FIRST-PERSON: Prop 8 case has implications for all Americans
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP)--The Aug. 4 decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger -- a decision that held “unconstitutional” the vote of more than 7 million Californians to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman -- was heart-breaking for all who love religious liberty … and could be a potential disaster for the American people.
Sadly, radical partisans of the homosexual legal agenda -- an agenda that ultimately supports not the redefinition of marriage, but the abolition of it -- have become more and more willing to sacrifice all other freedoms for the sake of embracing sexual anarchy.
The potential for that kind of anarchy is only multiplied by the refusal of the judge in the case to deny a motion to stay his ruling -- scheduled to take effect Aug. 18 -- until appeals can be heard. Unless an appeal of this second ruling can be heard and addressed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit before that fast-approaching date, this latest judgment will succeed in imposing a radical change in marriage on the people of California before all appeals on their behalf are heard.
Which is exactly the way the advocates of homosexual behavior want it. A flurry of Tweets in the hours before the Aug. 4 decision announced the intent of these activists throughout California to riot en masse if the decision didn’t go their way. As it turned out, they needn’t have to be worried; the would-be rioters instead joined rallies and marches nationwide that celebrated another milestone for judicial suppression of our Founders’ vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
But the threat of violence underscores -- like the Perry ruling itself -- the thuggish realities of the homosexual legal agenda, revealing it to be a blunt and brutal contradiction not only of all existing law and historic tradition, but of common sense. What’s more, the decision makes it plain that the most inevitable result of accomplishing that agenda will not be the achievement of some elusive “equality” for those practicing homosexual behavior, but the marginalization of Christians from the public square.
Seven key points in this ruling raise particular concern:
1. This is the first-ever federal court decision to assert a fundamental “right” to same-sex unions under the U.S. Constitution. Such would undoubtedly come as quite a surprise to the men who wrote that Constitution with a keen eye to thousands of years of historic legal tradition. But the same imaginations that find constitutional defense for the killing of pre-born children have no trouble finding imaginary special privileges for same-sex relationships.
2. The court’s decision plainly states that “gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage.” Such judgments are not just outside the judiciary’s role, but go beyond revising the Constitution to embrace a rewrite of reality, as articulated by nature and the Bible itself. From the earliest chapters of Genesis, Scripture affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman (“A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24).
3. The court justifies its embrace of same-sex unions in part by divorcing the idea of marriage from the bearing and raising of children. Its ruling declares that the state has no interest in protecting marriage as a stable environment for children -- an incredible assertion, since legally the state’s most compelling interest in regulating marriage is rooted in its responsibility to children, both as vulnerable innocents and as future citizens.
Once you remove that connection -- that is, once marriage has nothing to do with gender, male/female roles, the establishment of families, or the parenting of children -- you remove not only all sane barriers to same-sex “marriage,” but the need for secular marriage of any shape, form or kind. Which, of course, is the activists’ point.
4. Again, this decision circumvents the political process by rendering mute the clear voice of more than 7 million California voters. This affirms the demands of the homosexual advocates, whose agenda has been soundly defeated in every state where it’s been brought to a direct, people-initiated vote. Unable to accomplish their goals via the democratic process, these activists have no problem setting that process aside to implement their agenda through compliant judges.
5. The ground-shifting ruling in Perry inevitably creates seismic tremors in the 44 other states that have enacted laws specifically establishing marriage as the union of one man and one woman. More than 294 million Americans could find the most fundamental institution of their society radically changed and themselves with absolutely no legal recourse for blocking that revolution.
6. If concerned voters are no longer to have a say in these issues, Christian citizens are especially “bound and gagged.” The ruling states that the California marriage amendment was premised on nothing more than the “private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples” and that this view -- i.e., the ruling’s description of the Christian view -- has no place in the law. Christians, in other words, should not be allowed to invoke their consciences in discussing, debating or deciding social and political issues. That’s a crushing blow to the most basic of religious liberties.
7. In making that statement -- that “private moral views” have no place in the law -- this ruling basically embraces a beloved old dictum of Leftists in the 60s: “You can’t legislate morality.” In point of fact, of course, you can’t legislate anything else. While it may not be possible to compel every person to embrace one’s personal convictions of right and wrong, the law is, by definition, nothing more than the consensus of a people on what right and wrong are -- and what a culture’s morality should be.
The ultimate outrage of the decision in Perry is that it ignores that consensus -- the clear political expression of the majority’s moral convictions -- in order to create an artificial code built on one minority’s rabid obsession with their own sexual desires.
So, apparently, the “private moral views” of one judge have a very strong place in the law. Only the moral convictions of ordinary citizens don’t.
The democratic process for judicial fiat. Doesn’t seem like much of a trade.
Alan Sears is a former federal prosecutor who held various posts in the departments of Justice and Interior during the Reagan Administration. He is president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund (www.telladf.org), a legal alliance that seeks to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family.