Wednesday, August 04, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Equally blessed by God and equally protected by the Constitution.

Here's the "bottom line" and my initial comments on the just-released ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Bottom line on the decision:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis insingling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

My comments:

Judge Walker’s landmark ruling is another step forward toward liberty and justice for all – not just some – Americans and is good news not just for gay and lesbian Californians but for all who cherish our constitutional democracy.

There will, of course, be howls of protest from many on the religious right. But as recent polls have demonstrated, there are equal numbers of people of faith on both sides of the marriage equality issue. Progressive people of faith have biblical values, too – and one of those values is telling the truth. And the truth is, if we’re going to love our neighbors as ourselves, we need to be defending all marriages and valuing all families – not writing bigotry and discrimination into our constitution.

At the end of the day, what the court has been asked to decide is if a majority of voters can take away the constitutionally protected rights of a minority and the answer is a resounding “no.”

What Judge Walker’s decision guarantees is not just equal protection to gay and lesbian citizens but the freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion the framers of our constitution intended. The good news in today’s decision -- that nobody has license to write their theology into our constitution -- should be celebrated by people of all faiths, of any faith and of no faith.

At All Saints Church and in the Diocese of Los Angeles we believe that LGBT people are equally blessed by God and equally protected by the Constitution. We are celebrating today’s ruling as a giant step forward in the long journey toward justice and we will be praying it all the way to the Supreme Court.

More to come!

12 comments:

Verge of Jordan said...

Congratulations, Susan! You worked so hard on this. It is for you and those who toiled with you that today "Ich bin ein Kalifornier!"

LGMarshall said...

Do you think it's right for Judge Walker to put his personal will on Free Voting Citizens of Californian who were well within California Constitution to uphold the Definition of Marriage ?

Keep in mind, none of us can marry 'whomever' we want to. Now gays have 'special' rights.... again.

My guess is, this unfair ruling will get Californians even more incensed about gay 'marriage'... and that you may lose the ground that you think you gained... [and then some...].

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

I think it's absolutely right for Judge Walker to rule that the equal protection guaranteed by the 14th amendment doesn't just extend to straight Americans but to all Americans.

DavidJustinLynch said...

Susan, you should celebrate this ruling as a Christian priest should. Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving. With incense and bells, and all the trimmings. Pull out all the stops. Pour it on.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Equal rights are not special rights.

Congratulations everyone in CA.

MarkBrunson said...

Your guesses have been consistently wrong, Marshall.

Like your so-called faith.

IT said...

No, LGM, Judge Walker applied the Constitution. The same concept de-segregated schools in Brown V. Board of Education, against the will of the voters. And overturned anti-miscegenation laws in Loving v. Virginia, also against the will of the voters.

The Constitution and the judiciary protect minority rights against the tyranny of the majority. That is why we consent to be governed. It also protects the rights of minority religious groups. Kosher Jews can't deny you the right to have pork ribs, but you can't force them to eat ribs, either.

And the defendants were unable to show the judge any evidence at all that any straight person's marriage or family would be in any way injured by providing CIVIL marriage rights to the likes of me or Susan.

Get over it. You'll find nothing has changed. Massachusetts has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country despite legal same sex marriage. Your obsession with people's genitalia has no bearing on real life. This doesn't hurt you in any way. It helps other people. Maybe you should stop being so judgemental and realize that there are real people trying to live faithful lives whom you are insulting.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Actually, we celebrated with margaritas and an interfail prayer rally on Olvera Street!

IT said...

Interfaith, I think, Susan?

ours marched down University Ave in San Diego, with a contingent of St Paul's Cathedral parishioners in their cathedral t-shirts. It was quiet, hopeful, but with joy underneath. Those of us married showed each other our wedding rings, and hugged those engaged.

As Andrew Sullivan wrote, Know Hope.

SUSAN RUSSELL said...

Interfaith, indeed! :) (photos to come in a minute!)

Jay said...

This is something I’ve been pondering writing and posting for a long time. I’m gay. But I took the liberty of writing from the point of view of a straight man.

You may be gay, you may not be. Regardless, we all know at least one person who is, and many times it's our family member. That really doesn't make them any different than you or me. They are the same now, after this decision on Proposition 8, as they were before. Why shouldn’t they have the same rights as you and me? Gay couples in committed relationships who spend their lives together often do not have equal coverage to health insurance, and certainly do not have the same rights in the hospital if one of them gets sick. The federal government doesn’t offer them the same financial advantages as men and women in “traditional” marriages.

Most people against gays and gay rights argue that homosexuality goes against God and the Bible. That may be true, depending upon your interpretations and reading. But who are we to judge and condemn them for this? Are we so clean and pure and free from sin that we can cast the first stone? I believe it is up to that person and God and no one else. God our Savior is the only one to whom they have to answer for their choices and their decisions.

If being gay is something that one is born with (and I do believe it is), then our loving God knows about it well in advance. Is it any different from God making an exception for a child born with Down Syndrome or someone who has six toes? Be it from a chemical change in the brain or whatever, do you really think that God won’t “make exceptions” for it? God loves everyone. And God forgives.

Gays believe in God. Lesbians worship God. Bisexuals love God too. And He loves them back with only the love that God can give. Live your life according to God’s vision: pure love for one another. If everyone who calls himself a Christian did that, there would be no problem with gays or their rights. We would all be living the same lives in happiness and concord. Judge not, lest you be judged; leave the judging to God. Be ye doers… Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Joe said...

Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, 455 F 3d 859, 8th Circuit (2006):

"Rational-basis review is highly deferential to the legislature or, in this case, to the electorate that directly adopted § 29 by the initiative process. “In areas of social and economic policy, a statutory classification that neither proceeds along suspect
lines nor infringes fundamental constitutional rights must be upheld against equal protection challenge if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational-basis for the classification.” F.C.C. v. Beach Communications, Inc., 508 U.S. 307, 313 (1993). Thus, the classification created by § 29 and other laws defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman is afforded a “strong
presumption of validity.” Heller v. Doe, 509 U.S. 312, 319 (1993). The Equal Protection Clause “is not a license for courts to judge the wisdom, fairness, or logic of [the voters’] choices.” Beach Communications, 508 U.S. at 313.

"Indeed, in Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972), when faced with a Fourteenth Amendment challenge to a decision by the Supreme Court of Minnesota denying a marriage license to a same-sex couple, the United States Supreme Court dismissed “for want of a substantial federal question.” (Emphasis added.) There is good reason for this restraint.

"As we have explained, Appellees’ attempt to isolate § 29 from laws prohibiting same-sex marriage because it is a state constitutional amendment fails. If there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage, that is, if a statutory prohibition satisfies rational-basis review, then § 29 likewise survives rational-basis review. We hold that § 29 and other laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples are rationally related to legitimate state interests and therefore do not violate the Constitution of the United States.

So based on the above, a simple question:

If it doesn't violate the Constitution in the 8th Circuit, then how can it in the 9th Circuit?

This has already been decided by the appellate courts.