Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Questions and Answers About Perry v. Schwarzenegger (N.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2010)

What is Proposition 8? Proposition 8 is an amendment to the California Constitution adopted by California voters in 2008. Similar to laws adopted in a majority of states, Proposition 8 provides that marriage in California is only the union of one man and one woman.
What is the basis for the judge’s decision? The judge ruled that Proposition 8 violated two provisions of the U.S. Constitution (due process and equal protection) because in his view it lacks a rational relation to any legitimate government interest. In essence, he ruled that there is a federal constitutional right to government recognition of same-sex “marriage” – that is, he claimed that the government has the ability and constitutional duty to redefine marriage to include two persons of the same sex.
Where does the ruling apply? Technically only in California. If, however, the Ninth Circuit were to affirm, then the appeals court’s decision would create binding precedent in that circuit (the nine western-most states, including California). The case may ultimately end up in the Supreme Court, where a decision will have ramifications for the entire country.
What is wrong with the district judge’s decision? Marriage, the union of one man and one woman, is an institution recognized throughout history. As a union naturally capable of and open to conceiving and nurturing children, marriage is essential to the well-being of society, more so than any other human institution that the state recognizes and supports. The court was mistaken when it found no rational basis for the timeless definition of marriage.
Is preserving marriage between one man and one woman like the ban on interracial marriage that the Supreme Court invalidated in 1967? No. Bans on interracial marriage furthered a system of segregation; they are from a now-discredited era in which people were judged and stigmatized by the color of their skin. Marriage, by contrast, stigmatizes no one. It is, by its very nature, the union of one man and one woman. Sexual difference is an essential characteristic of marriage; racial sameness or difference is not.
What’s wrong with allowing two people of the same sex to “marry”? There are several reasons why redefining marriage is wrong. The consequences would include a neglect of the essential place of sexual difference and complementarity between husband and wife, the neglect of the rights of children to a mother and a father, the false claim that men and women, fathers and mothers, do not matter for families or for society, and requiring a radical revision of laws and education.In law, marriage is shorthand for a package of benefits and responsibilities that the law grants or imposes upon persons who enter into that relationship. The government does not act irrationally or unconstitutionally when it decides not to regulate (i.e., grant comparable legal benefits to, or impose comparable legal responsibilities upon) same-sex couples. Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination. It’s respecting the unique reality of the relationship between a husband and a wife, who alone are capable of forming a union open to new life.
How is voter approval of Proposition 8 and similar laws relevant to this debate? The people recognize what marriage is. The decision not to extend marital benefits or responsibilities to two persons of the same sex is well-grounded and certainly rational.
Isn’t marriage simply a social construct subject to redefinition? No. Marriage is not devised or invented by people. It is given in nature, human nature. Only a man and a woman – by nature and not by human invention – are capable of forming a spousal union and generating children. That some marriages do not generate, or are incapable of generating, children, or that technological means are sometimes employed to create children outside the sexual act, does not alter the fundamental fact of sexual complementarity between men and women that is part of, and given in, human nature.

4 comments:

musculars said...

These are the same assertions that were essentially made at trial without data or evidence to back them up; which makes your case "irrational" before a court of law.
The supporters of prop 8 did a miserable job of presenting a rebuttal to the extensive amount of data that has found its way into Judge Walker's findings of fact and you have done no better.
The best you can hope for is that the case to be tried de novo but the findings of fact must still be considered. Despite your protestations to the contrary the record emmanating from the Church's own damning statements of willfull ignorance shows the primary objection to same sex marriage is as rooted in bigotry as found in the objections to interracial marriages.

Your and the bishops repeated logical fallacy of argumentumn ad populum is as reprehensible as it is hypocritical. The church hardly respects the will of the majority in determining what is right. It is of course logically fallacious because the mere fact that a belief is widely-held is not necessarily a guarantee that the belief is correct. If the belief of any individual can be wrong, then the belief held by multiple persons can also be wrong.
One cannot begin to access the harm the Church has done, primarially to itself in engaging in what is essentially a scorched earth policy in the "culture wars". The Bishops should have better things to do than spent 200k on such nonsense and claim the sky is falling . Win or lose in the courts in the larger sense the bishops will not be vindicated and the mission of the Church will be further damaged. They have gained the enemity of gay and lesbians everywhere. They have increased the mistrust of mainline protestant bodies who have spoken with rationality and hope in their ecumenical realtions with the church. And finally they engage in a winner takes all politics complicit in the present day polarization and undermining of our Constitutional government.

The USCCB reiterates what Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese stated clearly as the bishops' agenda in a manner that in previous times struck fear in Jews and Hugenots, in the following statement regarding the original passage of prop 8.
"I am grateful to the Catholic Community of Los Angeles for your commitment to the institution of marriage as fashioned by God and to work with such energy to enshrine this divine plan into our state's Constitution,"
In giving so much material support for the passage of Prop 8 without giving pause to reflect on the astonishing recognition of the right to marry as a basic human right and subject to the close scrunity level of protection of the equal protection clause, the Catholic leadership has participatied in a divisive undermining of the authority of the Court and in imposing a tyranny of the majority that eviserates the equal protection clause for all Californians.
Pope Benedict said “The union of love, based on matrimony between a man and a woman, which makes up the family, represents a good for all society that cannot be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other types of unions,”
The pope also spoke of the inalienable rights of the traditional family, “founded on matrimony between a man and a woman, to be the natural cradle of human life”.

