THE POLITICS OF PROP 8
Catalyst September Issue 2010
It came as no surprise to us when we found that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8, the 2008 California measure that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. In one ruling, Judge Walker discounted the votes of millions of Californians who believe in traditional marriage. It has never been the people that have voted for homosexual marriage, it’s always been lawmakers and unelected judges.
In his ruling, Walker found as fact that “religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” Walker’s unmitigating arrogance was evident when he decided that his ruling should not be reviewed by any other judges, believing that his ruling should be the end all be all.
In an interview with Catholic News Agency, Bill Donohue said that the Church’s teachings on homosexuality are shared by many religions throughout the world and that Walker’s arrogance “would be hard to top.” When asked about Walker’s citation of the document on the legal recognition of homosexual marriage signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when he was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donohue said, “Listing the pope’s remarks in a judicial ruling designed to prove the harmfulness of Church teachings on homosexuality is invidious” and that it seeks to “stigmatize the defense of marriage.”
Although the ruling was not surprising, the fact that the express will of the people in the nation’s largest state was summarily ignored by one unelected judge is cause for alarm; in over 30 attempts, gay marriage advocates have never won in any state.
We knew from the get-go that this issue would land on the desk of the U.S. Supreme Court, and that now looms as the next step. There is always the option of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a step that may be necessary given the reality of judicial activism on the bench.