Southern California gay couple loses Supreme court marriage battle
Anthony Cuesta | October 12, 2006
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled not to intervene Tuesday in a legal fight over same-sex marriage, denying an appeal from a gay Southern California couple who were turned down for a marriage license.
Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer
According to the Associated Press, the justices declined without comment to take the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer of Mission Viejo, Calif. The men had sought a marriage license in Southern California's Orange County in 2004 and, after they were turned down, filed a federal lawsuit that challenged federal and state laws against same-sex marriage.
A U.S. District judge said the federal Defense of Marriage Act was constitutional but declined to rule on the state ban because a separate legal challenge is making its way through California state courts, reports the AP.
Anti-gay marriage groups, however, welcomed the ruling.
�This is not just a good day for marriage; it�s a great year for marriage. The case drives another nail in the coffin of same-sex �marriage,�� said Matthew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, to the Christian Post.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed in May that the couple should await the outcome of the state court challenge.
Last week, a California appeals court upheld the state ban on same-sex weddings. That case appears headed for the California Supreme Court.
A trial judge in San Francisco last year declared the state marriage ban invalid because it violated the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Smelt and Hammer did not have the endorsement of major LGBT rights groups in their dispute, reports the AP.
Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the ACLU all of which are involved in same-sex marriage at the state level in a variety of states believe the issue of gay marriage should be fought on the local level before a federal case is mounted. – Issued by Gay Link Content
Advocates vow to appeal anti-gay marriage ruling in California