Thanks to Sharon Anderson for sending this.
Thanks to Sharon Anderson for sending this.
I received an email from Emily with her comment, which I have posted. I went to her blog (which is wonderful!) and found a guest post from her brother that I have also included below. Thank you Emily and Greg for the inspiring words!
i wish comments were enabled, but here is my reply and i would like to do a guest post regarding the prop 8 issue:
Defining marriage as between one man and one woman is not taking away anyone’s rights. The definition simply distinguishes a union that is biologically capable of producing its own children. Whether a married couple has children or not, I feel like this deserves a separate name–even the potential is kind of a miracle.
Actually this definition can be seen as the ultimate expression of equality our society has to offer: it takes one man and one woman. One could see a lesbian union as a marginalization of men, or a homosexual union as a marginalization of women.
Equality is especially important when it comes to raising children. Children deserve/need a father and a mother. Neither parent should be marginalized.
Yes, many children are already growing up in single-parent homes. Prop 8 should be a reminder to everyone that as a society we need to assist and strengthen families as much as possible. Really, as a society we should be most concerned with the success and health of our families.
This is a guest post from my brother Greg, a lawyer from California:
I have thought a lot about Proposition 8 and the argument that some put forth that even if someone is personally opposed to same-sex marriage, the government should not be permitted to ban it because “you can’t legislate morality.”
This argument can be very daunting for good people who are understandably afraid of being accused of discrimination or being labeled as bigots or worse. It is important to remember, however, that all laws are based on a set of moral beliefs and always have been. From the earliest times, governments have enacted laws because they felt that certain actions were morally wrong—and should consequently be punished—or that other actions were morally right—and should be rewarded. If you think about it, you will realize that this is true and actually fairly obvious.
For example, we have laws that provide tax incentives to people that buy hybrid cars because our society has decided that it is morally correct to conserve more energy and use less oil. On the other hand, our society has enacted laws that limit a person’s right to smoke because we have decided that smoking can have detrimental effects on those around the smoker.
Laws regarding marriage are no different. Governments recognize marriages because marriages stabilize society, promote families, and have other positive impacts. For a society to survive and even prosper, procreation is essential. Promoting families is perhaps the best way to encourage procreation and there is no argument that children do best when they are raised in a home with both a mother and a father. Children need strong families with both positive male and female parental influences. This arrangement has been proven to have an extremely beneficial impact on society and this is the reason why government has the right to endorse only those marriages that are between a man and a woman.
In some countries in Europe, for example, the economy and structure of the society are being severely impacted in a negative fashion because of declining birth rates.
Proposition 8 does not take away an individual’s right to live or interact with another person in whatever manner or fashion they choose. Indeed, those that choose to do so are entitled already to receive additional rights as domestic partners. Proposition 8 states only that the state does not have to promote those relationships by calling it “marriage.” If Proposition 8 passes, marriage will be reserved for only those relationships that are between a man and a woman. This traditional definition does not take away the rights of anyone. It does, however, benefit everyone by promoting relationships that have a proven benefit to society because it encourages children and families that can best nurture those children.
Please do not be intimidated by those who protest that, because you support traditional families, your support of Proposition 8 means that you are imposing your morality on them. Every individual is free to make his or her own decisions and will be if Proposition 8 passes. As a society, however, we have the right to encourage behavior that is beneficial to the society as a whole. That is what Proposition 8 does and that is why I support it.
Guest Blog by Sharon Anderson
There are only three and a half weeks left before election day, and while most of the nation is focused on whether Obama or McCain is ahead in the poles, there is something happening in California that may make more of a difference than who is elected President. In California voters will be saying yes or no to Proposition 8.
