For a brief moment in time (mid June to early November 2008), California allowed same sex couples to marry. How did this happen?
In May 2008, in the Marriage Cases, the California Supreme Court struck down Proposition 22, a statute that had defined marriage as between a man and a woman. This allowed same sex couples to marry. However, in November, the people of the state voted to amend its constitution to restore the traditional definition of marriage by passing Proposition 8. This essentially "constitutionalized" the earlier marriage statute. Many people were left perplexed as to how the state's highest Court could have allowed same sex marriage to begin with. Great legal scholars have debated the issue. So, how in the world are every day people supposed to understand the Court's ruling? In September 2008, I gave an interview to Marriage Matters To Kids in an effort to give a simple explanation to a complex and complicated Court ruling. The interview can be found here.
Proponents of same sex marriage argue that homosexuals couples have a constitutional right to be treated as equally as opposite sex couples, specifically the right to marry. And without this right to marry, they argue, they will lack dignity and respect and be treated as second class citizens. "Dignity" and "respect" are noble words. However, what same sex marriage advocates really want is not so noble. To be clear, even without the right to "marry," same sex couples were already afforded substantially all the same rights and benefits as traditional marriage couples under the law in California (California Family Code section 297.5). Obviously by demanding dignity and respect, what they really want is to force opponents of same sex marriage to accept it, even if it violates their deeply held religious beliefs or rights of conscience. Special treatment for a "suspect class" based on sexual orientation leaves no room for disagreement. This conflict has resulted in a greater legal and social problem, competing interests between sexual liberty and religious liberty. Even once the California Supreme Court resolves the current attack on the recent Marriage Amendment (Prop. 8), the conflict between sexual liberty and religious liberty will not be resolved. I predict until the U.S. Supreme Court has addressed the issue of the alleged "right" of same sex marriage, the conflict between sexual liberty and religion liberty will only increase.
Marriage matters. For the sake of our children. For the sake of society. For the sake of our future.