"Gender no longer…essential (to) marriage"

In an utterly unsurprising ruling, and one that is inarguable if one is peering through the narrowed prism of stringently secular law, and reducing marriage to a sort of contractual partnering, Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled restrictions against same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.

You can read the whole Prop 8 decision here.

I was intrigued with this part:

Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.

As I say, an expected ruling, given the narrowing of perspective. It is counter-intuitive to 5,000 years of human cultural understanding, but we’ve seen a lot of that, these past 40-or-so years.

My first thought: the churches–any of them who wish to remain able to practice their faith in relative freedom–will have to seriously consider getting out of the business of acting as “duly recognized” agents of the state in legalizing marriages. The alternative will be inevitable lawsuits charging “discrimination” for disallowing church weddings, a diminution of our constitutional right to free worship, and a further emptying of church coffers as settlements and fines are levied.

As I’ve written previously:

” . . . the churches should reconsider their roles in authenticating marriage. Governments issue birth certificates; churches issue baptismal certificates. Governments issue death certificates; churches pray the funerals. Governments issue divorces; Churches annul. Both work within their separate and necessary spheres, serving the corporeal and the spiritual. It is only in the issue of marriage that church and state have commingled authority. That should perhaps change, and soon. Let the government certify and the churches sanctify according to their rites and sacraments.”

Meanwhile, lots of glad or angry or funny remarks on twitter. My favorite so far is from Jim Geraghty who tweets:

These appeals are going to take forever. Can’t we just ask Anthony Kennedy what he thinks about gay marriage now?


Some are wondering where democracy is
, when “the will of the people” can be overridden by judges. Well, it’s not like that’s something new. People are writing to me that “marriage is under attack.” I disagree. Marriage will go on. What is under attack is federalism.

Here is how states break down on the issue, via Melissa Clouthier.

Andrew Malcolm has an early roundup of reax.

Cardinal Francis George: Not Happy. Not surprised, either.

Hey, Christians live in exile, and we’re in for a long one. It’s part of the gig we signed on for.

UPDATE:
Walker has issued a stay in his order.

Meanwhile, the Episcopal Church is preparing:

Armed with a new $400,000 grant and the support of the Episcopal Church, a Berkeley seminary is convening priests from across the country to craft the liturgical rite for same-sex couples to receive religious blessings.

The new rite, which will take years to complete, will most likely consist of a series of original prayers, Bible readings and two essays: one on the theological meaning of same-sex blessings, and one advising priests who administer the new rite.

More first reactions: Check back as I’ll be linking to them as I find them!
Gay Patriot
Hot Air
Chris is Right
BlogHer: Reaction Roundup
Kathryn Jean Lopez: “Recreating fundamental institutions. She has more here
Instapundit: Beginnings of a roundup.
Allahpundit
Michelle Malkin
Ace and Gabriel
Joe Carter: Disappointed, not surprised
Reason
Politico Arena
Sister Toldjah

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    “I have some questions about this. When did the government decide to require people to get a license to get married?”

    Azygos
    The govt has always been involved and they did not do it for tax purposes.

    First it should be recalled that by signing a License that is evidence of legal obligations to your spouse. Also the Govt got involved because we have said their are impediments to marriage. Like in some states marrying your first cousin. I think at one time you had to even get blood tests!!

    Further someone has t maintain those records and those records are needed to establish title to line at times where it not clear who the land might have fallen too if person dies intestate. Needless to say there major reason why the Govt is involved and there is a License

  • DWiss

    There’s been a lot of talk about the “government” deciding what to do. In this country, the government is “of the people, by the people and for the people”. Unless I’m mistaken, same sex marriage has yet to pass a ballot vote. It’s always the judiciary that allows it. In California it was decided by an openly gay judge. Does anyone else find that stunning?

  • DaveO

    Judge Walker wrote: ” Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses obligations to each other and to their dependents.” That line is pure lie, but it serves as the keystone for the remainder of his reasoning.