In the year 2000, the people of California voted on Prop. 22, which stated that we recognize marriage to be the union of a man to a woman. Recently, and with full media support, four (only four!) California Supreme Court Judges decided that the people’s vote had no value (61% voted for Prop. 22) and they overturned th at vote. This ruling has opened a literal floodgate of homosexual mar riages in the state. To stem this tide and to strive to bring some semblance of morality back into California, Prop. 8 has been put on this year’s ballot. Prop. 8 will amend the California Constitution to read, ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.’ [Several] other state’s constitutions have similar amendments. In California Prop. 8 is facing fierce opposition.
On Wed Oct 8, the LDS church held a special broadcast on this proposition aimed at rallying members (and non-members) to work in a ‘grass roots’ effort supporting Prop. 8, the ‘marriage initiative’. While it was a political rally of sorts, t was reiterated several times that normally the church does NOT get involved in the political process — they will NEVER tell the members who to vote for, what political party they should align to, etc. However, when it comes to moral issues and be it known, THIS IS A MORAL ISSUE, they (the church) have the right or rather the obligation to exercise their right to free speech.
One attendee made the following observation: It should be emphasized that the intent of Prop 8 is not to bring “morality” back to California. It is far more than that. It is to prevent the destruction of our religious liberty and our freedom of speech, and to protect our right as parents to teach morality to our own children. Gays will continue to be gays, in virtually all cases, and Prop 8 has no intention of stemming the tide of civil unions. It is to prevent a Pandora’s box opening in which the Church and other churches will be sued to attempt to force us to change our doctrines, and other things I’ve already noted.
Another reported: “We were reminded over and over again, that we need to be sensitive (never rude or condescending) to others who do not share our moral values, however we must make a stand when we are confronted with moral issues. Many. . . struggle with same gender attraction on a daily basis. In a sense, they are no different than the personal struggles (temptations/sins) you and I have to deal with in our lives. Surely if someone held our personal temptations/sins up to public ridicule, we would be sorely offended. We should live as Christ did, by loving the sinner not the sin.
“We were also reminded that it is NOT SENSATIONALISM to think that were same gender marriage allowed to stand and to become legal, it could lead to extreme shifts in what is taught in our public schools (‘sex’ education for example). Also this will FORCE churches to marry same gender couples or loose their Tax Exempt Status. Those churches who would never capitulate or lower their standards would therefore become ‘illegal’ institutions. If we ponder this we can see why this is so serious.
“In a small production aimed at educating young people (and old) on the full ramifications of all this. Elder Bednar described ‘the Tyranny of Tolerance’. That is to say, tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street — you have your opinion and I have mine — let’s just get along. Unfortunately, we have been shown over and over again that the opposition will only ‘tolerate’ THEIR VIEWS as being acceptable. This is a form of TYRANNY at it’s worst; for they will never stop until we have EMBRACED their lifestyle and adopted their ‘morality’. He ag ain brought up the fact that public schools wil l have to teach this form of (im)morality in their ‘health’ classes. Parents (you and me) will teach the Lord’s standard at home, while everyday our little ones from K-12, will be force-fed (as with Darwin’s ‘Theory’ of Evolution) EVERY FACET of this ‘alliterative’ lifestyle. That is how serious this is! A plea was made for for young adults, married and not, to get involved and do all they can in their sphere. Young people with their skills in using the Internet and other electronic media (texting) can have also be a powerful influence in promoting this Proposition.
It has been suggested that individuals both in California and as well as in other states donate 4 hours/week to contact voters in California with the focus primarily being on ‘undecided’ voters as well as getting advocates out to vote. Perhaps we can stem the tide, even if but for a moment, by taking a stand for what is good and right.
For more information you can go to:
If you would like to help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for phone lists, get involved in blogs, talk to your friends in California and/or go to protectmarriage.com to give donations.
Please watch this video, and pass it on to you family and friends.
I received this from Family Leader today. With California set to vote on a marriage amendment in November, this issue is heating up on both coasts. We need to be aware and vigilant because as Maurine Proctor says, “civil unions or domestic partnerships can be easily morphed into marriage by the courts.”
