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March 03, 2008

Same-Sex Marriage Back in the Courts

BUMP AND UPDATE: I didn't realize that this was going to be a big issue this time around, but Obama had some pretty provocative comments about it on Sunday:

"I don't think it [a same-sex union] should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state," said Obama. "If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." ((Hear audio from WTAP-TV)) St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans condemns homosexual acts as unnatural and sinful.

[...]

The Sermon, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, includes the Lord's Prayer, the Beatitudes, an endorsement of scriptural moral commandments ("anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven"), and condemnations of murder, divorce and adultery. It also includes a warning: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

Ohio overwhelmingly passed a marriage amendment in 2004, with strong support for defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman even among Democrats.

Original Post:

The California Supreme Court is going to hear oral arguments in a same-sex marriage case on Tuesday. The question: "Is a state law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman constitutional under California's Constitution?" State constitutions often provide more protections than the federal constitution, especially a monster-sized document like California's (110 pages!). I normally wouldn't send anyone to read the San Fransisco Chronicle, but there is a careful and thorough write-up in today's paper that covers all sides of the case.

The State of California has been struggling with these issues for a while. We already have domestic partnerships. The legislature has passed two bills legalizing same-sex marriage, but Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed them. Another same-sex marriage bill is in the works, as are two initiative drives to amend the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. One of those initiatives, if enacted, will also repeal same-sex domestic partnerships.

Some folks are concerned that a ruling--due in 90 days--which favors gays and lesbians will reignite the issue of gay marriage for the general election. It's also possible that a victory for gays and lesbians will result in the kind of backlash laws and amendments we saw in the wake of the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in 2003.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:50 PM

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