Culture,  Politics

Federal Judge Strikes Down Prop 8

This is a terrible decision, and I will have more to say about it later. For now, here’s a snippet and a link from the story in The New York Times:

“Saying that it unfairly targets gay men and women, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, handing supporters of such unions a temporary victory in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court. . .

“‘Proposition 8 cannot survive any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause,’ wrote Mr. Walker. ‘Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.'”


  • Charlton Connett

    I cannot wait to see what you additionally say about it Denny. I know that from a purely historical perspective I think this is a horrendous decision as it clearly violates the federalism concept upon which our nation was founded. There are any number of other problems, but the incorporation principle seems to have utterly destroyed the idea of individual state’s rights.

  • Nathan

    I don’t know the legal issues that this decision creates, but I think it is the logical and ethical thing to do, even though I believe in a one man / one woman / one lifetime concept for marriage. I think the government should stay out of creating / maintaining / influencing my religious definitions.

  • Derek

    The idea of hermetically sealing off a nation’s values from it’s laws is a nice idea in concept, but it can’t work. Every law a nation or city or leader establishes represents the core values of the leader or the people the leader represents. A predominantly atheistic country will pass laws consistent with an atheist’s core values and a predominantly Catholic state will pass laws consistent with a Catholic’s values.

    Plus, our nation is based on principles that encourage a person to elect representatives that reflect their core values.

    Our Constitution ensures that we will not be forced to worship a certain way or to worship, period. It does not force us to shed our core values at the voting booth or elective office.

  • Ryan K.

    What about the rights of those who are currently in a heterosexual marriage, not to have their vows redefined?

    This will have horrific consequences as gay “marriage” is not just about extending rights; but rather is about redefining an institution that has been the bedrock of civilizations for thousands of years.

    I know I have said this on here before, but in order for a civil right to be denied it first has to exist, and a right to change the meaning of the word marriage is not constitutionally granted to anyone.

    It is like a college male crying that his rights are being violated because he is not allowed to join the sorority and become a sorority “brother.” Yes it sounds absurd but that is the point, the sorority is not excluding him or denying a right to him, its just by definition of what a sorority is, he does not qualify.

  • RD

    This case was destined to overturn Prop 8. Months back Newsweek published a great article about this titled “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage”:

    The article is written by the former solicitor general under George W. Bush and the lead attorney on the case to overturn Prop 8. From the article: “The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly held that marriage is one of the most fundamental rights that we have as Americans under our Constitution. It is an expression of our desire to create a social partnership, to live and share life’s joys and burdens with the person we love, and to form a lasting bond and a social identity. The Supreme Court has said that marriage is a part of the Constitution’s protections of liberty, privacy, freedom of association, and spiritual identification. In short, the right to marry helps us to define ourselves and our place in a community. Without it, there can be no true equality under the law.”

    “Marriage is a civil bond in this country as well as, in some (but hardly all) cases, a religious sacrament. It is a relationship recognized by governments as providing a privileged and respected status, entitled to the state’s support and benefits.”

    “I understand, but reject, certain religious teachings that denounce homosexuality as morally wrong, illegitimate, or unnatural; and I take strong exception to those who argue that same-sex relationships should be discouraged by society and law. Science has taught us, even if history has not, that gays and lesbians do not choose to be homosexual any more than the rest of us choose to be heterosexual. To a very large extent, these characteristics are immutable, like being left-handed. And, while our Constitution guarantees the freedom to exercise our individual religious convictions, it equally prohibits us from forcing our beliefs on others. I do not believe that our society can ever live up to the promise of equality, and the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, until we stop invidious discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

    “We once tolerated laws throughout this nation that prohibited marriage between persons of different races. California’s Supreme Court was the first to find that discrimination unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed 20 years later, in 1967, in a case called Loving v. Virginia. It seems inconceivable today that only 40 years ago there were places in this country where a black woman could not legally marry a white man. And it was only 50 years ago that 17 states mandated segregated public education—until the Supreme Court unanimously struck down that practice in Brown v. Board of Education. Most Americans are proud of these decisions and the fact that the discriminatory state laws that spawned them have been discredited. I am convinced that Americans will be equally proud when we no longer discriminate against gays and lesbians and welcome them into our society.”

