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  • Ruled by Professors on the Meaning of Marriage?

    Gavel and scales of justice

    This week in a federal district courtroom in San Francisco, the trial that could alter the future of the institution of marriage came to an end.  The closing arguments featured prominent national attorneys seeking to answer 39 final questions framed by the presiding judge, Vaughn Walker. At issue is the contention of plaintiffs that Prop 8, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that was adopted in November 2008, violates the U.S. constitution.

    The National Organization for Marriage, whose California entity was one of the prime proponents of Prop 8, alongside the organization Protect Marriage.com, featured author and columnist Maggie Gallagher live-blogging from the courtroom, as well as live Twitter feeds from various viewpoints on the case. The final oral argument came later than expected due to delays over disputes regarding the access of Prop 8 proponents to the campaign emails of groups that favor same-sex marriage. The issue arose when Judge Walker previously ruled that Prop 8 proponents were required to turn over their internal campaign emails to the same-sex marriage advocacy groups.  The pro-Prop 8 groups motioned to level the playing field on such access.

    The entire process of examining subjective voter motivations underscores a major sub-theme in the case, since not only is the definition of marriage at issue but so also is the ability of the nation’s voters, not only in California but in the dozens of other states that have amended their constitutions to protect traditional marriage, to debate and resolve contentious issues of social policy.  That fact has only further tempted advocates of federal judicial intervention in California to equate belief in the importance of traditional marriage with racial bigotry, a charge strongly disputed by current African-American leaders as well as the historical posture of leading religious groups that fought Jim Crow laws and bans on interracial marriages.

    Media reports have made much of the prominence of the attorneys who have stepped up to try to overturn California’s voters’ considered decision to protect traditional marriage. Those attorneys in turn are making much of the expert testimony submitted to the district court that the adoption of same-sex marriage will produce only benefits and no harms to marriage and to children.  Government by a select few (“rule by professors,” as Gallagher termed it in her on-site blog) — including a judiciary being asked to enact legislative policy from the bench — rather than government of, by, and for the people was very much at stake in Judge Walker’s courtroom.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Ruled by Professors on the Meaning of Marriage?

    1. Paul says:

      Religion was actually used over and over again to claim that interracial marriage was immoral. You should get your facts straight. In fact, most major religions were against interracial marriage.

    2. Johan says:

      "a charge strongly disputed by current African-American leaders"

      Hmmm… Let's see here. How about Julian Bond, who spoke up in defense of same-sex marriage throughout the No On Prop 8 campaign? Or the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who staunchly opposes constitutional amendments which ban same-sex marriage? Are those African-Americans not leaderly enough for you?

      How about Coretta Scott King, wife of one of the greatest civil rights leaders this world has known? She has said that, "For many years now, I have been an outspoken supporter of civil and human rights for gay and lesbian people. Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla., and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions."

      She's at least in part referring to Bayard Rustin, among others, who was a good friend and staunch supporter of MLK and his wife Coretta.

    3. Robert Reed, Kansas says:

      Paul, please cite your sources for your statement "In fact, most major religions were against interracial marriage." When citing sources, please clarify if by "major religions" you mean root (i.e. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.) or if you mean denominations (i.e. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, etc.).

    4. Pingback: World of Islam » Blog Archive » What Do Muslims Believe?

    5. delores ryan -938 ru says:

      God made us all equal but difference in cultural and i think we should love,respect

      be nice and kind to each other but marry with-in our on cultural and between a man

      and a woman so we can reproduce and keep the world going.


    6. delores ryan -938 ru says:

      God made us equal, but difference in culture. We should love, respect, be nice and kind to each other. Marriage should be with-in your culture between a man and a

      woman to reproduce to keep the world going.

    7. delores ryan -938 ru says:

      I have sent my comment and i do not know what you mean by moderation.

      This is my belief.

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    9. Bob B.C. Canada says:

      The issues at the core are those about separation of Church and State, the defendants in the case, are funded by Churches, and that is the reason they FEAR, disclosure.

      The main argument in the case was the best interests of CHILDREN, The defendants in the case basically stated it is in best interests of the chld to be raised by both biological parents.

      This is of course, after their attempts at anielation of indigenious peoples by taking their children from the arms of loving parents, and placing them in boarding schools, funded and run mostly by Churches with the governments sanction, to be abused spiritually, psychologically, and pysically.

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    12. West Texan says:

      Religion aside, it's up to state residents to decide if they're OK with same sex marriage being central to their daily lives and culture. The voters of California have spoken. Activist judges who seek to overturn these voters' decision about same sex marriage need to be unseated for undermining the law. With this in mind, the church has every right not to recognize homosexual unions as such behavior is an abomination to the tenets of their faith. Remember to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.

    13. Straight Grandmother says:

      No the majority may NOT vote away anyone's fundemenatal constituitional rights. This is why our founding fathers set in stone that certain things all of us have and they can't be voted away, our constituitional rights. Thomas Jefferson referred to this situation as the "Tyrany of the Majority." What if the majority of the population was Muslim and voted in that all women have to wear a full burqua. No can do, our constituitional freedom of expression as part of our right to free speech, says we can wear what we want. Shortly you will see a ruling that we also can marry whomever we want. T'aint none of your bidmess!!!

    14. Alexander Soble, Was says:

      @West Texan — Of course the church has every right not to recognize gay marriages. Overturning Prop 8 wouldn't change that one bit. No church would be required to bless gay couples. The only thing that would change would be that courthouses wouldn't be able to turn away committed gay couples who've decided they're ready to marry.

    15. HawkWatcher, Mi. says:

      I agree, Texan. If the notion of instituting gay marriage can be sold to the majority of voters, then so be it. So far, it hasn't been sold.

      To make policy through the courts is wrong, and especially aggravating in the higher courts. Nine unelected justices, seemingly unanswerable to any other branch of government, deciding what our laws will be like. I can't find this power in my copy of the Constitution, can anybody help me? In fact, it seems that all three branches have been disrespecting the Constitution for many decades, twisting and torturing, stretching the simple limitations placed upon them by our compact.

      If the voting in November follows many past election results, close to 90% of incumbents may be re-elected. We need to shave at least 70 points off that number! Less than two out of ten representatives deserve our votes. Work hard against the incumbents and insiders that no longer represent us. Help elect regular conservative Americans who know the Constitution and are willing to repeal and correct bad legislation. It's easy to find them, they're nationwide, and you can contribute directly to their campaigns online. We can fix this!

    16. West Texan says:

      Straight Grandmother twisted Mr. Jefferson's message about tyranny of the majority. He was talking about the right of people to feel they and their property are secure under the law from tyrannical forces, such as mob rule. It had nothing to do with forcing the larger society to trash its values in order to accommodate gay marriage. Marry whomever you wish. But don't expect civil laws to automatically recognize the union.

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