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A red truck flying American flags slowly circled San Francisco City Hall, passing a long line of same-sex couples waiting to get married. “Stop the Insanity” — “Shame on America” — “Marriage Is One Man, One Woman,” the signs on the truck proclaimed. Across the street, inside San Francisco’s Superior Court, Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart faced a throng of cameras and reporters from around the nation. “This is not just about San Francisco, it’s about the whole country,” said Stewart, the city’s top litigation attorney, who is gay. “It’s time for change … . I think the minds of people in the state are changing. They have changed in the past and will continue to change.” Terry Stewart had good reason to feel confident on that February day. For the second time in a week, she had convinced a local judge that there was no need to put an immediate stop to the marriages across the street. Faced with lawsuits by religious groups, Stewart had persuaded the bench that the marriages should be allowed to continue at least until a hearing on the merits in late March. When Gavin Newsom, the city’s straight, married, Roman Catholic mayor, had decided to defy state law and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples less than two weeks earlier, on Feb. 12, he surprised the nation, the city and Stewart herself. The 47-year-old lawyer had joined the city attorney’s office two years earlier, leaving a partnership at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, one of San Francisco’s elite litigation firms. She expected to be litigating contractor fraud, not fighting for the right for gays and lesbians to marry. Suddenly, with no real warning, she was thrust front and center into this national controversy. By March 11, the long lines at city hall were gone. Two men wearing tuxedos and purple leis around their necks walked through city hall’s grand marble rotunda, but the frenzy had diminished, because the city had begun taking marriage reservations. Appointments already stretched into the summer. Upstairs in her office, Stewart’s stomach was in knots. She had just gotten word that the California Supreme Court was about to issue an order. When the San Francisco judges declined to stop the marriages, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger demanded that the state’s attorney general, Bill Lockyer, do something. Lockyer indicated that he favored same-sex marriage, but the Democratic official pledged to uphold the law. Lockyer took the surprising step of asking the California Supreme Court to halt the marriages, without first seeking lower court review. He also asked the court to invalidate the marriages. As the minutes ticked by while she awaited the ruling, Stewart hoped the high court would simply say that it was declining to take original jurisdiction over the dispute. In the last 20 years, the Supreme Court had taken only a handful of cases directly. Still, she worried. To keep her mind occupied, Stewart ran through the legal issues with Deputy City Attorney Sherri Kaiser, a former Howard Rice associate who had followed Stewart to the city attorney’s office. Kaiser and her partner of 18 years had been married downstairs, as were about 10 other gays and lesbians who work in the city attorney’s office. Stewart and Kaiser were interrupted by a knock on the door. Their boss, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, walked in. “Did you hear that?” said Herrera about the awaited ruling. The 41-year-old first-term city attorney seemed excited. “I heard that it’s coming,” said Stewart. “I’ve been on pins and needles all morning.” “All right!” said Herrera, clapping his hands together. “Let’s take bets!” “Bets?” said Stewart, laughing nervously. Herrera predicted the court wouldn’t take the case for original review. Stewart demurred from wagering, explaining that she’s superstitious. Stewart didn’t know Herrera until he ran for city attorney in 2001 and asked for her support. In their first meeting, over coffee, Stewart says she was struck by his “directness and warmth and intelligence.” Herrera was then a maritime lawyer with a small San Francisco firm. Earlier, he had been a deputy city attorney in 1993 and served as chief of staff of the U.S. Maritime Administration during the Clinton administration. As city attorney, his first elected post, he has publicly embraced same-sex marriage. His office’s Web site features a picture of two women in colorful dresses holding hands that could be used in a lesbian cruise brochure. While Herrera is responsible for the city’s legal positions, it’s Stewart who has been managing the litigation. After Herrera left, Stewart and Kaiser continued a discussion of constitutional issues. The city maintains that Newsom had not just the right, but the duty to refuse to enforce a law that he believes is unconstitutionally discriminatory. And it’s a contention that has required considerable resources to defend. Seven city lawyers have been assigned to this litigation, and Stewart arranged for substantial pro bono assistance from Howard Rice. Stewart also coordinated efforts with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), which have intervened in the Superior Court cases, assisted by Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe. (Heller has a long relationship with both groups.) Shortly before 2:30, Stewart’s phone rang, but she didn’t pick it up. A few minutes later, Deputy