  • RD

    Ryan K.,

    I understand your sorority analogy, but I think the issue of same-sex marriage is much different.

    By denying same-sex partners the right to marry the government is denying each partner their basic constitutional right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Our constitution clearly states that all people are created equal and, as citizens, should be afforded equal rights to participate in legally recognized arrangements. By disallowing same-sex marriage the government is denying the legal rights and benefits of marriage to individuals based solely on their sexual orientation. That’s arbitrary (no different that denying a person’s right to marry someone because of their race or ethnic identity). Constitutionally it seems pretty clear-cut. Similarly, the government can’t keep a group of practicing muslims from building a religious house of worship in New York City or in Murfreesboro, TN simply because of the religion they practice.

  • Kelly

    Catholic countries will pass laws the Catholic Church likes…such as in Belgium, Spain, Portugul, Argentina…Mexico City and other Mexican states?

    This case was co argued by TED OLSON. The Judge is a REAGAN appointee, and folks, like it or, this WILL be see in years as one of those issues that people on the wrong (in this case, conservative side) will have their descendents appologize their ancestors behavior/opinions. Oh it will take a LONG time…but your grandkids, or their kids, will have a 1995 “Mea Culpa” moment to. (and trust me, well over a century before that one, people would have also said, “Never happen! We have scripture and common sense on our side!” too.

    RD…some religious conservatives may hate it, but, the extended quote you give in quote # 5 says it all.

  • Ryan K.

    “By disallowing same-sex marriage the government is denying the legal rights and benefits of marriage to individuals based solely on their sexual orientation.”

    KD as I said before this is simply not true. Since marriage by definition, is the union of a man and woman, there is no legal right that is being denied. Marriage by definition does not allow for to people of the same sex to be considered so. As I said before a male college student is not being denied any right by being rejected from joining a sorority, he simply does not meet the definition.

    Gays are not being discriminated from participating in marriage, they have the exact same right as anyone else, and that is to marry someone of the opposite sex. So lets be as frank as we can; this is not a debate about giving rights to gays to marry each other, it is about creating new rights and changing of the meaning of the term marriage that has stood for thousands of years.

  • Randy

    A court can try all it wants to, but it cannot redefine what God has defined. He created Adam and Eve and they became one flesh. Jesus reiterated this truth in Mark 10:5-9: But Jesus said to them, “Becasue of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from teh beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

    Saying this, let me say that the constitution of the United States does not trump our allegiance to the Scriptures. We stand on the scriptures first and then the consitution!

  • Steve

    I know some people might think this question is ridiculous, but will we next allow incestuous, polygamous, and pedophilic marriages?

    In his Dissenting Opinion from the 4-3 decision to overturn Prop 22, California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter said:

    “The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deep-rooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy. Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deep-rooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.”

    “That approach creates the opportunity for further judicial extension of this perceived constitutional right into dangerous territory. Who can say that, in ten, fifteen, or twenty years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”

  • Ted

    RD wrote: “By denying same-sex partners the right to marry the government is denying each partner their basic constitutional right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

    If the equal protection clause applies to marriage of same gender, then by that same logic, 3 people have the right to marry. In fact, any and every kind of marriage is permissible.

    Anything less is “discrimination.”

  • Nathan

    Marriage being one man / one woman / one lifetime is a religious concept that shouldn’t be enforced (even passively) by government.

    Separate-but-equal is never equal.

    If gay marriage is allowed, potentially less than 3 percent of the population would get gay married.

    Banning gay marriage precludes a certain set of people from gaining access to privileges to help them form a stable home.

    Banning gay marriage encourages gay promiscuity.

