This past week, Judge Vaughn R. Walker in a U.S. District Court ruled California’s Proposition 8 was unconstitutional because it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the US Constitution in that “Proposition 8 harms the state’s interest in equality, because it mandates that men and women be treated differently based on antiquated and discredited notions of gender and that fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote.” (Excerpts from the federal court decision, from the Los Angeles Times Website)
The LDS Church issued the following statement:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today’s decision. California voters have twice been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage in their state and both times have determined that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We agree. Marriage between a man and a woman is the bedrock of society.
“We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define and protect this most fundamental institution—marriage.
“There is no doubt that today’s ruling will add to the marriage debate in this country, and we urge people on all sides of this issue to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different opinion.” (LDS Church Website)
There are some interesting parts of the ruling which goes into the State’s interest in marriage as a societal institution and a portion that notes “Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.” And, in a rather fascinating conclusion, the Judge writes, “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
So there you have it. While this is but a first step toward a ruling by the US Supreme Court, I wonder what will happen? With the current make-up of the Court, there is no forgone conclusion that this ruling will be upheld on appeal.
Frankly, I thought the opponents of Proposition 8 made a much better case than the proponents. So, the Pro-8 people ought better get their act together, if they think they have a chance on appeal. If the defense in this case was the best they can do, they should just pack it in now. it was just terrible.
Whether California resumes the issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples is also still up in the air as they are proceeding with more caution this time than last.
I am beginning to think that SSM (same sex marriage) is going to happen whether the LDS Church, other Churches and opponents like it or not. It is already legal in a few states and, in my mind, it is only a matter of time. Whether opposed or not, folks will just have to get used to it.
The question is; two-fold:
- What is, if any, the slippery slope this will lead to? Polygamy and polyandry? Churches forced to recognize and perform same-sex marriages in their churches and temples? Other odd combinations of coupling?
- What will be the reaction of the LDS Church and other Churches to the ultimate end of marriage just between a man and a woman? Another revelation?