By Maura Dolan
Times Staff Writer

August 11, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court decided Wednesday to put off for at least a year a decision on whether a state ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

The state high court agreed in a closed session not to hear an appeal of a trial court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage until an intermediate Court of Appeal in San Francisco reviews the dispute.

The decision disappointed Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, who had wanted to bypass the 1st District Court of Appeal and go directly to the Supreme Court, which has the final say on matters involving the state Constitution.

Lockyer said he had hoped for a "timely resolution" but would now pursue an appeal of the decision favoring same-sex marriage in the appeal court.

Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for a group that opposes same-sex marriage, said the high court’s decision would "cut off any possibility of a final resolution any time soon."

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer ruled in March in favor of a challenge of state marriage laws brought by the city of San Francisco and gay men and lesbians who were denied marriage certificates.

Opponents of same-sex marriage are hoping to gather enough signatures for a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in a way the courts could not rescind.