    I (along with the patriarchs) don’t find polygamy to be that abhorrent (legally). I personally believe it to be a silly proposition, but whatever.

    Laws should preclude people from injuring another. Nonconsensual sex is clearly injurious therefore sex with animals and children should be forbidden.

    The government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not just the religious and/or bigoted ones, but all the people.

    People should have the right to choose whom they will give their life to and the legal system should enforce those decisions — it’s not ALL about sex.

  • Ted

    Nathan wrote: “Banning gay marriage encourages gay promiscuity.”

    Promiscuity in the gay community is already rampant; it has nothing to do with “banning gay marriage.”

    Moreover, advocates like Andrew Sullivan have argued gays do not want “traditional” marriage that insists on fidelity to one partner alone.

  • Kelly

    Andrew Sullivan does not speak for all, or even most of the gay couples, married already or not, that I know….as a conservative Catholic, he is HARDLY the gay standard bearer Ted.

    Jordan, people here in the south said the same thing about government of and by the people crumbling when civil rights laws were put in place by the courts. They got over it. Was that the “will of the majority”? No. but, the majority was moved by bigotry at the time, often religiously motivated, concerning the status of ethnic minorities (blacks). As it was pointed out in this trial, it is the same situation here.

    Three take homes messages

    1) Majorities do NOT trump the rights of minorites in America. (happily, demographics are moving in a direction of greater tolerance on this issue in any case)
    2) Bigotry based on a conservative reading of the Bible is still bigotry.
    3) The people being oppressed, not the bigots, will be the ones pointing out when there is bigotry, and how the correction of it is to be achieved, not the bigots themselves.

  • Nate

    Nathan said, “Banning gay marriage precludes a certain set of people from gaining access to privileges to help them form a stable home.”

    Once again Nathan, here you are, defending homosexuality when you have stated you are not a defender of it. Allowing homosexuals to marry will breakdown currently stable homes (do you care?) and further erode the family, which has been slowly crumbling since the 1960s and the advent of no-fault divorce.

    “Laws should preclude people from injuring another.” The statistics already bear out that male on male homosexual sex is injurious, so why should they be given tolerance? Also, your assumption that those who oppose homosexual marriage are bigots is further evidence of your desire to promote homosexuality.

    “People should have the right to choose whom they will give their life to and the legal system should enforce those decisions.” Do you really understand the ramifications of this statement? You are only making this because you want homosexuality normalized, because surely you would not make this statement of all desires.

  • Kelly

    One last thought…to the intellectually desperate who are tyring the “net we wil have marriages of 18 people, men and dogs, women and cats, and adults and 6 year olds” arguement….

    When we lowered the voting age to 18 from 21, how long did it take for it to go down to 12?

    Children are not adults…as are two gay men or two lesbian women, and cannot sign binding contract without parental consent, so, thats not gonna happen.

    Animals cannot do this either…never saw a dog hold a pen or sign his name.

    Polygamy, in contrast to gay marriage, has been shown over and over to be detrimental to the health and well being of the women involved (read Spencers “broken dreams”) and to have a very negative impact on the rearing of the many children such unions make. NO respectable mainstream medical/psychological/pediatric organization or association that is not a front group funded by religious conservaties has found such negative effects for children of gay couples or the couples themselves.

    Lastly, one of my most loved relatives is 42. He is a member of a very gay welcoming PResbyterian congregation. He met his partner 20 yeras ago, and they have been happy, monogomous, and ‘settled down’. His friends from more conservative backgrounds tell him (and me) that they never felt this was a real option. Most of them partied, played the field, and have the emotional and helath scars for it.

    PLEASE, PLEASE think of this real world example when you work to make life harder for gay people. PLEASE. These are real humans with real relationships, just as good as yours, at stake. Thank you.

  • Kelly

    Nate, you are either ignorant, or a liar.

    I hope ignorant.

    HOW will gays marrying break up currently stable homes???????
    Same gender sex is injurious HOW? Among two monogomous, happy people in love?

