of California codes that limit marriage to its opposite-sex definition are not necessary to a compelling state interest. The Court also held that opponents of such marriages had no standing to request declaratory judgment on such a matter, as their injuries were merely intellectual, and not legally substantial. As such, opposite-sex only marriage provisions of the California Code were held unconstitutional.
It was after this case that California's Proposition 8 was put to the voters and approved: it stripped the title of marriage from same-sex domestic partnerships, until it was held unconstitutional by the federal courts. (See Perry
, PB-CA-29, in this Clearinghouse.)Margo Schlanger - 05/15/2008
Carlos Torres - 05/19/2013