Thousands of workers in female-dominated state jobs may proceed with a lawsuit claiming that California deliberately underpaid them because of their sex, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled in San Francisco. Patel rejected an attempt by the Deukmejian Administration to portray the suit as a "comparable worth" case not covered by federal sex-discrimination laws. The suit, filed by the California State Employees Assn., claims that 37,000 secretaries, nurses and others in 400 categories of predominantly female state jobs are paid less than workers in male-dominated state jobs. The association said the state's own studies have found pay gaps that cannot be explained by any factor other than sex discrimination. Deputy Atty. Gen. Janice Rogers Brown sought dismissal of the suit on the grounds that comparable worth is not covered by civil-rights laws and actually conflicts with those laws.