Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Judge Walker Rules Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

Hey, all -

Sorry to be so quick, but I am slammed at work today - couldn't not come share the news, though! Judge Walker did rule Prop. 8 unconstitutional. The AP reports:

A federal judge overturned California's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.

Supporters argued the ban was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing.

California voters passed the ban as Proposition 8 in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling 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," the judge wrote in a 136-page ruling that laid out in precise detail why the ban does not pass constitutional muster.

Both sides previously said an appeal was certain if Walker did not rule in their favor. The case would go first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then the Supreme Court if the high court justices agree to review it.

So, a battle lost, but the war will keep waging. And I hate to paint it in such vicious and angry terms. I don't know that war imagery is right here. It's such a controversial, close-to-the-heart issue for everyone involved.

Honestly, there is a part of me that would be happy to see my gay friends marry happily. It's not a cut-and-dry, win-or-lose, love-or-hate issue. I wish people on both sides of the issue could see that! Even if we'd won today's ruling, I'd feel just sick for my gay friends. So many emotions, so many deeply held beliefs and completely differing views are involved with this. I've seen people argue that it's simply about right and wrong. Well, who's "right" are we advocating? Where it's "right" to treat this case akin to civil rights (a concept with which I disagree wholeheartedly)? Or where it's "right" to stand up for the ideal nuclear family unit? Who is to define right and wrong?

My deeply held belief is that marriage is between a man and a woman, ordained by God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" in 1995, wherein it put a stake in the ground regarding its stance on what a family is meant to be. This proclamation is the basis for my views, and for what it's worth, I'd like to share it with you all. Come what may, I believe strongly in the family as the pillar of our society, and I hope to strengthen it always, regardless of what courts may decide.
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. "Children are an heritage of the Lord" (Psalms 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, to teach them to love and serve one another, to observe the commandments of God and to be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

This proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley as part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting held September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Rob said...

If you read Judge Walker's opinion and do not judge it from a Mormon theological perspective but strictly as a matter of civil law, which is all we're talking about here, you should acquire a better understanding of why it is a civil rights matter. I urge you to do so.

Christa Jeanne said...

Thanks for your comment, Rob. I've read through part of Walker's ruling but do plan to sit down and read the entire thing when I have a chance (between work, vacations, and two moves in two months, things have been non-stop crazy lately!). I've read several pieces with the civil rights argument and have yet to agree with it, nor do I agree with Walker's reasoning as I've read it thus far - but I have and will read it with an open mind.