Today the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the marriage law of that state was unconstitutional and must be redefined to include same-sex couples. The decision ends with a direction to the trial court to issue an injunction against the Department of Public Health, which means that same-sex marriages will begin taking place in that state as soon as the trial court acts.In Kerrigan & Mock v. Dept. of Public Health, eight gay couples had sued on the grounds that the state’s 2005 civil unions law did not provide equal protection under its constitution. The trial court had ruled that the essential equivalence between the state’s civil union status and marriage meant there was no constitutional deprivation in not allowing same-sex couples to marry, according to Bill Duncan of the Marriage Law Foundation.
The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that by creating civil unions, the legislature had relegated same-sex couples to “an inferior status in essence, declaring them to be unworthy of the institution of marriage.” The majority believed civil unions are not equal because marriage “is an institution of transcendent historical, cultural and social significance.”
One dissenting judge argued that the majority opinion was premised on a presumption “that the essence of marriage is a loving, committed relationship between two adults” but the actual purpose “is to privi lege and regulate procreative conduct.” The dissent also said “a couple that is incapable of engaging in the type of sexual conduct that can result in children is not similarly situated to a couple that is capable of engaging in such conduct.”
This is indeed a disappointing loss, but a reminder that civil unions or domestic partnerships can be easily morphed into marriage by the courts.
This article is disturbing and shows the trend toward restricting religions from teaching against homosexuality. For now gay activists are trying not to be too alarming regarding religious freedom and forcing acceptance of homosexuality, but step by step they will attempt to remove all obstacles. I believe they will eventually try and remove exemption status for churches who refuse to accept the gay lifestyle.
Gay marriage: a new bind for church groups
Religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, and others may be the next flash point.
Oakland, Calif. – The same-sex marriage march begins across California Tuesday, with thousands of gay couples expected to wed in the coming weeks. But some notes of discord and rebellion can already be heard above Pachelbel’s Canon.
Several county clerks have said they will stop performing marriage ceremonies for all couples, gay or straight. And the state supreme court, fresh from its decision to legalize gay marriage, will decide shortly on whether a private-practice doctor can deny artificial insemination to a lesbian couple.
As gay marriage gains wider legal footing, scholars anticipate a flood of such conscientious objector cases. A key flash point will be religiously affiliated organizations that serve the public, such as hospitals, schools, and adoption agencies, and hold beliefs opposed to gay marriage.
Gay rights advocates say the courts have found workable compromises so far. But opponents warn that religious groups may have to retreat dramatically from the public square unless legislatures agree to create some religious exemptions.
“As gays come out of the closet, conservative religious people are put back in the sanctuary,” says Marc Stern, general counsel for the American Jewish Congress in New York.
He expects legal battles ahead in religious schools, youth groups, and summer camps. Some recent cases have already alarmed lawyers for religious groups:
• In 2006, a Methodist group in New Jersey that rented out its boardwalk to the public for weddings lost tax exemptions after refusing to allow a same-sex commitment ceremony.
• In April, a New Mexico human rights commission charged a wedding photographer in Albuquerque thousands of dollars in legal fees after she refused, based on her Christian beliefs, a request to shoot a commitment ceremony.
• After the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, the legislature refused to grant longtime adoption provider Catholic Charities a religious exemption to let it place children with heterosexual parents only.
Stern notes that Catholic Charities in Boston ultimately withdrew from providing adoption services to the public. Though it lost its exemption case, he feels exemptions are the best way to avoid the cloistering of religious-based groups. . .
Stern suggests, however, that gay marriage tends to make sexual orientation more explicit in many contexts, such as hotel accommodations, making more clashes inevitable. And the high court’s rhetoric – comparing same-sex marriage bans to inter-racial marriage bans – threatens to elevate the level of protection afforded sexual orientation.
“If the courts threat this as a ban on racial discrimination,” says Stern, “then there’s not much likelihood that any religious claims will survive.”
