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News Release: 2004-04-07

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S.F. Superior Court to Decide on Coordination of Same-Sex Marriage Cases, Judicial Council Rules

Herrera Calls Ruling 'encouraging indication' that marriage battle 'will be fought and ultimately decided where it began-right here in San Francisco'

SAN FRANCISCO (Apr. 7, 2004) -- In an order responding to Attorney General Bill Lockyer's petition for consolidation last week, the Judicial Council of California has authorized San Francisco Superior Court Presiding Judge Donna J. Hitchens to assign a coordination motion judge to determine whether five legal actions dealing with the issue of marriage between same-sex couples should be consolidated into a single action for consideration by a coordination trial judge, who would also be selected by Hitchens. "If coordinated," the order noted, "the coordination motion judge is asked to recommend the appropriate court site for the assignment of the coordination trial judge."

"While the decision on whether and where to coordinate the same-sex marriage cases is pending, we are delighted that the Judicial Council has clearly recognized that the locus of the struggle to strike down discriminatory state marriage laws is San Francisco," City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. "Traditionally, courts to which the Judicial Council assigns coordination proceedings retain purview over the case once it's consolidated. This isn't a decision, but it's an encouraging indication that California's same-sex marriage battle will be fought and ultimately decided where it began-right here in San Francisco."

Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding No. 4365, which has been assigned the title, "Marriage Cases," includes the following actions for consideration for coordination:

* Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Superior Court No. 503943 (consolidated with Thomasson v. Newsom, S.F. Superior Court No. 428794, but stayed by the California Supreme Court on March 11, 2004).

* Thomasson v. Newsom, San Francisco Superior Court No. 428794 (consolidated with Proposition 22 LDEF v. CCSF, S.F. Superior Court No. 503943, but stayed by the California Supreme Court on March 11, 2004)

* City and County of San Francisco v. State of California, San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC-04 429539 (filed as an original action by City Attorney Dennis Herrera on March 11, 2004 in response to the California Supreme Court's order earlier that afternoon; consolidated with Woo v. California, S.F. Superior Court No. CPF-04 504038 on April 1, 2004)

* Woo v. State of California, San Francisco Superior Court No. CPF-04 504038 (filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union on March 12, 2004; consolidated with CCSF v. California, S.F. Superior Court No. CGC-04 429539 on April 1, 2004)

* Tyler v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court No. BS 088506 (filed February 23, 2004 on behalf of two same-sex couples on account of the county's refusal to issue a marriage license to them. The couples -- Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, and Rev. Troy Perry and Phillip DeBliek -- are represented by Los Angeles-based trial attorney Gloria Allred; the suit has since been stayed by the trial court in Los Angeles).

UPDATE ON SAN FRANCISCO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASE:

Tomorrow morning -- on Thursday, April 8 at 9:30 a.m. -- San Francisco Superior Court Judge James L. Warren will hear a motion by the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund to intervene in the matter of City and County of San Francisco v. State of California, San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC-04 429539. The hearing, which is open to members of the public, will be held in Department 301 of the San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister Street, San Francisco.

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Last updated: 9/8/2009 4:16:41 PM