• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • A Victory for Marriage and Democracy

    Today the California Supreme Court rejected requests by same-sex marriage advocates to strike down Proposition 8, the ballot measure that democratically superseded an earlier decision by the California Supreme Court that redefined marriage to include same-sex unions in that state.

    In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court interpreted the California Constitution to require that same-sex couples be allowed to obtain civil marriage licenses in California. Under a domestic partnership scheme, California law already provided same-sex couples almost all the state law benefits associated with civil marriage, but the California Supreme Court declared that constitutional principles entitled same-sex couples to use of the word “marriage” for their relationships.

    Following that judicial decision – which Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Robert Alt called “the Mona Lisa” of activist legal opinions – certain Californians used an initiative procedure to put a constitutional amendment protecting marriage on the November 2008 ballot. That measure, known as Proposition 8, passed by a majority of votes and added a new, 14-word section to the California Constitution that defined marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.

    After a majority of voters chose to support Proposition 8, same-sex marriage advocates attempted to circumvent the political process once again, this time by asking the California Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8 after it had already passed. Same-sex marriage advocates surely held some measure of hope for success – after all, this was the same court that, in redefining marriage to include same-sex unions, had struck down an earlier initiative that made it California law to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage advocates apparently hoped that the court would once again be willing to override popular will and discover some basis to strike down Proposition 8, thus perpetuating same-sex marriage.

    But, today, the California Supreme Court disappointed advocates of same-sex marriage by concluding that Proposition 8 was a valid exercise by California voters of their right to amend their constitution.

    Though today’s decision means Proposition 8 stands as an important victory for the “7 million Californians who worked hard to protect marriage as the union of husband and wife”, the price of that success has been high. Many individuals and institutions that supported Proposition 8 have been targeted for reprisals and intimidation: some Prop 8 supporters have been pressured out of their jobs; some have had their businesses targeted for reprisals; churches have been vandalized; a copy of The Book of Mormon has been set on fire on the steps of a Mormon church; and suspicious white powder was sent to certain Mormon temples. Some individuals who supported Prop 8 have even received death threats.

    Incidents like these reinforce predictions that redefining marriage to include same-sex unions will foster a climate of hostility toward the public expression by those who believe that marriage properly is limited to one man and one woman.

    Following today’s decision upholding Proposition 8 – which also validates the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before Prop 8 passed – several recently-married same-sex couples reportedly “vowed they would commit acts of civil disobedience in response to the ruling”. One can only hope those acts of disobedience will be more “civil” than protests launched by other activists disappointed with the outcome of the political struggle to define marriage in California.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to A Victory for Marriage and Democracy

    1. Ryan McConnell, Paci says:

      Being a Bay area conservative, I applaud the Court on its decision. The will of the people won the day. This is truly democracy in action.

    2. Debra Haug, Bellingh says:

      The people have the right to define their society and culture through their laws. This is a clear statement of what the people want their society to be and it was heard. Bravo.

    3. Rev. Gonzales, Idaho says:

      It is a shame that the Court has now declared open season on putting minority rights to the ballot box. Minorities, irregardless if we agree with them or not, should not have to battle to protect their rights at the ballot box.

      As a member of the Clergy I cry when I watch both sides of the debate treat each other with such inhumane cruelty. We must understand that this issue is not going to go away and we must face it with courage and compassion. Homosexuals are people as well, who have hopes and dreams. They pay taxes, serve in the military and hold offices at every level of government, there should be no reason to deny them the legal right to a civil marriage.

    4. Shawn, Ind. says:

      the bible says "Adam and Eve" not Adam and Steve. it's right there in black and white.

    5. Wanda Jones, San Fra says:

      There are some principles that seem to have been forgotten:

      "equal protection under the law"

      "pursuit of happiness"

      "separate but equal" is not equal…

      "separation of church and state"–(the biblical definition of marriage is a religious construct.)

      "Tyranny of the majority."

      As a married person of a two-gender set, I cannot for the life of me figure how a gay couple's marriage disturbs mine in any way. This is perhaps temporary madness of the people who believe that it is okay to look down on other people.

    6. Bill says:

      This is discrimination. Plain and simple. Everyone quoting the bible is just making their prejudices the law. It's bigotry. No other explanation.

      There is nothing immoral about me. And my relationship is the equal of any straight marriage.

      It's extremely hurtful to have an anti-gay epithet symbolically written into the constitution.

    7. David, USA says:

      "Gay" isn't a right, it is a way of life. If someone feels they must be gay then that is a choice they must live with. Marriage has always been a man and a woman and it needs to stay that way. If you are gay you should be happy for the freedom you have to live your life and stop trying to steal marriage from the straight community. A civil contract is fair, be happy and stop whining.

    8. Extirpates, San Dieg says:

      California and the United States are or were Republics. The state flag says California Republic. The injustices made a politically correct decision, not a legally correct, The correct answer was yes to one and no to the other, not yes to both. This decision shall also be knows as the California attorney perpetual employment act.

      The historical record is replete with same sex "marriages" dating back to 1850.

      Has the law changed or is it the feeble minds that interpret the law?

    9. HOUSTON says:

      I HAVE A VERY DIFFICUT TIME UNDERSTANDING HOW AMERICA HAS THAT MANY TROUBLED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. I BELIEVE A VERY FEW, THE REST ONLY WANT TO HAVE THEIR WAY OF LIVING. SO TO THEM I SAY MARRY A CAT OR DOG OR MONKEY. IF YOU WANT TO LIVE TOGETHER FOR TAX PURPOSE OR FOR THE REST OF SOCIETY TO CONDONE YOUR LIVE STYLE.

    10. Kent, VA says:

      Why does the word "marriage" have to be redefined? Why can't marriage be defined as the union of a man and a woman? Why does the lack of the use of the word marriage deny anyone of a legally binding, same-sex union?

      If the CIVIL rights are protected, and if inheritance and other issues are corrected so that homosexual couples are not deprived of civil rights, why can't we retain the definition of MARRIAGE as a union between husband and wife?

      The coercive actions by those who want to destroy Prop 8 — actions of intimidation, destruction, and cruel discrimination — remind me of the actions of the local KKK. Why would those in favor of eliminating Prop 8 use such tactics????????

    11. Angel, Ohio says:

      What a waste of time and energy? Gays got civil unions which gives them the same rights as marriage — Why do they need same sex marriage.

      For over 4000 years marriage has been between a man and a woman — why can't you just leave it alone? Get over it.

      The voters spoke, You need to listen.

    12. Keep The Change, FL says:

      To all those that are bemoaning the FACT of Prop 8, either get a life or CHANGE THE LAW! Do the HARD WORK, and get a Constitutional Initiative on the ballot to CHANGE YOUR STATE CONSTITUTION! And STOP trying to get around the law, by getting activist judges to do it for you!

      Sheesh, you would think this is rocket science!

      You've gotta stand for something, or you'll fall for anything!

    13. Pingback: ADF Alliance Alert » “A Victory for Democracy: California judges leave gay marriage to voters.”

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×