City Attorney Scott Dickey, the one who had been trying to reach Stewart by phone, dashed through her doorway. “We heard from the court,” he said, panting. “What did they say?” said Stewart and Kaiser in unison. “It’s an OSC,” said Dickey, referring to an order to show cause. “They want us to stop issuing licenses.” Stewart showed no emotion. She turned to her computer and read aloud the order, which Dickey had e-mailed to her. By a 7-0 vote, the court had taken original jurisdiction to decide whether the mayor and the county clerk, who issued the licenses, had the power to ignore the law. In the interim, the court directed them to follow the law “without regard to [their] personal view” of its constitutionality. Indicating that it wouldn’t decide the constitutionality of the state’s marriage laws at this stage, it suggested that the parties file a new case in Superior Court that directly challenged those laws. “Do I better tell the clerk to stop?” asked Dickey. “Yeah, you better,” Stewart said. Stewart rushed out of the office to round up Herrera and talk to Mayor Newsom. Kaiser picked up Stewart’s phone to call her partner. “It’s bad,” she said into the phone, crying softly. “The Supreme Court is taking the case … . At least we got married when we could.” Kaiser regained her composure. “When you litigate, you have to be prepared for every outcome,” she said. “But this is painful.” At that moment another lawyer in the office was hurriedly typing a four-page constitutional challenge to the state’s marriage laws. The city wanted to file it before the courts closed that day. “It’s important for us to be the first to file,” explained Kaiser. “There are a bazillion potential plaintiffs out there, and we don’t want to lose control of this litigation against the state.” Stewart returned to her office after meeting with the mayor. “I think he took it well,” she said. After the initial shock, Stewart had already convinced herself they were in good shape: “At least we issued already more than 4,000 licenses. That was pretty amazing.” She continued, “One of the really bright things about this is [that the state Supreme Court is] signaling that they will let the constitutional issues be decided by the trial court … . That’s a very positive sign that they haven’t prejudged the constitutional issues, that they won’t grab it and smack it down … . So there’s good and bad. In a major way, it’s mostly good.” Stewart’s resilience was slated for another test before what promised to be a skeptical California Supreme Court. At press time her oral argument was scheduled for May 25. [For an update on that argument, go to "Same-Sex Weddings Argued". Given the unprecedented nature of Newsom's action, Stewart didn't have much clear precedent to work with. Stewart, who loves doing her own research, has rolled up her sleeves and pored through hundreds of cases. To support Newsom's right to disregard the marriage laws -- which clearly limit unions to a man and a woman -- she unearthed an 1896 opinion in which a municipal auditor refused to sign an official's salary check because he believed the official had been unconstitutionally elected. "I'm like a Jack Russell terrier," said Stewart about her obsessive research habits. "Jack Russell terriers will choke themselves [going after a rat] because they’ll keep their heads in a hole for so long.” The city’s briefs reflect painstaking research and passionate advocacy. One Supreme Court filing refers to the Holocaust and the My Lai massacre, noting: “‘I was just following orders’ is no defense to an official’s intrusion on citizens’ constitutional rights, even when the ‘order’ at issue is a duly enacted state statute.” Asked about her chances before the high court, Stewart tried to sound positive: “I think they’re compassionate … . I have to have optimism, because otherwise it’s too discouraging.” When Stewart talks about her years at Howard Rice, she likes to reminisce about her “dog” cases — the ones in which the facts were so ugly and the law was so bad that nobody else at the firm wanted them. There was the client who had been hit with a class action after doing a leveraged buyout of the Diet Center Inc. weight loss clinic chain. The plaintiffs were sweet, motherly types who had bought franchises and claimed they had been financially ruined by the company’s duplicity. “They were very homey, nice people,” Stewart recalls. Her clients, she admits, were not. First she defeated class certification, and then further narrowed the group of plaintiffs. She won summary judgment on some claims and convinced the judge that the remaining claims should not get a jury trial. She then argued that the dispute boiled down to whether the company’s projections were reasonable — a question for experts. None of the sweet, homey women took the stand, and Stewart won. “I was creating a trial on my terms,” Stewart states with pride. “I think my strength is figuring out the road map.” Stewart didn’t set out to be a partner at a law firm. Academics or public interest, that seemed more her style when she graduated from University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1981. But she liked working at the intellectually oriented Howard Rice and “fell in love with trial practice,” she says. Partner Kenneth Hausman, who worked closely with Stewart, says she is “unique in how smart she is,” and says he hopes someday to see her on the Supreme Court — state or federal. Stewart downplays her talents. “I’m not