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Prop 8 to be defended by the groups that initiated it.

Prop 8 to be defended by the groups that initiated it.

The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that conservative and evangelical groups may defend a statewide ban on gay marriage that a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional last year.

The Washington Post says that the court’s 7-0 ruling is a victory for backers of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that ended same-sex marriage in California. State officials have declined to defend the measure in a federal appeals court.

Canon Susan Russel responds:

The California Supreme Court ruling giving legal standing to an unelected, unappointed mob committed to taking away fundamental rights from LGBT Californians was a disappointment. But more important than the decision giving supporters of marriage discrimination the right to appeal is the decision they’re appealing. And that decision is Judge Walker’s ruling that taking fundamental rights away from equally protected American citizens is fundamentally unconstitutional.

Because what is at stake in the Proposition 8 challenge is not just the future of marriage for some Californians but the history of fundamental values for all Americans.

Are we a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all — not just some — are created equal? Do we believe that equal protection isn’t equal protection unless it equally protects all Americans? And is it fundamentally unconstitutional to put the fundamental rights of American citizens up to a “majority rules” vote?

Judge Walker answered those questions when he ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional in August 2010. And Judge Walker was right. It is time to put Prop 8 in the dustbin of history along with DADT and become the nation we say we are — to make liberty and justice for all a reality and not just a pledge.

And as a priest and pastor, let me be perfectly clear: the issue before the courts isn’t whether God equally blesses same-sex marriage; the issue is whether the Constitution equally protects them. And the answer — in alignment with the traditional American values of democracy, not “mob-ocracy” — must be a resounding yes!


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Bill Carroll

Didn’t the court rule on the narrow question of whether, under the California Constitution, the initiators of a ballot initiative have standing to initiate a lawsuit to force the executive branch into action. It does not seem obvious to me that this is an incorrect ruling. In fact, if we have initiatives at all, it would seem the citizens would need a remedy in the courts. The ruling does not touch the constitutionality of the law itself which is inherently discriminatory. What if the ballot initiative had been used to secure marriage equality and a conservative administration had refused to act?

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