    Judge Walker has never been inside an American divorce court, or has a clue about family law.

    With his logic, Judge Walker may just have shredded how divorces, child custody, and financial support are decided.

  • Brendan McGrath

    Bender — My questions were partly rhetorical, but also serious and not at all disingenuous. And I really intended the accent to be more on “why aren’t we trying to make divorce and contraception illegal?” rather than on “why are we trying to keep homosexual marriage illegal?” I truly am interested in what the reasoning is here.

    You wrote, “Why should we as a Church be trying to prevent the legalization of civil homosexual marriage? Why?? Because there is no such thing as ‘homosexual marriage’; it does not exist and never has existed and cannot exist by definition.” Let’s grant that that’s true. Can’t the same thing be said about divorce? (I’m not sure, though; I realize that there’re all sorts of complicated issues here about marriage as a sacrament vs. non-sacramental marriage, etc. I’d have to double check the catechism, old theology manuals, and various other sources — though often they haven’t been as clear and systematic as I’d like.)

    You also wrote, “There is a meaning to ‘marriage,’ it is not a matter of opinion, it is not a matter of desire, it is a matter of ontological, theological, and existential definition. Marriage is what it is and it cannot be, as a matter of simple logic, be something that it is not.” — I certainly agree with that. But is it necessary for us as a Church to try to make the state recognize this? And if so, then again, why aren’t we trying to outlaw divorce? (And actually, under Church teaching, does the state even have any authority with regard to marriage to begin with? I think I remembe reading that it has some authority, but only over some things…?)

    Let me put it another way: do you believe that (civil) divorce should be legal or illegal? Or: is it permissible for a Catholic to believe that divorce should be kept legal? Is it permissible for a Catholic to vote for a politician who supports keeping divorce legal? Why or why not?

    Also, some questions/thinking out loud; can anyone shed light on these? — It’s true that a civil marriage is still really a marriage, right (assuming it’s between a man and a woman who aren’t otherwise married already)? But for Catholics (not all Christians, but only Catholics), is a civil marriage with no Church marriage valid and/or licit under any circumstances? Is it sacramental under any circumstances? Are there any cases in which a civil marriage can be sacramental? There’s so many confusing issues and factors here: e.g., whether one or both of the people are Catholic, whether one or both are baptized, whether the marriage is “real,” whether the marriage is sacramentally “valid,” whether the marriage is “licit” under canon law, etc.

  • Brendan McGrath

    Bender — One more reflection: you wrote, “there is no such thing as ‘homosexual marriage’; it does not exist and never has existed and cannot exist by definition.” If that’s true, then why should we as a Church care what the state tries to say?

  • Bender

    Regarding the Church and laws on divorce and contraception –

    The Church has long opposed no-fault divorce and it opposed the creation of no-fault divorce and other laws making divorce easier to obtain. The Church opposed the legalization of contraception and opposed the decision in Griswold v. Connecticut. The Church has opposed the repeal of laws against adultery, and it has never favored the repeal of laws against fornication and cohabitation.

    The position of the Church on these things throughout history is well known and can be obtained by any cursory examination of history.

    And they certainly do not allow for a game of “gotcha” where someone can disingenuously argue that because the Church isn’t actively opposing this or that, it should not oppose the logical impossibility that is “gay marriage.”

    Instead, the Church opposes and continues to oppose the dictatorship of relativism, of which this decision is only the latest example.

  • Sandra

    As I once wrote in a comment on Father “Z’s” blog,

    “I pray that I am worthy to be found guilty of being a Roman Catholic”

    I have a fear, a real fear about what is to come and I do not foresee outliving what is ahead.

    “O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.”

  • Bender

    you are going to RUN to the law books to see what is a “marriage” for legal purposes and what is not . . . It doesn’t MATTER how you or I define marriage

    You’re right. It doesn’t matter how I define marriage. My definition is totally irrelevant. The only relevant definition is the one that has existed for the entirety of human history.

