SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After sanctioning more than 2,800 gay
marriages in the past week, the city said yesterday it is suing the
state of California, challenging its ban on same-sex marriages on
constitutional grounds.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he planned to file the suit by
late afternoon.“The city and county of San Francisco is going
on the offensive today to protect the mayor’s action”
allowing gay marriage, Herrera said.

Two judges already are considering challenges from conservative
groups seeking to halt the marriage spree that began last Thursday.
The city’s lawsuit asks that those cases be consolidated into

Mayor Gavin Newsom said he doesn’t regret giving out
marriage licenses before the city filed a legal challenge to the
state’s marriage laws, but added that he’s glad the
question is now in the courts.

“I think what we have done is affirm marriage here in San
Francisco,” Newsom said. “We affirmed it because we are
celebrating people coming together in their unions. I feel affirmed
as a married man by what’s happened here in San

A lawyer for a group trying to halt the gay marriages described
the city’s move as a delaying tactic.

“This is as much a maneuver to keep this in court and keep
the issue alive as it is anything else,” said Benjamin Bull,
an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund.

The city is asking Superior Court Judge James Warren to declare
unconstitutional three sections of the California Family Code that
define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

City officials want the judge to determine if barring same-sex
couples from marrying violates the equal protection and due process
clauses of the state constitution.

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