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Unlike other states that have opposed gay unions in court, California does not maintain that marriage should be reserved for heterosexuals because of its role in promoting stable environments for raising children. Instead, the state takes a position that marriage should be reserved for straight couples because of its long tradition.
That was the argument made Monday by deputy attorney general Christopher Krueger, who appeared before a state appellate court to oppose a lower-court ruling in favor of marriage for gay couples. "It's not a mindless adherence to tradition. It's a meaningful adherence to a definition of marriage the way it has always been," he told a panel of the first district court of appeal.
According to the Associated Press, Justice J. Anthony Kline commented more than once on the "inherent contradiction" in Krueger's reasoning, noting that the attorney general was "repudiating" the procreation argument while endorsing a separate category of domestic partnerships. "So we have two kinds of marriage in California. We call one a domestic partnership, but it is really the same thing. It's a second-class marriage," said Kline, who was randomly assigned to the panel after two other justices, Stuart R. Pollak and Peter J. Siggins, recused themselves from the case.
The arguments came as the state appealed a San Francisco judge's decision last year, clearing the way for California to follow Massachusetts in allowing same-sex couples to wed. Nuptials for gay pairs were put on hold pending the appeal. The court heard from parties to six lawsuits, four of them brought by the city of San Francisco and lawyers for 20 gay couples who sued to overturn California's marriage statutes; two were filed by groups that want the laws upheld.
The three-judge panel has 90 days to issue a ruling, but any decision is expected to be appealed to the California supreme court. (The Advocate)