    I don’t have the power to change that definition. You don’t have that power. And if a bunch of people get together and form a society and then a government, that government does not have that power to redefine what tens of thousands of years of history have recognized marriage as being, as based upon the nature of the human person, male and female.

    I know it has been all the rage ever since the Garden to believe that we have the power to choose our own truth, to pretend that we are like gods, but we really don’t. The truth is what it is. And the truth of marriage is what it is. We don’t have the power to make it something other than what it is.

    And, please, I don’t need to run to any law books. I have them right next to me. I read the law every day. I’ve read more law in the last 20 years than many lawyers will read their entire careers.

  • Brendan McGrath

    Bender — Thank you; it’s very helpful to have that all explained. I actually didn’t know that the Church had actually opposed those developments regarding no-fault divorce (what about any divorce at all — if it was only no-fault divorce that was opposed, why wasn’t divorce of all kinds opposed?), contraception, etc., at least not in the United States or in any politically noticeable way.

    You also said, “And they [the Church?] certainly do not allow for a game of ‘gotcha’ where someone can disingenuously argue that because the Church isn’t actively opposing this or that, it should not oppose the logical impossibility that is ‘gay marriage.’”

    OK, let’s grant that (and by the way, my opinions/leanings on all of this are sort of fuzzy at this point; I’m much closer to the Church’s position than I used to be). But then the question still remains, why isn’t the Church (still?) actively opposing laws that allow or de-criminalize divorce, contraception, adultery, fornication, etc.? Is the Church being silent where it/she should be speaking out? Has the Church released Catholics from any obligation to consider such issues when voting?

    Is it permissible for Catholics to vote for people who favor the legalization of gay marriage (that is, if one votes for them in spite of their position, rather than because of it)? And if not, then is it permissible for Catholics to vote for people who favor (perhaps only by silent consent) keeping divorce, contraception, adultery, fornication, etc. legal/de-criminalized? Why shouldn’t a bishop deny communion to Catholic politicians who favor (implicitly ro by silence) keeping those things legal?

  • Bender

    I will not be able to pass on the simple truth to my children. People can do whatever they want to, and can call it whatever they want to, but only a man can marry a woman. But why should my children believe me?

    It is becoming essential to teach kids at an early age that, although we are in the world, we are not of the world. And that the world that we are currently sojourning in is a world of lies. Sadly, kids need to be taught at an ever earlier age that this is a world filled with people who say that was is good is evil, and what is evil is good. Jesus warned that there would be those who would especially seek to lead children away from truth.

  • Brendan McGrath

    Pat — I didn’t see your comment before; thanks for your kind words.

    Erin — That quote from the judge really is disturbing. Regardless of what one thinks about whether homosexual acts are moral or immoral, it seems very problematic for a judge to be issuing a statement saying that “[r]eligious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” I mean, is that even… is he even ALLOWED to write something like that in his opinion or whatever? Or are such statements OK as long as they aren’t part of the central “ruling” or whatever? He might as well declare that “the belief that ‘Gigli’ is a terrible movie or inferior to other movies is flawed and unfounded.”

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  • Ben David

    Middle of the road conservatives – and many people of faith – thought they could finesse this issue without running the gauntlet of PC denunciation.

    Cowed by the fierceness of gay activists, they took the mealy-mouthed “some of my best friends are gay” route – tacitly accepting the gay activists’ lies (still no evidence folks are “born that way”) and allowing the media to ignore the debased baths-n-bars “culture” in most gay “communities”.

    But political correctness quickly twists any arm extended to it.

    And now these lies – the totally unreal picture of gay coupling and community that has been successfully hammered into the public’s heads – form the basis for this ruling.

    It is now almost impossible to present the real facts – the clear evidence of dysfunction in the gay subculture, and the lack of any evidence for the “born that way” lie – without being branded a hateful nutcase.

    Conservatives did this to themselves: they let themselves be snookered by the gay activists’ “pity me” opening gambit – and cowed by the predictable “my way or the highway” followup.

