Gay Marriage Tramples Religious Liberty
by Mike McManus
On Tuesday hundreds of homosexuals and lesbian couples - but fewer than expected - were legally "married" in California. This is the first result of a narrow 4-3 state supreme court ruling, overturning 61 percent of Californians voting in 2000 to limit marriage to heterosexuals.
It was a brazen example of raw judicial activism.
Of course, the media focused on the happy "newlyweds" such as a lesbian couple in their 80s who have "been together" for 50 years.
However, there is an ominous undertone in this, only the second state to legalize same-sex "marriage." The attorneys general of 10 states asked the California Supreme Court to stay its decision legalizing the marriages until the November election when California voters will have a chance to amend the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. It simply states:
"Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Why did ten states (e.g. Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Nebraska, South Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire and South Dakota) try to block implementation of the decision? Unlike the Massachusetts legalization of same-sex marriage, which restricted it to Massachusetts residents, the California case opened the door to gays from any state who come to California "to get married." Many could then go home and file suits to overturn laws and even state constitutional amendments limiting marriage to heterosexuals.
The high court of Massachusetts stayed its decision for 180 days to give time to the legislature to enact either civil unions or same sex marriage. By contrast the California Supreme Count refused to stay its own ruling. It clearly wants thousands of legal gay marriages on the ground before the amendment is voted upon. Why?
"They are deliberately trying to influence the referendum by creating these facts on the ground," said Peter Sprigg, Vice President of the Family Research Council (FRC). "Supporters of same-sex marriage can then argue,'You will be taking away something these couples have been given,' rather than voting to deny them something they never had."
This is an illegitimate exercise of judicial power, which not only creates counterfeit marriages in California, but attempts to export fraudulent marriages to every state. A UCLA study estimated that perhaps 70,000 homosexual couples may travel to California to "marry."
The inevitable result, if successful, is an "erosion of traditional morality as homosexuality is normalized," asserted Tony Perkins, FRC President. He predicts schools will have to start teaching that homosexual behavior and marriage are social goods.
Even the liberal National Public Radio reported, "Armed with those legal protections, same-sex couples are beginning to challenge policies of religious organizations that exclude them, claiming that a religious group's view that homosexual marriage is a sin cannot be used to violate their right to equal treatment. Now parochial schools, parachurch organizations such as Catholic Charities and businesses that refuse to serve gay couples are being sued - and so far the religious groups are losing."
For example, Catholic Charities has closed its adoption programs in Massachusetts because it does not want to be forced to allow gay couples to adopt children. Churches could be forced to hire gay clergy.
Thus, homosexual rights are trampling freedom of religion, of speech and of association. Homosexuals have a right to live any way they wish, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for the whole culture.
Therefore, it is essential for the nation that the California Marriage Amendment be approved. If passed, the amendment would undo the court's ruling of May 15. However, gays would still get all the rights of marriage, because California's legislature already approved such laws. They simply could not call their relationship "marriage."
Gays claim it is discriminatory to deny them the right to marry. Nine state and federal courts have disagreed. The New York's highest court stated:
"The Legislature could rationally believe that it is better...for children to grow up with both a mother and a father. Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like..."
However, New York's Gov. David Paterson ignored that ruling and ordered state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Canada or other states. San Francisco Mayor Gary Newsom even boasted America will have gay marriage "Whether you like it or not."
The Family Research Council (www.frc.org) is seeking gifts to counter this propaganda, and can double any contribution, thanks to a $250,000 Matching Grant.
I rarely endorse funding appeals, but do in this instance.
---Michael J. McManus is a syndicated columnist. He writes on "Ethics & Religion". He is President & Co-Chair of Marriage Saver. He resides with his wife in Potomac, MD www.marriagesavers.org
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