On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council will consider joining other local governments across the state in asking the California Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriages.

If approved by the council, the city of San Diego would sign onto a friend-of-the-court request, known as an “amicus brief,” that other California cities and counties have endorsed in support of legalizing same-sex marriage.

The proposal to the council, sponsored by Councilwoman Toni Atkins, reads:

The amicus brief argues that the mere desire to exclude a traditionally disfavored group — even a desire that is popular and of long standing -can never be a constitutionally sufficient reason to deprive Californians of any right conferred by the laws of this state. The brief further asserts that the creation of a separate, but somewhat less equal, institution for same sex couples — that is, domestic partnership — does not fulfill the state’s obligation to equal protection. Not only is domestic partnership an inferior institution because it provides fewer rights and obligations than marriage in a variety of ways, it is also inferior in that it does not carry with it the societal imprimatur of approval and support for a couple’s commitment to each other that is associated with marriage.

The state Supreme Court is considering the issue in lawsuits that numerous same-sex couples filed after their marriages were deemed unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeal in 2006. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom had issued the marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but those were overturned and subject to the court review in 2004.

The cities of Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and San Jose and several Northern California counties have signed onto the amicus brief. The deadline for the city of San Diego to join is Sept. 17, according to legislative materials.

The issue will be considered Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers, located at 202 C St. in downtown San Diego.


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