Lawsuit Seeks to Block California's 'Gay Marriage' Law

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - A decision could come Thursday in a case involving what critics call "gay marriage by another name."

The Campaign for California Families, acting on behalf of California voters, is requesting a preliminary injunction to block a new state law (AB 205), which gives registered domestic partners virtually all the rights of marriage.

On Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge heard arguments from attorneys representing California voters; the State of California; and homosexual advocacy groups.

"We are asking the judge to block AB 205 from taking effect before next month, when the government will begin spending taxpayer dollars to publicize 'gay marriage by another name,'" said Randy Thomasson, executive director of the Campaign for California Families.

CCF, which says its is "fighting to restore family-friendly values," is the lead plaintiff in one of two voter-rights lawsuits against AB 205.

According to Thomasson, the California Legislature cannot change the vote of the people on marriage or any other matter approved by the voters.

"The voters deserve a favorable ruling to protect marriage," he said.

The plaintiffs argue that the new law conflicts with California's voter-approved Proposition 22, which says only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel, who represented the plaintiffs in court Wednesday, noted that the judge listened carefully to the arguments and was not persuaded by the state's arguments to dismiss the lawsuit.

"By enacting the 'domestic partnership' laws, the California Legislature has taken away the right of the voters, which was so clearly expressed in Proposition 22 to reserve the rights of marriage for a man and a woman," Staver said. "The Legislature has no right to disregard the will of the people," he added.

Advocates for AB 205, including homosexual advocacy groups, insist that it is not the equivalent of same-sex marriage, but critics say the text of the recently-passed law states indicates otherwise:

They quote from Page 4, Section 4 of AB 205, which reads: "Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses."

Moreover, critics of the law quote from Page 13, Section 15 of AB 205, which says, "This act shall be construed liberally in order to secure to eligible couples who register as domestic partners the full range of legal rights, protections and benefits, as well as all of the other responsibilities, obligations, and duties to each other, to their children, to third parties and to the state, as the laws of California extend to and impose upon spouses."

"Only those who play games with words, who do not know the truth, or refuse to acknowledge truth can claim this is not 'gay marriage' by another name," said Thomasson.

He and other plaintiffs say the new state law flouts the will of voters, who tried to protect the traditional definition of marriage by passing Proposition 22 - the Protection of Marriage Initiative - on March 7, 2000. Prop 22 passed in 52 of California's 58 counties.

According to the California Secretary of State, 61.4 percent of the electorate -- 4,618,673 people -- cast ballots in favor of Prop 22.

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