From the Family Leader Newsletter today:
Ten Attorneys General filed a brief late Thursday asking the California Supreme Court to stay the May 15 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The AGs of Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah asked that the ruling be stayed until after the November election when California’s voters will vote on an amendment which could overturn the court’s decision. That ten state attorneys general have filed this brief demonstrates the huge ramifications of implementing the ruling prior to November’s vote. Unlike Massachusetts, California does not have a residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license, so same-sex couples from everywhere in the country could come to the state, get married, and go back and cause legal havoc in their own states.
“We reasonably believe an inevitable result of such ‘marriage tourism’ will be a steep increase in litigation of the recognition issue in our courts,” Utah Attorney General Mark L. Shurtleff wrote in the brief submitted on behalf of the 10 states.
The brief makes these points:
The Supreme Court has until the close of business on June 16 to decide on the stay request, but it also could give itself a 60-day extension to consider the matter. If the court does not grant the stay, local officials can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on June 17.
With 38 million out of a U.S. population of 302 million, the legalization of same-sex marriage in California is a major cultural earthquake for the whole nation. According to 2006 census figures, California has an estimated 108,734 same-sex households.
Same-sex civil unions are recognized in four states-Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire. Washington, Oregon, Maine, Hawaii, and District of Columbia offer domestic partnerships or some marriage-like rights to same-sex couples.
Voters in 26 states have approved state constitutional amendments that protect marriage.
Marriage is the basic building block of our society. If that foundation is faulty then the structure that stands upon it will crumble.
CALIFORNIA’S EPIC BATTLE FOR MARRIAGE AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
By Maggie Gallagher
They say we are tired of culture wars. Tell that to the California Supreme Court, which didn’t sound tired at all when it lobbed a big, fat hand grenade into the marriage debate.
Ideas have consequences. And the California court endorsed two big, brand-new, very bad ideas.
The first idea is that the internationally recognized human right to marry includes same-sex marriage. In U.S. constitutional law, fundamental human rights are those deeply rooted in our traditions. Not even in Massachusetts or incould the courts quite stomach the idea that same-sex marriage is deeply rooted in those traditions.
Not even the European Court of Human Rights or the www.marriagedebate.com.)Human Rights Committee has so ruled. In 2003, the ruled, “Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights protects only traditional marriage between two persons of opposite biological sex.” (For excerpts from these and other marriage cases see “Is Marriage Discriminatory?” at
So in rooting around for precedents, the California court had liberal recourse to our neighbor to the north, Canada. Like Canadian courts, the California court grounded same-sex marriage in a larger human right to form families of choice and to have the government sanction all family forms as having equal dignity. Polygamy anyone?
Moreover, Canada is the country that ought to be voted “Most Happy to Persecute in the Name of Tolerance.” Just last week the Orwellian “Human Rights” Tribunal of Ontario ruled that Christian Horizons, a charity that runs homes for developmentally disabled adults, engaged in illegal discrimination when it tried to ensure that its employees were practicing Christians who accepted Christian sexual teaching on adultery, fornication and homosexual sex. Worse than the $23,000 fine is a government edict that the organization submit to a re-education plan to change the group’s attitudes. So the second big idea endorsed by the California court is even less promising: Sexual orientation should be treated just like race under the equal protection amendment, subject to “strict scrutiny.” This is another historic first for a U.S. court.
This is a ruling which, if left undisturbed, means that Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims who see marriage as the union of husband and wife, and view sexual activity as best confined to marriage so defined, are in the exact position as racists under California law. In, a similar idea recently led a court to fine an Anglican bishop $100,000 for refusing to hire an openly gay man — as a youth minister in one of his parishes.
There are religious liberty defenses under the U.S. Constitution for youth ministers, but not for Christian schools, physicians, social workers, teachers, attorneys, psychiatrists, counselors or tax-exempt charities. The First Amendment will not protect us if our own governments (through the courts) decide that, for example, my Catholic faith is in itself a form of bigotry.
