A California judge ruled on Monday that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and a violation of civil rights. Judge Richard Kramer of the San Francisco County Superior Court wrote in his ruling, “The state’s protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional,” the San Francisco Gate reported. Kramer’s ruling was prompted by lawsuits brought against the state by the city of San Francisco and by a dozen same-sex couples who got married last year during a brief time when the city of San Francisco, under Mayor Gavin Newsom’s order, was granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press. In August 2004, the more than 4,000 marriages that took place during that four-week period were invalidated by the California Supreme Court.
The ruling is expected to be appealed and will likely be settled by the California Supreme Court. Knight Ridder reports that the city of San Francisco will probably not be able to resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until all court appeals have been resolved. Currently there are two bills in the California Legislature that, if passed, would put a constitutional amendment on this November’s ballot that would ban same-sex marriage.
According to the Associated Press, Kramer is the fourth judge to have ruled that marriage and its benefits must be extended to same-sex couples under the constitutional right of equal protection. Two judges in Washington state last summer and a New York judge this February ruled similarly. Cases involving the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans are currently pending in Connecticut and Maryland.