Press one of the expand buttons to see the full text of an article. Later press collapse to revert to the original form. The buttons below expand or collapse all articles.



Same-Sex Marriage is the Law

August 4, 2010 permalink

Judge Vaughn Walker, himself a homosexual, has ruled that same-sex marriage is the law, overturning California's proposition 8, passed by the voters in 2008. Who needs elections when you have judges?



Prop 8 ruling drives strong religious reactions: Outrage to joy

same-sex couple

Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, has been overturned by U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker and experts are picking their way through the 130+ page decision but the nation's bitterest battle over gay marriage will go on with appeals. And religious voices are issuing statements of sadness, outrage and joy.

First to respond: The Mormons, who were among the strongest supporters of Prop.8. A statement released this afternoon said:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today's decision. California voters have twice been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage in their state and both times have determined that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We agree. Marriage between a man and woman is the bedrock of society.

We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define and protect this most fundamental institution -- marriage. There is no doubt that today's ruling will add to the marriage debate in this country and we urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion."

rainbow flag

That civility plea is based in their experience: The LDS Church took heat from angry Prop 8 opponents in the wake of the referendum for their financial contributions and volunteer muscle. The Church did not make a direct contribution to from its Salt Lake City headquarters but it did have a letter read at every Mormon congregation in the state asking for believers to give time and money to the cause.

LDS Church spokesperson Kim Farah says there's no total for the dollars given but the Church estimated its non-monetary in kind contributions as valuing $189,903.58 -- "less than one half of one percent of the total funds (approximately $40 million) raised for the "Yes on 8" campaign," she said.

The 11 Roman Catholic bishops of California spoke as one through the church's lobbying arm in the state, the California Catholic Conference. The CCC executive director Edward (Ned) Dolejsi, who also serves on the executive committee of and the Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund -- two groups that take credit for the original successful passage of Prop 8 -- said Wednesday in a press statement:

We are disappointed in Judge Walker's decision to find Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Dolejsi cited the closing argument by Prop 8 supporters saying,

The historical record leaves no doubt...that the central purpose of marriage in virtually all societies and at all times has been to channel potentially procreative sexual relationships into enduring stable unions to increase the likelihood that any offspring will be raised by the man and woman who brought them into the world.

That the judge should find the marriage -- civilizations' longstanding public policy -- irrational and discriminatory does a great injustice to the institution itself and ultimately will further encourage the disintegration of mother-father families.

Homosexuals certainly have every right to the love, companionship and support of another person -- but the Courts do not have a right to distort the meaning of marriage.

Among supporters of same-sex marriage, the joy was abundant.

"Just another day in paradise!" is the way the Rev. Susan Russell, head of the gay Episcopal Group Integrity and pastor of All Saints Pasadena answered her phone Wednesday afternoon.

Russell points out that,

Progressive people of faith have biblical values, too -- and one of those values is telling the truth. And the truth is, if we're going to love our neighbors as ourselves, we need to be defending all marriages and valuing all families...

This ruling, says Russell comes down to a judge considering the religious arguments against gay marriage then concluding,

"No one has the right to write their theology into our Constitution (This) should be celebrated by people of all faiths, of any faith and of no faith.

Bishop of New Hampshire Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop whose election drove the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion into turmoil in 2003, was "delighted and encouraged" by the ruling. Robinson, recalling his youth in the segregated South, said there would still be Jim Crow laws on the books if the courts had not thrown them out. He said,

The fight is not over but the progress forward has certainly been strengthened by this. The most important thing is that the majority of the people may not always get it right. That's one reason we have the courts.

marriage man + woman

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Rev. Albert Mohler, unhappy though unsurprised by the ruling, zeroed in on what he considered its most dangerous aspect. Mohler, who also writes cultural commentary, said,

This clearly this is a huge boost to proponents of same sex marriage in terms of cultural momentum... In a society like ours the sense of cultural momentum is priceless. It gives proponents a sense of impending inevitability even as it upends millennia of human experiences and wisdom on marriage.

No one could possibly believe this was in the minds of the founders when they framed the Constitution. I greatly lament the social and political pitfalls.

But not all Baptists agree with Mohler. The Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, a practicing Baptist minister and President of Interfaith Alliance, found in the ruling "important distinctions between civil marriage and religious marriage. "

Gaddy said Walker's ruling ...

...was sensitive to the concerns of people of faith who oppose same-gender marriage on religious grounds but that he recognized, as do we, that their religious freedom will not be impacted by the legalization of same-gender marriage.

America's diverse religious landscape leaves room for a variety of theological perspectives on same-gender marriage; indeed, some faiths enthusiastically support it and others vehemently oppose it. Under this ruling, as with any constitutionally based marriage equality law, no religion would ever be required to condone same-gender marriage, and no member of the clergy would ever be required to perform a wedding ceremony not in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.

While the argument for keeping Prop 8 was that the referendum reflected the will of California voters, a recent survey found that those voters would have failed it by a slim margin if the vote were taken again today. The Public Religion Research Institute survey found a majority (51%) of Californians now say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Jones said Wednesday:

Although the debate is usually cast as being between religious conservatives and secular liberals, our survey found sizable religious groups on both sides of the debate. A majority of Latino and white Catholics, as well as white mainline Protestants would now vote to support same-sex marriage. On the other hand, Black and Latino Protestants, as well as white evangelical Protestants, oppose allowing gay and lesbian people to marry.

Rev. Barry W. Lynn head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State cheered the downfall of the referendum, which he says as a push by lavishly funded political front groups representing the Roman Catholic bishops, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and fundamentalist Protestant churches" to impose their doctrine on marriage on civil law..

In a Wednesday statement Lynn said,

A growing number of American denominations and faith groups perform same-sex marriages. Why should the state refuse to recognize those ceremonies while approving of ceremonies by other clergy? A decent respect for church-state separation means the government should not play favorites when it comes to religion.

Does the ruling suit you, confuse you, enrage you?


Bert and Ernie:  Support Gay Marriage