What was so interesting in the California Supreme Court’s reasoning is its defense of the familial aspect of same sex marriages. If the Pope and the USCCB want to conflate Catholic theology and secular law, they would be wise to read the Court’s concern for the families of same sex unions. The cradle for adopted, neglected or abandonned children,is found in all unions, including same sex and is more in keeping with sacramental theology where all, through Christ, become the adopted children of God.
Ironic that a secular Court has so much to teach the Church in this regard , which is increasingly identifying itself as the last refuge of bigotry

This is more than sinful it is dangerous and inept.

musculars said...

Again, these are the same assertions that were essentially made at trial without data or evidence to back them up. Which makes your case "irrational" before a court of law.
The supporters of prop 8 did a miserable job of presenting a rebuttal to the extensive amount of data that has found its way into Judge Walker's findings of fact and you have done no better.
The best you can hope for is that the case to be tried de novo but the findings of fact must still be considered. Despite your protestations to the contrary the record emmanating from the Church's own damning statements of willfull ignorance shows the primary objection to same sex marriage is as rooted in bigotry as found in the objection to interracial marriages.
Amongst your many reprehensible fallacies of logic the most hypocritical is the bishops repeated argumentumn ad populum. The church hardly respects the will of the majority in determining what is right. It is of course logically fallacious because the mere fact that a belief is widely held is not necessarily a guarantee that the belief is correct. If the belief of any individual can be wrong, then the belief held by multiple persons can also be wrong.

One cannot begin to access the harm the Church has done, primarially to itself in engaging in a scorched earth policy in the "culture wars". The Bishops should have better things to do than spend 200k on a silly game of semantics and claim the sky is falling.
Win or lose in the courts, in the larger sense the bishops will not be vindicated and the mission of the Church will be further damaged. They have gained the enemity of gay and lesbians everywhere. They have increased the mistrust of mainline protestant bodies who have spoken with rationality and hope in their ecumenical relations with the church. And finally they engage in a winner takes all politics complicit in the present day polarization and underming of our Constitutional government.

The USCCB reiterates what Cardinal Mahony of the Los Angeles Archdiocese stated clearly as the bishops agenda in a manner that in previous times struck fear in Jews and Hugenots, in the following statement regarding the original passage of prop 8.
"I am grateful to the Catholic Community of Los Angeles for your commitment to the institution of marriage as fashioned by God and to work with such energy to enshrine this divine plan into our state's Constitution,"
In giving so much material support for the passage of Prop 8 without giving pause to reflect on the astonishing recognition of the right to marry as a basic human right and subject to the close scrunity level of protection of the equal protection clause, the Catholic leadership has participatied in a divisive undermining of the authority of the Court and in imposing a tyranny of the majority that eviserates the equal protection clause for all Californians.
Pope Benedict said “The union of love, based on matrimony between a man and a woman, which makes up the family, represents a good for all society that cannot be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other types of unions,”
The pope also spoke of the inalienable rights of the traditional family, “founded on matrimony between a man and a woman, to be the natural cradle of human life”.

What was so interesting in the California Supreme Court’s reasoning is its defense of the familial aspect of same sex marriages. If the Pope and the USCCB want to conflate Catholic theology and secular law, they would be wise to read the Court’s concern for the families of same sex unions. The cradle for adopted, neglected or abandonned children,is found in all unions, including same sex and is more in keeping with sacramental theology where all, through Christ, become the adopted children of God.
Ironic that a secular Court has so much to teach the Church in this regard , which is increasingly identifying itself as the last refuge of bigotry.

die444die said...

Your answers to these questions are hogwash.

southern_psych said...

"timeless definition of marriage"

Even a fleeting glance at the history of marriage shows marriage to be an ever-changing construct. Christian cultural definitions of marriage are not immune to this change. Polygamy was acceptable in the times the Scriptures were written. A man had to marry his brother's wife if he died before producing a son. I would guess that not one married person reading this had a dowry. Marriage was not even a sacrament in the early Church. It was a political arrangement. Evidence abounds for the evolution of marriage during the Christian era.

"the neglect of the rights of children to a mother and a father"

I find no justification for this claim. Many children grow up without one or two parents. These children are just as well-adjusted as children from different-sex two-parent homes. Studies also repeatedly show that children from same-sex two-parent homes are just as well adjusted as children from different-sex two-parent homes. Findings show time and again that what matters to the development of children is that they are loved. The sex of the loved one has no bearing.


"the false claim that men and women, fathers and mothers, do not matter for families or for society"

Galatians 3:38 "... there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." It seems apparent that St. Paul believes there should be no division between the sexes.