A lawsuit challenging California’s gay marriage ban got underway yesterday in the Californian Superior Court.

Twelve same-sex couples who had their marriages annulled, plus the City of San Francisco, are claiming California’s Supreme Court has breached the state constitution by not allowing same-sex couples to tie the knot.

At the beginning of the court session Judge Richard Kramer said he would not make a ruling this week, but will issue a written decision at a later date.

National Center for Lesbian Rights attorney Shannon Minter told the court same-sex couples who want to marry are seeking nothing more and nothing less than the opportunities available to others in the state, 365gay.com reported.

They want the same right to marry the person of their choice, to take on the rights and responsibilities of caring for each other, and to provide for the security of their children, he said.

Minter’s arguments were echoed by San Francisco’s Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, who told Judge Kramer the state ban on gay marriage violates the California constitutional rights of equality, liberty and privacy and should be struck down.

But lawyers for Attorney General Bill Lockyer argued that the law limiting marriage does not violate California’s constitution. They said the traditional concept of marriage is deeply ingrained in the state’s history and that there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage.

If California legalises gay marriage it will be only the second US state after Massachusetts to do so.

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