SAN FRANCISCO — A Superior Court judge has ruled that California’s law limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. The lawsuits were brought by the city of San Francisco and a dozen same-sex couples last March, after the California Supreme Court halted the four-week marriage spree Mayor Gavin Newsom had initiated when he directed city officials to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians in defiance of state law.
They argued that California can no longer justify limiting marriage to a man and a woman, hoping for a ruling that, if upheld on appeal, would pave the way for the nation’s most populous state to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed.
Since Jan. 1, same-sex couples registering as domestic partners in California have been granted virtually all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, so the arguments for striking down the state’s gay marriage ban have centered as much on the social meaning of marriage as its legal benefits.
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