  • Michael C

    What a bunch of fearmongering nonsense above.

    We have had SSM in Canada for 7 years. No one has tried to make a Catholic priest perform a marriage he did not want to perform. Priests will refuse to marry people for all sorts of reasons, that is their right.

    There are many churches that will perform SSM if a couple wants to be married in a church.

  • Jeff

    The opinion is notable for how much gratuitous editorializing it contains. Walker clearly views himself as a Law Giver of sorts. The 9th Circuit will affirm and the Supreme Court will reverse.

  • Kerry

    Let us suppose the civil and religious institutions agree to a separate but equal status. The civil will perform all the ‘ifs, ands and buts’ marriages, the churches will be ceded authority for the “marriage is one man and one woman”. Each will be allowed to act without interference from the other; a sort of truce will be agreed upon. Who here believes the civil lackeys and the ‘it’s all good’ lifestyles they pander to will leave the churches alone? From Father Abraham, “It will become all one thing or all the other.”
    Again, decisions such as this one reflect how badly off track we are morally. If two men are marriage, why is polygamy illegal? If the homosexual urge is to be honored and respected, because it naturally arises, should the urge to pedophilia be also respected and honored?

    [Yeah, but see...all of this stuff has to happen in order for the next stuff to happen. Anyone who believes the church is not about to enter an era of intense persecution--partly because it must do penance but also because it is simply what must happen as we move closer and closer to that time when all things are restored in Christ--is fooling themselves. Things are just starting to get interesting. What no one understands, though, is that when the worldly world feels it has won, that is when they will lose. We love a God of paradoxes -admin]

  • Feeney

    Sandra #52 is right. Catholics will be persecuted in the near future. And we will be persecuted by those nice, gentle, compassionate people who get all warm and fuzzy on the issue of “homosexual marriage”. Those who are convinced of their own moral superiority are the true totalitarians.

  • Jeff

    I’m not sure if they will “come after” catholics; so many are already in leadership positions within the Church. But we’ll see. Remember the line in A Man for All Seasons, “When they see I am silent, they will want to leave me silent.” But Henry did not leave him silent.

  • Pat

    @Bender, I certainly didn’t mean to challenge your access to our written laws. (With all due respect, your prior postings suggested to me that you were conflating civil laws and your personal religious beliefs). That said, in the end, it seems that you AGREE with my basic premise, to wit: for purposes of construing our civil laws the State gets to define what is or is not a civil marriage.
    Another example is the marriage of second cousins. Some states allow it, that is, the state includes those relationships in the state’s definition of marriage for the occasions where the state enforces the rights and obligations of married persons. The Church might be opposed to such a marriage and preach from the pulpit that such a relationship is not really a marriage, but again, that’s not relevant. Fundamentalists hate hearing that their personal religious views are not relevant to State considerations. But it is true.

  • peregrinator

    As usual, the Anchoress has the “money” headline.

    It seems to me that what this ruling has done is establish a sort of legally recognized “third gender,” one that, because of societal discrimination, is in need of special protections beyond those afforded citizens of the other two genders (which in the name of “equality” are now treated as one.)

    If this ruling stands, not only are the rights of states further eroded and religious liberty imperiled, but I fear the position of women (particularly religious women in “traditional” marriages) will become precarious. What protections we afford to women because of their unique capacity to bring life into the world, will dwindle away, since we will no longer recognize them *as* women (and since according to this ruling the state has no interest in encouraging natural procreation.)

    Erin Manning’s observation above is also dead on. Persecution here we come…

  • Bender

    it seems that you AGREE with my basic premise, to wit: for purposes of construing our civil laws the State gets to define what is or is not a civil marriage

    How could you possibly come to that 180-degree opposite conclusion from what I wrote?

    True, the government can construe its own laws any way the hell it wants to. They are the government’s laws after all. But what government lacks any power, i.e. ability, to do is to construe and thereby redefine something that government did not create and needs no “construing.” Government can construe “civil marriage” whichever way it wants, but there can only be a “civil marriage” where there can be a “marriage.” The government cannot create a “civil marriage” that is not already consistent with pre-existing “marriage,” that is, government’s power is limited to regulating marriage, not recreating it.

