In the 2008 general elections, California voters decided by a close margin to disallow gay marriage.
On Aug. 4, federal district court judge Vaughn Walker ruled the state ban unconstitutional stating that, “it prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis.”
Prior to the ruling and the enactment of Proposition 8, Californians voiced their disapproval of gay marriage through Proposition 22 in the November 2000 elections, which defined marriage in the state’s family code as being valid only when “between a man and a woman.” In 2004, San Francisco issued marriage licenses to gay couples despite the language of Prop. 22.
The law was deemed unconstitutional in May 2008, at which time 18,000 gay couples got married. Much to their chagrin however, gay marriage was banned again in November 2008.
All the while the state recognized domestic partnerships for gay couples, which merely spelled out the legal responsibilities for two individuals communing together, seemingly an effort of consolation. Nonetheless, these domestic partnerships said nothing of a couple’s love and commitment for one another. And the former is what bought this case to the U.S. District Court of Northern California and would spell doom for the fear-mongered Prop. 8.
Proponents of the deceased law presented the court with evidence against gay marriage fit for a high school mock trial team. The legislation was championed through a campaign, ProtectMarriage.com: Yes on 8, a project for California Renewal. The campaign was claimed by its organizers to have been a broad coalition of Californians, including but not limited to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Catholic Church, 1,700 evangelical pastors and a host of other fundamentalist crusaders.
Their reasoning in this case was severely flawed, at times laughably so. To them, Prop. 8 was valid because it protected children from gays who, according to secretary of the America Return to God Prayer Movement, Hak-Shing William Tam, are twelve times more likely to molest children, according to his testimony and ARGPM’s website, 1man1woman.net. He also postulates the slow escalation of the country’s acceptance of gay rights might cause it to “fall into Satan’s hands.” The evidence for most his far-reaching notions? Why, none other than the Internet.
The case is now headed to the Supreme Court, along with related cases being argued in lower courts that could prove detrimental to gay rights if their arguments are weak. As for this case, the evidence couldn’t be more rigid.
Despite their contention, Prop. 8 proponents presented no infallible proof that recognizing gay marriages will weaken already existing and potential heterosexual marriages, as declining marriage and high divorce rates coupled with the rising number of educated women is a sure sign of this dissolution.
No empirical evidence exists for the heinous notion that gays harm children or that children raised by gay couples are somehow less adjusted, a fact which led to the inevitable demise of Florida’s ban on gay adoption. Yet there is plenty of proof of harm heterosexuals and the married couples thereof have caused to children. Additionally, this moral right who prides itself on ensuring the well-being of children are nowhere to be found when thousands of gay and lesbian youth commit suicide as a result of the homophobia they scripturally promote.
But as the late theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s parable states, “Groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.”
Though ignorance is bound to loom on the issue of gay marriage, especially from those who wholeheartedly believe their views are grounded in God’s word, America cannot afford to postpone enacting laws that support gay rights and disbanding laws that prohibit the full privilege of gays to enjoy the rights granted to them in the 14th amendment.
If rationality is not enough to convince the moral right of their misguided beliefs, a word from one of their most heralded agents should suffice.
In the words of St. Thomas Aquinas: “Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
To see the rulings on this case: https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/files/09cv2292-ORDER.pdf