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California
appeals court rejects challenge to same-sex marriage ban

California
appeals court rejects challenge to same-sex marriage ban

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In a 2-1 ruling, judges on the California court of appeal said Thursday that the state may continue to deny same-sex couples the right to marry.

A three-judge panel of the California court of appeal ruled Thursday that the state may continue to bar same-sex couples from marriage. Several gay advocacy groups working on the case immediately vowed to appeal the 2-1 decision to the California supreme court.

"Today's decision was disappointing," Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who argued before the court, said in a statement. "We are optimistic that the California supreme court will affirm the trial court's historic ruling and strike down one of the last remaining laws to discriminate against an entire group of people in this state."

In April 2005, San Francisco superior court judge Richard A. Kramer ruled that barring same-sex couples from marriage unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of gender and violates the fundamental right to marry. In a strong dissent to Thursday's ruling, appeals court justice Anthony Kline wrote: "The inescapable effect of the analysis the majority adopts is to diminish the humanity of the lesbians and gay men whose rights are defeated. The right to marry is of fundamental importance for all individuals."

"We know that history is on our side," said Jeanne Rizzo and Pali Cooper, two of the plaintiffs in Woo v. California and a couple of 16 years, in a statement to the press. "We are disappointed by the court's ruling, but we have faith that the law will not continue to treat us as outsiders. We simply want the same legal protections as other Californians."

More than 250 religious and civil rights organizations, including the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Council of Churches, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and National Black Justice Coalition, filed amicus briefs supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples. (The Advocate)

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