    Government cannot construe something which is false to be true merely by slapping the “civil” label on it. By its very nature, i.e. its essence, its fundamental state of being, its metaphysical reality, “marriage” is and can only be a union between different sexes. Consequently, not surprisingly, it has always and everywhere been understood to be thus. Even those times when government has gotten into the business of regulating marriage, either between family relations or between races or between classes, etc., it has anywhere and everywhere regulated unions between men and women, between husbands on the one hand, and wives on the other. It has always, until recently, been a recognition that the man-woman-child unit is in need of special legal protections, requiring special recognition of that man-woman relationship, special and unique protections that are not necessary in other forms of human associations, which have their own legal remedies, such as contract, agency, and partnership law, and thus do not need to be recognized as being the same as something that they are not, namely, marriage.

    As such, there is nothing to “construe” about marriage — it is what it is. And vainly attempting to make it something that it is not, to attempt by judicial decree to make something true which is inherently false, is not an act of law or justice, it is a fiction, a tyranny, an imposition of fantasy over reality by judicial fiat and force.

  • Bender

    And make no mistake — this is NOT about a gay person’s “rights.” This is not about equal “justice.” This is about the twisting of reality, it is about the appropriation of the word and concept of “marriage” and destroying it.

    In “civil unions,” homosexual couples already have all the same legal protections as heterosexual married persons. The only thing that they don’t have is the word “marriage.” And this decision does not grant gays any greater rights, it only mutilates and thereby destroys the word “marriage” in order to irrationally apply it to same-sex unions. It is an act of taking something which has a unique application and forcibly applying it to where it does not and cannot fit.

    Where do we go from here? Well, not to create any attorney-client relationships here, but any lawyer would be guilty of legal malpractice and incompetence to not start giving the legal advice to people to start marrying their parents.

    Although there is no estate tax this year, next year it jumps back up to confiscatory levels. However, there is a marital exemption that allows for a decedent’s estate to pass to their surviving spouse tax-free. Once the surviving spouse dies, however, there are heavy estate taxes imposed on their estates as they pass on to their children, et al. Thus, in order to avoid that oppressive and heavy estate tax levy, a child would be foolish not to marry his parents, either or both of them, in order to gain the advantage of that tax-free marital exemption.

    Child-parent marriages? Preposterous, you say? No, the reasoning of this decision absolutely compels the recognition of child-parent marital unions. It is merely a matter of them loving each other, after all, and wanting a loving relationship together.

  • Pat

    @Bender, you disappoint me. You are conflating the civil laws with your personal beliefs. Here’s another example. In State A the written law says: a “person” has the right to sue or be sued. The law below that says: For purposes of our laws, this State defines “person” to mean “any individual human being, a corporation, a limited liability company, a partnership or a non-profit organization.” How can a corporation be a person, you ask? Because for purposes of State A’s laws they DEFINE “person” to include a corporation. They just DO.

    Now, that doesn’t make the world shifts on its axis and it doesn’t cause every individual human being to believe that his personhood is somehow now different or that the State is defining the word person in a way that God or the Bible never intended.

    If you see the difference and you understand the difference you will agree with my statement that for purposes of construing our civil laws the State gets to define what is or is not a civil marriage.

  • Pat

    @Bender,

    You’re being ridiculous. No State allows a parent to marry his child. And there are good reasons for that prohibition that go well beyond “because that’s the way the law has always been.” Listing here here the well accepted biological and psychological and societal reasons that close blood relatives may not marry in any State is a waste of my law degree, a waste of my billable rate and a waste of the reader’s time.

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  • Bender

    for purposes of construing our civil laws the State gets to define what is or is not a civil marriage

    OK, fine, you’re right.

    Who is “the State” that does this “defining”?

