Same-sex marriage opponents to file legal stay


Gay marriage opponents have already turned in over a million signatures that would overturn the state Supreme Court ruling with a ballot measure.

Traditional family groups are preparing to file for a stay, which means that if the state Supreme Court grants it, no same-sex marriages could be performed until after the November election when voters decide whether to engrain into the California Constitution a ban on same-sex marriages.

"We believe that it's better to do the stay until the pending outcome of that initiative because it would essentially save Californians a lot of confusion," says Everett Rice with the California Family Council.

Without a stay, same-sex couples could get married as soon as the ruling takes effect in mid-June. If California voters pass the ban, then those ceremonies would have to stop.

One law expert says those marriages would remain valid because the voter initiative would not be retroactive.

"Those marriages that took place before the initiative goes into effect would be untouched," says McGeorge School of Law Professor Lawrence Levine, J.D.

But there are questions over whether the initiative would pass in the first place. Opinion polls among likely voters show sentiments changing over same-sex marriage.

Back in January of 2000, the Public Policy Institute of California found only 39 percent favored it, while 55 percent opposed it. Less than a year ago, it was a virtual tie, with opponents holding on to a slight lead.

"All it does is allow people to be treated the same," says San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Mayor Newsom, who pushed the same sex marriage issue, has been burning up the airwaves since the ruling, confident voters will not pass what he calls discrimination.

"The fact is, between now and November, tens of thousands of people will come together and they will get married legally in the state of California. Then the voters will be asked to take that away. That's a very powerful question," says Mayor Newsom.

Backers of the constitutional ban are not worried. In fact, they believe it will rally supporters to the polls.

"The majority of Californians still feel that the traditional marriage is between a man and a woman," says Everett.

The last time Californians were asked to affirm the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, was eight years ago, and that passed by 61 percent. That's the law the California Supreme Court overturned yesterday. The potential November ballot measure is a constitutional amendment.

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