The battle over homosexual “marriage” in California is far from over, even after nearly a decade of warring, two trips to the state Supreme Court and tens of millions of dollars in campaign expenses.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a staunch Democratic defender of homosexual rights, today expressed her “deep” disappointment that the state Supreme Court had affirmed a voters’ decision, through the Proposition 8 state constitutional amendment last fall, that marriage is only between one man and one woman.
“I have long fought for equality for all of California’s families and will strongly support efforts to restore marriage equality in California, so it can join the ranks of states such as Iowa and Vermont,” she said in a statement.
However, traditional family supporters weren’t about to give up, either.
Charles LiMandri, the Thomas More Law Center’s West Coast director, acted as general counsel to the National Organization of Marriage, which spearheaded the California ballot initiative to include the marriage definition in the constitution.
He said while the state court now “has not only vindicated the will of the voters” and helped preserve a bedrock institution of civilization, if there is further activism towards homosexual “marriage,” his organization will be there to “vigorously oppose those efforts.”
The center noted homosexual activists already have indicated they will go back to the voters as early as next year to repeal Proposition 8.
The state Supreme Court ruled 6-1 today in support of Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex “marriage.” However, the court decided the estimated 18,000 homosexual couples who got “married” before the law took effect would stay “married.”
“We conclude that Proposition 8 constitutes a permissible constitutional amendment (rather than an impermissible constitutional revision), does not violate the separation of powers doctrine, and is not invalid under the ‘inalienable rights’ theory proffered by the attorney general,” the court’s majority opinion said. “We further conclude that Proposition 8 does not apply retroactively and therefore that the marriages of same-sex couples performed prior to the effective date of Proposition 8 remain valid. Having determined that none of the constitutional challenges to the adoption of Proposition 8 have merit, we observe that if there is to be a change to the state constitutional rule embodied in that measure, it must ‘find its expression at the ballot box.'”
At issue was the Proposition 8 state constitutional amendment that was adopted by voters in November. At its adoption it became part of the state constitution, defining marriage as being between one man and one woman only.
Seven justices in Supreme Court courtroom in Sacramento, from left to right: Associate Justice Carlos R. Moreno, Associate Justice Joyce L. Kennard, Associate Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Associate Justice Ming W. Chin, Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter and Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan
The amendment gathered the support of nearly 53 percent of California voters. It had been proposed even before a state law enacted by a voter initiative in 2000 was thrown out by the state Supreme Court last May.
Homosexual activists sued following the 2008 election, contending the amendment was a constitutional “revision” rather than an “amendment.” Amendments can be put on the ballot by petition; revisions must earn the approval first of the state legislature, which is dominated by pro-homosexual Democrats.
Before California’s court decision, only Massachusetts had recognized same-sex “marriages.” In Massachusetts, a court opinion was issued, and state officials decided simply to implement their own changes in the legal code without having them adopted by the legislature as the state constitution demands.
Iowa also has imposed same-sex “marriage” in a similar fashion, even though the legislature never has changed the law to allow it. Other states where it is recognized include Connecticut, Vermont and Maine. In several states, voters already have begun ballot box plans to reverse the decisions.
When California’s 2008 Supreme Court ruling was released, Justice Marvin Baxter filed a dissent that warned of utter 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?” Baxter wrote at the time.
The amendment reads: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
In the court’s 2008 opinion, 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.”
Justices Joyce L. Kennard, Baxter, Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan concurred with George’s majority opinion in the latest ruling. Kennard wrote a special concurring opinion, Kathryn Werdegar wrote a special concurrence and Carlos Moreno was the lone dissenter.
Lawyers with with the public-interest group Liberty Counsel, who have represented the Campaign for California Families for years, said the conclusion “proves when people are allowed to participate in the democratic process, they will take action to uphold traditional marriage values.”
The organization said the court’s conclusion to allow the marriage licenses issued to same-sex duos makes little sense. After all, when the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, existing slavery was banned, “slave holders could not claim grandfather rights to own another person,” Liberty Counsel said.
“It is time to move on. By a mere 14 words that reaffirm the historic and common-sense definition of marriage, the people have restored common sense and the rule of law to California,” said Mathew Staver, chief of Liberty Counsel. “This is a great day for traditional marriage and the family. We have fought this battle in California for nearly five years to defend traditional marriage.
“Political leaders who say that we should give up the battle on traditional marriage are out of touch with the American people. Our future leaders must be strong advocates of traditional marriage and family,” he said.
The California Republican Assembly said the court “correctly recognized that ‘We the People’ have spoken.”
Jennifer Monk, a spokeswoman for Advocates for Faith and Freedom, said, “Whether supportive of or in opposition to Proposition 8, the people of California should be pleased that the generally activist California Supreme Court has today shown respect for the democratic process and has upheld the will of the voters.”
Karen England of the Sacramento-based Capitol Resource Institute said the fact that the will of the people still counts makes it a “great day for families in California.”
Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, said the Prop 8 ruling was good, but the courts failed to be consistent by allowing the “gay” “marriages” still to count.
“While it was good that the majority of the justices ruled only man-woman marriages could be performed after Prop. 8 passed, it’s wrong and unconstitutional for the judges to permit counterfeit marriages in clear violation of Prop. 8,” said Thomasson. “An arm and a leg have been cut off the natural institution of marriage in California.
“The judges have ignored the straightforward, retroactive effect of Prop. 8, which specified that the only valid marriage in California ‘is’ between a man and a woman, ‘regardless of when’ the marriage was performed,” said Thomasson. “This is unconstitutional and unjust. The court’s own rules require that the counterfeit marriages be declared null and void.”