    Apparently not the people. The state, as made up of the people in civil society, decided that marriage is what it always has been, a man-woman union.

    The problem is, even by your analysis, the judge has acted in a tyrannical way to redefine “marriage” in a way that is not only inconsistent with the entirety of human history, but inconsistent with what “the State” has defined it to be, not to mention inconsistent with what the drafters and ratifiers of the original Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment understood it to be.

    Notwithstanding Anthony Kennedy’s belief that liberty includes the ability to define our own existence, a judge does not have the power to create his own truth.

  • pat

    @Bender, you are missing the point.

    When State A enacts a law that says “A person has the right to sue another person” and then enacts another law that says, “for purposes of construing the first law the word “person” shall include any living human being, any corporation, any limited liability company and any partnership,” the world we live in does not shift on its axis and the temples do not crumble because the State has defined “person” in a particular way for construing State laws. Nobody goes home that night questioning his own personhood.

  • Bender

    I’m not missing any points.

    The point you raise is irrelevant and serves only to obfuscate and confuse the issue. But that is what happens in a dictatorship of relativism.

  • Brendan McGrath

    Pat — You wrote, “No State allows a parent to marry his child. And there are good reasons for that prohibition that go well beyond ‘because that’s the way the law has always been.’ Listing here here the well accepted biological and psychological and societal reasons that close blood relatives may not marry in any State is a waste of my law degree…” etc.

    I have to say, wouldn’t society once have thought the same thing about the idea of homosexual marriage? I think Bender does have a point here that shouldn’t be dismissed so quickly. On what basis could the state deny the right of an (adult) son or daughter to marry his/her parent? You mention “well accepted biological and psychological and societal reasons.” Let’s take the biological — suppose one or both of the parent/offspring spouses is sterilized, or uses birth control, etc. Why would there be any problem that the state could point to? Why couldn’t people say, “parent-child marriage should be made legal, and regulated, with birth control required.” — “Incestual marriage should be safe, legal, and rare.” — “If marrying parents is outlawed, only outlaws will marry their parents.” Who are we to tell consenting adults that they can’t marry their parents? You mentioned “psychological” reasons and “societal” reasons — but again, couldn’t the same things be said about homosexual marriage? Can’t society evolve, etc.?

    Obviously I’m not in favor of legalizing parent-son/daughter marriage, but I do think we need to recognize that the “slippery slope” arguments about polygamy, etc. are not as far-fetched as people say. That’s not necessarily an argument against legalizing homosexual marriage, and it’s not meant to “compare” the two, it’s just saying that we need to face the fact that it IS a slippery slope, whether that’s a good or bad thing.

  • Andrew B

    Pat above seems to think that, because incestuous marriage is icky, it will never become an issue. That seems a pretty thin reason to think that nobody will push for it. I think gay marriage is icky (as, I would venture to guess, virtually all Americans did until a few years ago), but a judge has just told me that my opinion is unacceptable. What will the next judge tell me?

    I can see it all with awful clarity–churches “encouraged” to embrace same-sex marriage, but that will only go so far. Next will come the lawsuits, then the notion that any church that doesn’t play along might lose its tax-exempt status, then the eventual collapse of all the major denominations.

    I give it about 5 years, but that may be optomistic.

  • cathyf

    Brenden, a couple of details…

    Catholic principles of validity of marriages are complex. Not to put too fine a point on it, we are between a rock and a hard place: Jesus said clear as anything that remarriage is adultery, while on the other hand there are lots and lots of specific cases where charity makes us really want to find some way to allow a divorced person to remarry. The comparison of what is and is not allowed looks pretty lame sometimes, but it is based upon specific scriptural principles. But we’re not so lame compared to virtually every other Christian church, which deals with Jesus’ commands by sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “La La La La we can’t hear you…”

    As for which laws the Church fights against, well that’s obviously on a country-by-country basis. There are Catholic countries in Europe which only recently allowed divorce, and contraception not too much longer ago. The Church fought tooth and nail against those laws.

