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May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court Upholds Prop. 8

But the 18,000 same-sex marriages between May and November are still valid, court says.

Christianity Today readers interested in the California Supreme Court decision and related news coverage will also be interested in Books & Culture's new review of Andrew Marin's Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community.


The responders both fail to recognize that every judge is apply the law and constitution in a way that makes policy, and white males have been too often unchallenged in their preconceived notions.

The responders both fail to recognize that every judge is apply the law and constitution in a way that makes policy, and white males have been too often unchallenged in their preconceived notions.

"Separate but equal" isn't likely to be a good idea in the long run, even if it does bring some very overdue protections for some same-sex couples.

It's the capricious, spotty and somewhat condescending way in which those benefits, and they are benefits, not rights, are handed out that is upsetting to me. If those benefits are not rights, and can be capriciously handed out, they can just as capriciously be taken away...which is apparently what religious-right activists are working to do.

I was in high school when laws against "interracial" marriages were finally overturned by those dreadful "judicial activists" on the Supreme Court. Civil rights are apparently affirmed, usually long past when they should have been, by "judicial activists legislating from the bench," rather than by judges who have read the Preamble to the Constitution as a guide to interpretation.

When my grandfather was born, a large percentage of the adult population was prohibited from marrying because they were enslaved.

Despite claims from religious conservatives, the world did not end when enslaved people were freed...though it did for all those who died in the turmoil of the Civil War.

Half of the population that was allowed to marry weren't allowed to vote, and had less access to education etc.

Despite predictions from religious conservatives, the world did not end when women were allowed to vote and run for office...though my grandfather, who lost an election to his sister in law, may have thought differently that day. Still, it gave him an excuse to retire early.

Today, a smaller, but still significant percentage of the adult population is prohibited from consensually marrying for love, because because because...but for no morally and intellectually valid reason at all.

There hasn't been any reason to prohibit same-sex marriages, ever; except for the politics of identity, the thought that patriarchal authority was challenged by any sort of equality -- anywhere -- at any time -- for any reason, sheer ignorance, a fear of the "other" even when the "other" is their neighbor, if not child, and an unseemly and heretical need for a handy scapegoat.

That has been especially so since the Kinsey reports in the late Forties started to sweep away sexual/psychological/sociological misconceptions. No truly moral person, in my opinion anyway, today cares if a person is Gay or not...unless one is looking for a date...lol.

People who vote for marriage inequality, which history has shown to be vicious assault on the Golden Rule and America's highest ideals of justice for all, should be quite ashamed of themselves.

Too many religious conservatives have been accusing other people of "sin" for far too long, not with all that much noticeable love, despite their claims, but with rather obvious motives to perpetuate short sighted, greedy exploitation of the "other." Why should we listen to cries of "Wolf" now, when there is so little sign of lessons having been learned?

If "homosexuality" can now be cured, as some religious right activists claim, perhaps they should start working on a cure for Authoritarian Personality Disorder.

The Courts have no right to overturn the people's majority vote! A government of the people and for the people. No matter what the issue, if it is put up for a vote, then the vote wins. Help people better understand the issue and try to get them to vote otherwise next time; but NEVER allow the judges to make policy without the people's vote!


I quite agree with you. The courts have no right to overturn the people's vote. While I'm not glad that this was voted in. I am glad that the Courts upheld the people's decision.

The people's vote was what kept slaves as slaves and women in oppression for such a long time. Too often a majority of the people are willing to keep a minority of people in oppression for as long as they are able. This is a justice and civil rights issues. It is time to catch up with the Biblical mandate for justice for all people.

Christian Lawyer

Thanks for the information. Was interracial marriages ever put to the vote? I seem to recall there were laws in 16 states making it a criminal offense until Loving v West Virginia.

I do agree that same sex marriage should never have been put to the vote.

Justin, almost no area has the same type of ballot initiatives as California, but as Christian Lawyer was suggesting, there are the equivalent votes (those by the elected legislatures). Some people will suggest that large ballot initiatives are some how more "democratic" than legislative laws, but our system is designed for representational democracy, not direct democracy. And more importantly our system is a republic (or one where the votes are balances with a set of governing principles - the constitution, so that the majority vote can not violate the principles without a significant majority.) So Debra is not right according to our system of government, majority votes are not enough. A majority cannot vote to mandate that everyone attend church on a Sunday because we have the 1st amendment to the constitution. If you want to mandate that everyone attend church on Sunday, it is possible, but first you have to change the constitution to allow for it.

The court had no choice; it had to uphold the people's right to make constitutional amendments (prop 8), but it also had to do something to partially mollify anti-prop 8 groups (uphold existing same-sex marriages). I really don't see any other way the court could have ruled.

Re starthrower: "This is a justice and civil rights issues [sic]." I still genuinely don't understand how changing the definition of marriage to encompass a same-sex union is a civil right. On one level I "get it," but I've yet to hear a convincing argument. Usually the argument goes: "if you don't agree you're a homophobic hatemongering self-righteous fascist bigot" etc.

Sorry, but "the Golden Rule and America's highest ideals of justice for all," (Gregory Peterson), do not require same-sex unions to be called marriage. That thinking start with the fallacious assumption that the point of marriage is to legitimize two people being in love and having sex; it's not. Marriage is about blessing the union of a man and woman, largely (though not solely) because that's how sex is biologically supposed to work. And it creates life. Society needs a name for that, officially, and that's what marriage is. I love gays, and I love American justice, but you've got to tease out that argument (ie, demonstrate a warrant) if you want to persuade me to logically affirm that conclusion.

Yes the California Constitution is different than any other state. It would seem that the court would find itself governed by the state constitution, especially when it comes to constitutional ammendments, such as the one in question. That is to say, let the Federal Courts rule on things that may or may not be in conflict with the US constitution.

However, that has not always happened, as in the case of allowing 18 year olds to vote. The court ruled that the US Supreme court would rule that the US law allowing 18 year old voters would supercede any state laws/constitutions that didn't aline with the Federal. However the US Supreme Court ruled just the opposite, States had the right to make their own rules for state elections, the Federal law for 18 year olds only applied to Federal elections.

This time the California Court ruled based on the Constitution which gives it the power in the first place.

MarriageNewsNow has a very good perspective on what the Prop 8 victory means, especially with all the great marriage victories in May

MarriageNewsNow: 'May Marked by Marriage Victories, Map for Future' - http://tinyurl.com/qsq65p