really bright by nature,” insists Stewart. “The way I have done well is digging and pushing and working hard.” To build her own practice, Stewart put herself out there in every conceivable way. In 1999 she was elected president of the Bar Association of San Francisco (the first openly gay person in the post), which raised her profile and helped her attract some clients. At Howard Rice she was bringing in around $1.5 million a year of business. But to have any power, she knew she’d have to move up to the $5 million to 10 million rainmaker level. “I’m not good at not having any power or voice,” she says. She didn’t doubt she could generate more business, but it would require hard trade-offs. “[The big rainmakers] didn’t get to use their lawyering skills,” she says. “They were keeping people happy, managing, supervising, constantly worrying.” In 2001 Stewart had major back surgery that took her out of the office for a good part of six months (although she continued working). That distance made her realize she needed new professional challenges. When the newly elected Herrera asked her to head his office’s litigation unit, she took a pay cut from roughly $500,000 to $176,000, higher, though, than Herrera’s salary. Four associates followed her from Howard Rice to city hall. The San Francisco city attorney’s office, previously headed for 15 years by Louise Renne, is one of the most aggressive and talented city law departments in the nation. Renne attracted partners and associates from the area’s top firms and let them run with cases that pushed the boundaries of what cities could do. San Francisco was the first government entity to sue the tobacco industry, and the defendants ended up paying $12 billion to California cities and the state. More recently the city took aim at the gun industry, but that suit fizzled into a meager financial settlement, although gun dealers agreed to some restrictions. Herrera has continued the tradition of raiding big firms for talent. The office has at least 20 lawyers from such firms as Keker & Van Nest and Morrison & Foerster. Leading a battle for same-sex marriage wasn’t on Stewart’s agenda when she came to city hall. Over the years Stewart had pushed for the acceptance of gays and lesbians and their relationships, but marriage seemed out of reach. “There was a point in time 10 years ago, even five years ago, when I didn’t think we’d see same-sex marriage in my lifetime,” says Stewart, sitting in her city hall office by a photograph of her commanding a dogsled in Alaska. “When Bowers came out — ugh,” she says, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick. “That the Supreme Court could issue such an angry, hateful opinion.” There, a 5-to-4 Court upheld a Georgia law criminalizing consensual sodomy. Chief Justice Warren Burger, in a concurrence, cited authority from 1803 that labeled sodomy “a heinous act ‘the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature. “ Over time attitudes shifted, largely because gays and lesbians refused to hide any more. “We’ve been open in our workplaces. We’ve brought pictures of our partners to the office,” Stewart explains. “People used to think of us as like these Martians and these monsters. [But] when people start seeing you as like judges, lawyers, and teachers, and the guy next door — when your partner and you go out and walk the dog as everybody else does, or you are raising a child — it changes the way people view you.” Stewart was born into a middle-class family in San Francisco, one of six children of an accountant and a nurse. Her parents divorced when she was 12, and, she says, “the family fell apart.” In high school she acted in plays and sang; in college at Cornell University she delved into geology and philosophy. “I studied my ass off in college,” says Stewart, adding that she loved every minute of it. To help pay her tuition, she worked at a coffee shop, where she met some lesbians. “I thought they were a bit of a curiosity,” she says. “I had this notion of lesbians as these weird, spinstery type of women.” Meanwhile, she says, “I kept banging my head against the wall with boys.” It wasn’t until her 1981-82 clerkship with Judge Phyllis Kravitch of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — when she had a “mad crush” on a woman — that she fully realized she was attracted to the same gender. Soon after she started dating women, Stewart came out. “I am really lousy at hiding anything,” she explains. And, she adds, “I was lucky enough to be at a firm and have a family that was accepting.” For the past 2 1/2 years, Stewart and her partner of 12 years, solo practitioner Carole Scagnetti, have been raising Natasha Payes, a 16-year-old African American girl. Stewart met “Tash” when she was mentoring the girl’s older sister in a “School-to-College” program that Stewart created when she was president of the San Francisco bar. When the older sister left for college, Tash’s family situation declined, and the girl came to live with the two women, who are now her legal guardians. Stewart still heads the 5-year-old program, which helps students from the city’s ethnically diverse Balboa High School prepare for and apply to colleges. Stewart has convinced lawyers from the city’s big firms not only to give money to School-to-College, but to travel across town to Balboa each Monday afternoon to counsel students. During these past frantic months, Stewart has continued to spend several hours each week at the high school. Each year