If gay rights advocates don’t really mean this to happen, why don’t they stop asking courts to rule in this way?
I’d love to get beyond the culture wars in this country. But so far, there are few signs that the courts, or the people who disagree with me, are content to let me.
Fortunately the people in California do not have to accept this outrageous and sweeping ruling. Working with Protect Marriage, NOMCalifornia.org (a project of the National Organization for Marriage, of which I am president) has raised $1 million this spring to get a state marriage amendment overturning this ruling on the ballot in November. The 1,122,000 signatures we have helped gather are far more than the 690,000 needed to qualify. We expect certification this June. The next step is to raise $10 million to get the message out.
In November, voters in California, like voters in, will have a chance to go on record: Should four judges overrule more than 4 million Californians who voted for Proposition 22 in 2000? We will fight for marriage and we will win.
Romney decries California following Mass. on gay marriage
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Former Massachusetts Gov.
Mitt Romney said today he’s disappointed California’s Supreme Court has followed his home state’s highest court in legalizing gay marriage.
Addressing thousands at an annual convention of the National Rifle Association, the former Republican presidential contender said he was unhappy “to see one more time a one-vote majority of a state Supreme Court overturn the will of its people. That is simply wrong.”
He also declared that cultural values were under attack, at one point describing his philosophical opponents as “looney liberals.” As he spoke, he sported a flag pin on his suit lapel, a display of patriotism he did not follow during his campaign.
“Liberals try to substitute their values for the rights that are enumerated in the Constitution,” Romney said. “They try and put abortion rights and gay rights into the Constitution while at the same time taking out religious liberty and the Second Amendment. And it’s time for us to try to stop trying to substitute counterfeit values for the values that were written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers.”
John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, as well as former UN ambassador John Bolton and White House political adviser Karl Rove, also addressed the crowd.
Romney, however, offered special perspective on gay marriage because of his home state’s experience with the issue.
In November 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court — by a 4-3 vote, approved same-sex marriages. They began the following May. Romney supported an amendment to the state constitution to ban gay marriage, but the Legislature thwarted that effort.
Now, by an identical 4-3 vote, California’s high court has struck down laws barring gay marriages. Weddings could begin next month. Opponents say they will now seek a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Romney described Americans as “family oriented” and said the majority of them oppose gay marriage.
Thank you to Sharon Anderson for bringing this to our attention.
Home Schooling Found Unlawful by California Court of Appeal
Los Angeles – In a stunning decision affecting thousands of families in California, the California Court of Appeal has issued an opinion finding no legal right to home school. “Parents who fail to [comply with school enrollment laws] may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program,” wrote Justice H. Walter Croskey whose opinion was joined by the other two members of the appellate panel.
The opinion was issued February 28, 2008, in a case titled In re Rachel L, which reversed a Superior Court Judge, Stephen Marpet, who found that “parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home.” The parents of Rachel L. enrolled her in Sunland Christian School, a private home schooling program. In his opinion, Croskey, 75, described what he called the “ruse of enrolling [children] in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent.”
Despite this statement by the Court, it should be noted that Sunland Christian School has been in full compliance with the requirements of the law for more than twenty years. “We’ve never been given an opportunity to represent our case in the Court of Appeal,” said Terry Neven, the president of the school. “Consequently, we are excited that PJI will represent us before the California Supreme Court so that the rights of home schooling families are preserved,” he stated further. In a section titled “Consequences of Parental Denial of a Legal Education,” the Court said that “parents are subject to being ordered to enroll their children in an appropriate school or education program and provide proof of enrollment to the court, and willful failure to comply with such an order may be punished by a fine for civil contempt.” “The scope of this decision by the appellate court is breathtaking.
It not only attacks traditional home schooling, but also calls into question home schooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private schools,” stated Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute “If not reversed, the parents of the more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions,” he continued. (www.pji.org)