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A Victory for Marriage and Democracy

Posted By Thomas Messner On May 26, 2009 @ 6:01 pm In First Principles | Comments Disabled

Today the California Supreme Court rejected [1] requests by same-sex marriage advocates to strike down Proposition 8, the ballot measure that democratically superseded an earlier decision by the California Supreme Court that redefined marriage to include same-sex unions in that state.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” [2] 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” [3], the price of that success has been high. Many individuals and institutions that supported Proposition 8 have been targeted for reprisals and intimidation [4]: 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. [5] Some individuals who supported Prop 8 have even received death threats. [6]

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. [7]

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”. [8] One can only hope those acts of disobedience will be more “civil” than protests launched by other activists [9] disappointed with the outcome of the political struggle to define marriage in California.


Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/05/26/a-victory-for-marriage-and-democracy/

URLs in this post:

[1] rejected: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S168047.PDF

[2] “the Mona Lisa”: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,357841,00.html

[3] “7 million Californians who worked hard to protect marriage as the union of husband and wife”: http://www.nationformarriage.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=omL2KeN0LzH&b=5075189&ct=7040443

[4] targeted for reprisals and intimidation: http://www.foundry.org/2008/12/08/blatant-religious-hatred-in-california/

[5] 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.: http://www.heritage.org/research/religion/sr0036.cfm

[6] Some individuals who supported Prop 8 have even received death threats.: http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=6494921&pt-print

[7] 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. : http://www.heritage.org/research/family/bg2201.cfm

[8] “vowed they would commit acts of civil disobedience in response to the ruling”.: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124334333001454329.html

[9] protests launched by other activists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VziklUbtHAE

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