she takes many of the students on a trip to the East Coast to visit colleges. To date, 80 students have gone to college through School-to-College, and nearly 40 are headed there this fall. On June 26, 2003, when the Supreme Court reversed Bowers, Stewart was ecstatic. Writing for a 6-to-3 majority in Lawrence v. Texas, Justice Anthony Kennedy held that Texas’ law criminalizing sodomy violated the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause. Kennedy questioned the attitudes that had fueled laws targeting homosexuals, noting that they have been rooted in “religious beliefs, conceptions of right, and acceptable behavior, and respect for the traditional family.” As important as those beliefs may be to many, he wrote, they cannot steer the law. “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.” In a slap at the prejudices that had justified Bowers 17 years earlier, the majority proclaimed, “ Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today.” Five months later, on Nov. 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that the state had no valid reason under the state Constitution to deny marriage to same-sex couples. A year earlier, Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Thomas Connolly had dismissed a challenge to the marriage laws filed by Hilary Goodridge and her partner and six other same-sex couples, reasoning that marriage’s primary purpose is procreation. In a 4-to-3 decision, the state’s high court said Justice Connolly was wrong. (“People who cannot stir from their deathbed may marry,” it noted.) Quoting from a U.S. Supreme Court opinion, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall noted that the history of constitutional law “is the story of the extension of constitutional rights and protections to people once ignored or excluded.” A STORY OF BACKLASHES The history of gay and lesbian rights has also been a story of backlashes. Gay activists were particularly stung by the lesson of Hawaii. In 1993 the state’s Supreme Court ruled that Hawaii could not exclude same-sex couples from marriage until it showed a compelling interest. But in 1998, with the case still in litigation and before any marriages were performed, nearly 70 percent of the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment that stripped the courts of the power to decide the law governing same-sex marriage. That power now lies solely with state legislators, who have given domestic partner benefits to gays, but not the right to marry. In California, in the wake of favorable court rulings on gay unions in Vermont and Canada, voters in 2000 passed Proposition 22. Winning by a 2-to-1 margin, it states that only marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in California. In Massachusetts, where at press time same-sex marriage licenses were scheduled to be issued on May 17, legislators have approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, although it can’t reach the ballot until November 2006. And recent events have ignited talk of a federal constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. When the Massachusetts high court issued Goodridge, 36-year-old Gavin Newsom was in a tight battle for mayor of San Francisco against a Green Party candidate. The son of a retired California appellate judge, Newsom represented San Francisco’s wealthy Pacific Heights area as a city supervisor. Gay marriage was not a hot campaign topic — both candidates said they supported it, and that hardly makes for news in San Francisco. Newsom has stated that his epiphany occurred when he attended President George Bush’s State of the Union address on Jan. 20 as a guest of House of Representatives minority leader and fellow San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi. Bush vowed that the nation “must defend the sanctity of marriage” against activist judges, using the “constitutional process” if necessary. “At that moment, I knew we had to do something in San Francisco,” said Newsom during an April speech to the San Francisco bar association. He immediately called his press secretary and asked him to find out how other cities had dealt with same-sex marriages. Newsom said he was “stunned” to find out that no other city had ever tried to remedy this discrimination. His decision to make history, he told the bar group, was a “no-brainer.” Stewart, however, was anxious when she learned of his intentions. “I wanted to make sure we gave careful and thoughtful advice,” she recalls. Stewart declines to say anything specific about communications between the mayor and the city attorney’s office, however, citing privilege. With less than a week’s notice, her office didn’t have time to draft an opinion, although they did prepare a memo on the law. Stewart also helped write a disclaimer that appears on all the same-sex licenses: It warns couples that they might lose any domestic partner benefits they have, and encourages them to seek legal advice. Many of Stewart’s friends had rushed to join the wedding lines — she knew at least 20 same-sex couples who tied the knot — but Stewart needed to keep some emotional distance. Scagnetti told Stewart they would wait until she won the case. “OK,” Stewart recalls saying. “No pressure, hon.” Gay and lesbian activists, who had nurtured this issue for years, were given a few days’ advance notice. “I was worried,” says Shannon Minter, the legal director of NCLR, who soon championed the mayor’s move. “This was very much outside anyone’s expectations