    You will NOT be making such incorrect and libilous charges unchallanged.

  • Nate

    Kelly, gay-marriage does breakup currently stable homes because it redefines the definition of what a currently stable home is, will change the way schools, university and society teaches and defines “stable homes”.

    And your assertion that male homsexuality is primarily monogamous is laughable. The statistics bear out the promiscuity among homosexual men and the health issues regarding male on male homoseuxal sex.

  • RD

    I have to ask: how is a home where children are loved, spiritually and physically cared for, educationally encouraged and emotionally affirmed unstable? I don’t see how such a home can be labeled unstable. Now, are we saying that two same-sex partners can’t provide this environment for children? Are some of us REALLY making this claim?

  • RD

    Scholar and writer Valorie Elverton-Dixon writes poignantly:

    “When this nation came to birth, most African-Americans were slaves. The man who penned the Declaration of Independence owned slaves and could never think his way around the contradiction. He knew intuitively that in slavery, the nation had the wolf by the ears, it could not hold on and could not let go. The United States Constitution counted my ancestors as three- fifths of a person. Some interpretations of Christianity taught that Black people were ordained by God to be slaves because Noah cursed his son Ham. Science said people of African descent were less intelligent. Racism distorted every area of American life and made the idea of Black inferiority part of the air we breathed….I am so glad that Abraham Lincoln did not ask for a referendum before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. I am so glad that the Supreme Court did not wait for popular consensus before issuing the Brown v Board of Education decision that desegregated public schools. I am so glad the U.S. Congress did not wait for the end of racist attitudes before passing the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 or the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

    I grew up in the segregated south. I attended a Southern Baptist Church during those days. Even into the 1970s I was present when a single black family began to attend our church and their son accepted Christ as savior. When he was baptized I watched as dozens of people stood up from their pews and filed out, uttering comments like, “Who is going to clean the brown stain out of the baptismal pool?” They based their opinions on how they were raised and how they were taught to intrepret scripture. They were badly misguided. If we want to talk about what redefines the definition of an unstable home that is a pretty good jumping off point, I’d say.

    This is a very heated issue. It isn’t going to be resolved for decades and decades. But, like the issues of race, this issue of injustice will be overcome and the Church will change it’s views. I believe that because I believe that God would have it no other way.

  • Kelly

    Nate, then why have the American Medical Association, American Psycholigcal Association, ALL of the medical/psychlogical/sociologial Associations now Pro gay rights and or pro gay marriage? 🙂

    And PLEASE, STOP spreading false witness about large groups of people. That doing so is a sin is not debated by anyone. I know MANY couples who are same gender, and utterly monogomous. Did you BOTHER to read the last part of my post # 17? I gave you a REAL WORLD example of a person who is in a monogomous civil union going on 20 years monogomous, happy and healthy, and now parents! He and his partner saw what earlier generations did not think possible… a community that would love and support them and HELP them in their lives together…and a faithful couple. Why are you so determined to take that away from people?

    You “arguement” about stable homes is…well…it does not even make sense! If a man and women in a marriage are so easily broken up because two women a block over are married, well…was it really a stable home to begin with? If little Tommy likes boys, he will like boys whether or not there is gay marriage. If he knows he can someday have a happy marriage and home, maybe he will 1) get married, adopt some kids, get a mortgage, go bald, die of old age 2) NOT marry a woman, play on the side on business trips with men, and have an ugly coming out when he is 46…I have seen this over and over. And trust me, from the wifes standpoint, I know from listening to women who have experienced it….not fun. Not fun at all.

    Sorry…the facts, the major medical and psychiatic and psychological associations, and increasingly the church and society, do not back up your arguments.

  • paul

    “What about the rights of those who are currently in a heterosexual marriage, not to have their vows redefined?”

    that quote deserves another…

    “what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard…Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  • Chris

    The sin of selfishness has won another battle but has already lost the war! It makes no difference what a secular government decides. God’s designs rule forever!

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