Voters in California, not black-robed men and women on the state Supreme Court bench, will decide whether marriage is restricted to one man and one woman after a proposed constitutional amendment was certified for the November election ballot.
“The response from the people of this state has been unprecedented in support of marriage’s legacy, by responding with an all-out volunteer signature campaign,” said Ron Prentice, CEO of the California Family Council.
Prentice also serves as chairman of the ProtectMarriage.com campaign to put the amendment in front of voters in November.
“We’re so grateful to the over 1.1 million voters who signed the marriage petition in time for the November election. Passing this amendment is the only way for the people to override the four Supreme Court judges who want to re-define marriage for our entire society,” he said.
The marriage definition plan needed 694,354 valid petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, or 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2006 general election. The supporters submitted 1,120,801 names.
Yesterday, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified the California Marriage Protection Act for the ballot.
The amendment reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
Liberty Counsel, one of the legal groups working on the case, recently filed a request for the state Supreme Court to stay its May 15 ruling concluding state laws banning same-sex duos from getting marriage licenses were unconstitutional.
“Now that we know for certain the California Marriage Protection Act will appear on the November ballot, the California Supreme Court must stay its decision. Issuing a stay is the only course of action. The people of California will have the final say on marriage. I have no doubt that when the people vote, they will affirm marriage as one man and one woman,” said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of Liberty University School of Law.
Prentice pointed out “the vast majority of research continues to state that California’s voters favor keeping marriage as it is, protecting its historic definition between only a man and a woman.”
“The November ballot will give opportunity for citizens to respond to the State Supreme Court’s decision, by solidifying traditional marriage in the California Constitution. Californians are a tolerant people,” he said. “But we also know that marriage is between a man and a woman, as the voters reaffirmed just a few years ago.”
Liberty Counsel reported a May 30 poll showed 56 percent of California residents support marriage as one man and one woman. A previous Los Angeles times poll showed 54 percent supporting the amendment and 35 percent opposing it.
Californians in 2000, with a 61.4 percent vote, approved Proposition 22, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The vote established the law that was declared unconstitutional by the recent Supreme Court ruling.
In the court’s majority ruling, Judge Ronald George concluded “an individual’s sexual orientation – like a person’s race or gender – does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.”
Prentice said the court’s rationale for its decision “should prompt outrage from the majority of California’s citizens.”
“The will of the people has been completely undermined by four individuals,” he said. ‘In November, the people will have an opportunity to overrule the Court’s decision by passing a constitutional amendment – and California’s voters must respond by voting.”
As WND reported, a pro-family organization in California and a law firm teamed up to ask county clerks to do what neither the state Supreme Court nor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was willing to do – follow the state constitution.
Officials with the Campaign for Children and Families are working with the United States Justice Foundation to encourage county clerks, who are assigned the duties of issuing marriage licenses, to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex partners.
“We’re encouraging the clerks to abide by the express will of the written California constitution and the man-woman marriage statutes, and to respect the democratic process which will be decided at the ballot box in November, by not issuing marriage licenses to anyone but a man and a woman,” said Randy Thomasson, president of CCF.
“The judges and the governor are violating the Constitution and the statutes, but county clerks know they have a duty to follow the statutes, which haven’t been changed yet. Clerks don’t have to issue homosexual ‘marriage’ licenses, and they shouldn’t,” he said.
“We’re asking that you please decline to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples unless and until the Legislature changes the marriage statutes, the people change the constitution, and/or all legal options have been exhausted,” Gary Kreep, executive director of the USJF, wrote to the clerks.
Kreep’s organization is offering pro bono legal counsel to clerks who resist the state Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriages, a ruling he defines as “unconstitutional” itself.
The organizations sent letters to 38 county clerks in California, out of 58, in areas where the man-woman marriage ethic is strongest.
“Already several clerks have responded, telling CCF they intend NOT to issue any same-sex ‘marriage’ licenses,” the organizations confirmed.
In Marvin Baxter’s dissent to the majority opinion in California, he called the majority logic “legal jujitsu” that “oversteps judiciary power.” Another dissent, from Carol Corrigan, said the conclusion simply was “judicial overreaching.”
L to R: Carlos R. Moreno, Joyce L. Kennard, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, Ron M. George participated in the majority opinion declaring a one-man-one-woman limit to marriage unconstitutional. Ming W. Chin, Marvin R. Baxter and Carol A. Corrigan of the California Supreme Court filed dissents
Baxter’s dissent raised even further warnings of chaos in the institution of marriage unless judicial and executive activism is reined in.
“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy,” he wrote. “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous. Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”