CA Court: Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

March 14, 2005 ( - The long-running saga of the controversial issue of gay marriage took another turn Monday with a ruling by a California Superior Court that the state's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Monday’s ruling stemmed from litigation over San Francisco’s decision last year to allow gay marriage – ceremonies that were later thrown out by the California Supreme Court, Reuters reported (See  CA High Court Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriages ). However the Golden State’s top court asked a lower court to consider the broader issue.

“We’re gratified by today’s ruling,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera told Reuters, adding that he thought it was an important step toward establishing equal rights for gays in California.

The San Francisco same-sex marriages sparked a heated national debate with voters in 11 states backing measures against gay marriage and 21 states considering changes to their constitutions to ban it.

voters have in the past defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The issue is expected to move eventually to the California Supreme Court.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom challenged the state’s ban on gay marriage a year ago by issuing more than 4,000 gay marriage licenses.