or planning … . Some folks said we should slow down … . But [Newsom] was very clear this was the right thing to do and he was really going to do it.” For years, San Francisco-based NCLR and groups such as Lambda had pursued a strategy of patience. They focused on educating the public and bringing selected cases in favorable forums, such as Massachusetts, gradually swinging public opinion. Filing a challenge to marriage laws in California was not, most definitely not, part of the plan. Any court victory, they feared, would be obliterated at the polls in a state where voter initiatives are a powerful political force. The California Supreme Court has a mixed record on issues important to gays and lesbians. In 1998 the high court unanimously held that the Boy Scouts of America could ban gay members. But last August, in a decision heralded by gays and lesbians, the court ruled 6 to 1 to uphold the validity of “second-parent” adoptions, in which the same-sex partner of a biological parent can legally adopt the child. This is not the first time that the top court in California has been asked to review controversial marriage bans. In 1948, in Perez v. Sharp, California emerged as the first state to invalidate miscegenation laws. Wrote Justice Roger Traynor: “The essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice.” ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND Riverside County, roughly 450 miles south of San Francisco, is one of the fastest-growing counties in California. Housing developments and shopping malls, all of which look as if they’ve cropped up in the last three months, blanket the arid landscape. The Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian-based advocacy group headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., has an outpost here in the small town of Murrieta. In the reception area is an April issue of Inland Empire, a regional magazine with articles about local restaurants and spa weekends. It’s light reading, except for the letters to the editors. “What does tolerance have to do with the Gay Lifestyle?” demands one reader, in response to an earlier column about a writer’s visit to a gay bar. “Do we have to be tolerant of child molesters, rapists, wife beaters? … And one last thing: We didn’t make the rules. Talk to the Big Guy in the sky!” Another reader weighs in: “I find the whole gay marriage subject to be disgusting … . The whole problem with ‘gay-ness’ is that children see it, and it brainwashes them for life.” On an early April morning, Robert Tyler, a staff attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, entered the office with his arms full of files and papers. The next day he would be appearing in San Francisco Superior Court to argue that ADF’s client, the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, should be allowed to intervene as a party in the cases challenging the state’s marriage laws. (The day after the city filed its March 11 suit, NCLR, Lambda and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a similar challenge on behalf of same sex-couples, and the cases have been consolidated.) It’s been a busy few months for Tyler. The day after the marriages started, ADF filed one of the two Superior Court’s suits against the city. It also has a case before the state Supreme Court that will be heard as a companion case to the attorney general’s challenge. Shortly after Lockyer announced his plan to go to the high court to halt the marriages, ADF filed its own high court petition on behalf of three San Francisco residents. ADF’s petition was filed first, on Feb. 25. Tyler maintains that Attorney General Lockyer can’t be trusted to defend the law with vigor. “I have no ill will toward any homosexual person,” says Tyler, a 36-year-old real estate agent turned lawyer. Pleasant and engaging, he shies away from discussing his personal views about gays and lesbians: “We just want to do what we can to support the institution of marriage and what’s best for families.” Tyler, a father of four, points to studies that conclude that children do best when they’re raised with a mother and father. ADF has also submitted to the state Supreme Court writings by Stanley Kurtz, a fellow at the Hoover Institution, that posit that same-sex marriage undermines the institution of marriage. Kurtz links the rise of same-sex unions and marriages in the Netherlands and Scandinavia to a decline in the number of traditional marriages. Tyler also argues that if courts sanction same-sex marriage, they’ll be compelled to permit polygamy and incestuous marriages. The next day, in Superior Court, Judge James Warren, the grandson of the late Chief Justice Earl Warren, asked Tyler what harm would befall the Proposition 22 group’s 15,000 contributors if they weren’t allowed to intervene. How would they be harmed if gays and lesbians were allowed to marry? Tyler didn’t launch into a condemnation of homosexuality, or warn of a decay of morals, or even talk about the sanctity of marriage. He responded, instead, that his clients had an economic interest because a change in the marriage laws would affect the tax base. He also suggested that his clients had a stake in maintaining the exclusivity of heterosexual marriage, but didn’t press that point. An unpersuaded Warren denied the request to intervene. As the case moves forward, it will be up to the liberal Lockyer to shoulder the role of defender of traditional families. In court appearances and public statements, Tyler has