As soon as the results were tallied in favor of Proposition 8—the ban on same-sex marriage in California—a backlash erupted that continues to this day. Those of us who supported 8 had little time to celebrate.
Throngs of gay activists protested in CA’s largest cities. They accused Prop.8 supporters of perpetrating hate (‘H-8’) crimes upon gays. A week later, the protest spread to cities throughout the nation.
Activists picketed churches and disrupted services. Some who financially backed Prop.8 (the records are public) were harassed, including the director of a major theater company in CA who lost his job. It seems those most intent on tolerance fail to extend it!
While Ron Prentice, head of the campaign for Prop.8, declared that the citizens of CA had by a majority vote ‘enshrined the importance of marriage in the state constitution’, the editors of the NY Times bemoaned how the passage of Prop.8 ‘enshrined bigotry in the constitution of CA.’
In that spirit, four hours after Prop.8 opponents ceded victory to the gay marriage ban, three high-profile legal groups filed petitions requesting that the State Supreme Court invalidate the measure.
On what grounds? Proponents of gay marriage are claiming once more that gays are a targeted minority, being subject to the prejudices of the majority. They claim that the civil rights of an oppressed people-group are at risk. Now that Prop.8 made ‘gay marriage’ unconstitutional, activists are claiming with new fury that their constitutional rights have been violated.
So in March of 2009, the State Supreme Court will hear yet again another round of appeals as to why their decision last May to legalize ‘gay marriage’ should trump Prop.8.
(Keep in mind that last May the Court cancelled out a ‘heterosexual marriage’ amendment that voters rallied for in 2000. Prop. 8 was a response to that cancellation; it went further than the initial amendment and made ‘gay marriage’ unconstitutional.)
We are witnessing a value clash of huge proportions. On one hand are those who uphold traditional marriage as a common good: the union of one man for one woman, validated by the state to help ensure fidelity and permanence for the sake of children. On the other hand are those whose commitment ‘to justice for all’ now include homosexuals as a minority who should be given whatever rights and privileges that the state grants any ethnic group.
Proponents of ‘gay marriage’ cite racial justice as the single strongest precedent for their views. When the Chief Justice of the CA Supreme Court was making his case for ‘gay marriage’, he quoted three times from a 1948 court decision (Perez vs. Sharp) where the CA Supreme Court struck down a state ban on interracial marriage.
“The essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one’s choice,” Chief Justice George said, quoting Perez while siding with arguments for same-sex marriage that were consciously rooted in the struggle for equal rights for blacks.