    In the US the state got involved in marriage in the late-18th and early-19th century mostly because of needing to deal with divorce, property, spousal abandonment, child custody, etc. And the Catechism recognizes that Catholics who separate often ought to get divorced for purposes of protecting children from abandonment (divorce decrees specifically set out obligations of parents towards children.) Under canon law you can not even start the annulment process unless you are first divorced.

  • Pat

    @Bender, of course “the State” is not “the People.” That is called mob rule. We don’t live by that. We have a system of checks and balances. Is this news to you? Recently, DC enacted a law limiting handgun ownership and that was struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional violation of the Second Amendment. Was that ALSO judicial activism? Of course not. It was a judge determining that an enacted law violates the constitution.

    Secondly, failing to address my analogies re: other laws tells the readers that you cannot address my analogies.

    @Andrew, my main response to you is to beg you to stop being afraid of what will happen. Incestuous marriages? Really? I mean there are rational fears and there are irrational fears.

    On the whole though, fear is a most unAmerican quality.

  • c matt

    Incestuous marriages have a longer pedigree than the recent fabrication of SSM. Recognizing that you offer no logical impediment to recognizing IM once SSM is recognized only betrays the fact you have no logical basis upon which to disagree. Stop being afraid to face the consequences of this decision! Let go your incenstuophobia!

  • c matt

    There have already been lawsuits against churches, businesses and independent contractors that have refused to “marry” a same sex couple, or to provide ceremony-related services to them in Canada, Brazil and other places (which for some reason, I cannot at present recall).

    New Mexico case where judge found against a wedding photographer for refusing to photograph a SS wedding. There was also one involving a Knights of Columbus council refusing to rent out their hall to a SS wedding reception, but I don’t recall if that was in the US (NJ, NH maybe?) or Canada.

    Right, Pat. They will just leave us alone.

  • pat

    @cmatt: I repeat, Fear is an unAmerican value.

  • Michael C

    So much fear mongering:

    The K of C hall was in BC, Canada. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal awarded damages to two lesbian women who claimed they were discriminated against by a Catholic men’s organization when they booked a hall for their wedding reception in the fall of 2003.

    However, the tribunal also ruled that the Knights of Columbus could have refused to host the party if it was in a manner contrary to its “core religious beliefs.”

    The problem was they allowed the women to rent the hall, pay their deposit, send out invitations, and then a few weeks before the wedding, the K of C cancelled.

    The damages were $1000.

    It has become folklore amongst Catholics that this is the thin end of the wedge, but the tribunal specifically said that they had the right to refuse on religious grounds. What they did however was to accept, and then embarrass the couple by refusing, and incidentally, giving them a hard time about their deposit.

  • Michael C

    “I give it about 5 years, but that may be optomistic.”

    7 years later in Canada, no cleric is being “encouraged” or forced to perform any marriage he does not want to perform.

  • susan

    How can marriage be discriminatory against homosexuals when heterosexuals cannot marry members of the same-sex?

    Secondly; homosexuals have been marrying since the dawn of marriage…gasp…they even have children.

    If marriage is discriminatory against homosexual then how was it possible for Gov McGreevy to MARRY TWICE-extracting children from the female THEN running off to be with his male lover?

    (Poor Mary-Mother of Jesus-she’ll be treated as breeding chattel for the Alexanders who prefer to receive their sexual pleasure from men)

  • susan

    By the way; how can the concept “yin-yin union between yin and yang” exist in the natural world?

    It is true the natural world works in mysterious ways, as mysterious as God’s will however the natural law of things will never be “egg-egg union between egg and sperm’

    No laws of tyrannical Man-even with a sex-change operation-will ever have the power to alter the natural order of this thing called life.

  • cathyf

    Oh, another example of the Church fighting the government’s laws on marriage: In Egypt, it has long been the law that each religious sect polices its own marriages. Recently, the Egyptian government has passed a law forcing Christian churches (which mostly means Copts and Catholics) to perform re-marriages for the divorced. I found interesting a Coptic bishop’s (quite reasonable!) slippery-slope argument: if the government can force Christians to do re-marriages of the divorced, what is to stop them from forcing Muslims to perform a man’s 5th marriage?