avoided inflammatory rhetoric. In fact, he’s sounded more moderate than Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia did in his Lawrence dissent, in which Scalia railed against the “homosexual agenda.” Tyler explains that it wouldn’t be wise to stray beyond the matters currently before the courts. “The issue has been whether a municipal official can thumb his nose at state law,” he says about the case before the [state] Supreme Court. “To open the issues beyond that at this point is not good lawyering.” In San Francisco Superior Court, where the broader issue of the constitutionality of the state’s marriage law is at stake, gay-unfriendly language wouldn’t go over well. This is a bench where at least eight of the 40 judges — including presiding judge Donna Hitchens — are openly gay. One judge recently adopted a child with his same-sex partner and named the young boy Gavin, in honor of the mayor. Tyler and Stewart express an unlikely fondness for each other. “I kind of like Robert Tyler,” says Stewart. “There’s something kind of charming about him. I think he’s a decent human being.” Tyler calls Stewart a “pleasure to speak to.” Last year, the two faced off before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a challenge to a groundbreaking 1997 San Francisco ordinance that requires city contractors to offer the same benefits to domestic partners as they do to married couples. Stewart prevailed. Stewart says Tyler and his ADF team, which represented an Ohio company, were much better to deal with than the lawyers from the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, who represented United Airlines in that case. “We [and the ADF lawyers] had radically different views on the merits, but they were courteous, decent people,” says Stewart. The folks at Brobeck I can’t say the same for. It was very personal, and courtesies were not routinely extended. ‘BRING IT ON’ On Easter Sunday, Stewart is trying to relax at home in rural Novato, 30 miles north of San Francisco. Scagnetti is outside gardening, and Tash pads around in big fluffy Scooby-Doo slippers. Huey, a 5-month-old Jack Russell terrier, careens about the room, and Stewart fails miserably at getting him to settle down. (“Do not drink her juice!” goes unheeded.) Stewart is tired from the whirlwind of the last two months, and her back aches. The day before, the three attended a big wedding party that Sherri Kaiser and her partner threw to celebrate their marriage. Ninth Circuit judge William Fletcher, whom Kaiser clerked for, presided over their exchange of vows. Stewart says she wouldn’t have minded if Judge Warren had allowed Tyler and the Alliance Defense Fund to intervene in the constitutional challenge cases, even though the city officially opposed it. In fact, their presence in the case might have given the city a strategic advantage. “My view is kind of, ‘Bring it on!’” she says. “I actually think it might help our case to show how [ADF's position is] irrational and based on somebody’s view of religion and morals, but not on any kind of real valid or rational or logical justifications.” Stewart recalls hearing a conservative activist on the radio complaining that gay marriage had forced him to re-evaluate his marriage. Perhaps, she says, his marriage needs evaluating. “Maybe he’s afraid that if his wife takes off the apron, he’ll have to put it on,” she jokes. “I think the biggest difference in gay marriage is that everything is negotiated, like who takes out the garbage. It challenges the status quo. Carole and I joke about who is the husband and who is the wife. I’ve decided Carole is both. I’m kind of useless.” Except, that is, in court.
An Overview of Same-Sex Marriage Litigation First Wave: Religious advocacy groups filed two cases in San Francisco superior court on Feb. 13, the day after the same-sex marriages began. Both sought to halt the weddings. The judges declined to issue immediate relief. The actions have been stayed until the California Supreme Court issues its ruling. � Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund v. City and County of San Francisco. Lead plaintiffs counsel: Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund. � Thomasson v. Newsom. Lead plaintiffs counsel: Florida-based Liberty Counsel. Second Wave: These two suits asked the California Supreme Court to assert original jurisdiction and halt the same-sex weddings. These cases focus on whether city officials have the authority to disregard the marriage laws, not on the constitutionality of the marriage statutes. Arguments were scheduled for May 25. � Bill Lockyer, Attorney General of California v. City and County of San Francisco. Filed Feb. 27. � Lewis v. Alfaro (plaintiffs are three San Francisco residents; defendant Nancy Alfaro is the county clerk). Lead plaintiffs counsel: Alliance Defense Fund. Filed Feb. 25. Third Wave: These two suits were filed shortly after the California Supreme Court halted the same-sex marriages. Both suits, which have been consolidated, challenge the constitutionality of California’s marriage laws. They are in preliminary proceedings. � City and County of San Francisco v. State of California. Lead plaintiffs counsel: San Francisco city attorney’s office; Howard Rice. Filed March 11. � Woo v. Lockyer (plaintiffs are six same-sex couples). Lead plaintiffs counsel: ACLU, Lambda, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Heller Ehrman. Filed March 12.

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