  • Brian English

    “If you got married because you wanted approval from society, I feel bad for your spouse.”

    But that is exactly what Judge Walker says in his opinion. In rejecting California’s Domestic Partnership Law, which the California Supreme Court has stated provides gay couples with the same rights as married couples, the judge asserts that domestic partnerships “do not provide the same social meaning as marriage” and “exist solely to differentiate same-sex unions from marriage.”

    This is all about approval, and creating the bases for further legal action against those who do not get with the program.

  • Feeney

    Pat #69: I think I know why Pat strongly favors this ruling. It would be a financial bonanza for lawyers. Double or triple the number of Family Law attorneys. Pure economic self interest.

  • Michael (NZ)

    My thoughts on this judge were such that I really had to clamp down on my response, but it revolves around this judge’s agenda..maybe she is also keen, as a next step, to rule that species is not relevant to marriage?

  • Hitchen’s Bro

    This is Caeser’s dictum: become liberal Anglican-Protestant or it will be jail time. Time for the RCC to leave.

  • c matt

    @pat,

    I repeat, the New Mexico case is not fear, it is fact.

  • Brian English

    “I repeat, the New Mexico case is not fear, it is fact.”

    Take a look at what happened with the Methodists in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

    E-Harmony, despite being owned by Evangelical Christians, also had to create a gay dating service, also based on an action in New Jersey.

  • Kerry

    The Anchoress said, “Things are just starting to get interesting.” Indeed they are. “IHS”

  • newton

    Those people don’t even understand that they are about to open a massive can or worms here.

    First, who among you read that essay by Angelo Codevilla, regarding the “Ruling Class” vs the “Country class”? A Supreme Court that absolutely legalizes SSm will automatically enroll an entire segment of our society into the “Ruling Class.” And knowing how things are going…

    Second, if you declare yourself a Christian, get ready to lose a lot: job, career, relationships, reputation. Declare yourself a Christian in the workplace and you’re out in the street for good. Preach Christianity in the public square and be jailed for it (just as it happened in Dearborn, MI). Declare yourself a Christian in a college application and you will not be accepted, period. Stand for the Bible and be persona non grata in polite society.

    And for the churches: if you believe what the Word of God says, get ready to go underground. There is no doubt in my mind that churches will have a gun pointing at them thanks to our own government. Soon, there will be two kinds of churches in America: those that capitulate to the government and those that go underground and preach in the darkness for fear of arrest and imprisonment.

    Just like in China.

    My goodness! We will become just like China…

    [Well, Tom Friedman will be happy, though! ;-) Saw the "official church of the state" thing coming down the road 5 years ago and wrote about it here. Taking the longview, yes you'll see the creation of "Official American" churches--and curiously some will come via the left while others come from the far right--which will drive older churches underground. What emerges from underground, though, will be the Victory. Taking the longview, it's hard to get hysterical about things. Stuff must happen, so that other stuff can happen. We who look to the time when all things are restored in Christ really shouldn't let ourselves get too worked up about all of this. The world is not static - the narrative continually moves forward. It is unseemly, I think, for Christians to cling to anything until their fingernails leave grooves. We, better than any, should understand how it has to go. -admin]

  • Pat

    @Brian English: Why do you suppose most straight couples opt for a marriage ceremony rather than avail themselves of domestic partnership laws? The answer is that everyone knows that a domestic partnership is second class.

  • Pat

    @matt: Wrong. The Ocean Grove case was one where a beach and Boardwalk Pavilion are supposed to be open to the public and the Methodists accept public funds for their maintenance and repairs. They even take tax deductions b/c they are supposedly open to the public. But then the Methodists tried to deny access to gay people and were sued. Public property when they want government money, but private, religious property when they want to discriminate? Pretty un-American. (Running theme here?)


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