August 5, 2010
Statement on the overturning of California’s Prop. 8 by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker
California’s voter-approved ban on gay marriage (Proposition 8) was overturned yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. In his ruling he found that the gay marriage ban violates the Constitution's due process and equal protection clauses while failing "to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license." His ruling went on to say: "Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples," the judge wrote in his 136-page ruling.
The ruling is deeply flawed.
Contained at its heart is a mistaken and dangerous claim that the marriage debate is primarily a religious squabble in which the state has no compelling interest other than to uphold state constitutional equal protection and non-discrimination statutes.
Although the Church has always understood that marriage is both a sacred union and natural institution, its natural meaning does not, and never has, originated from the state or Church. Marriage, from the beginning, exists naturally as the basic cell of society which protects and replenishes it with the next generation. Marriage attaches children to both a mother and father according to the child’s dignity. The societal stability this promotes is precisely why politicians and courts are obligated, not to redefine marriage or treat it as a religious question, but to protect and encourage it.
Proponents of same-sex marriage continue to decouple the meaning of marital love from its natural and divine purpose. As a result, the definitive expression of marital love, the sexual embrace, open to new life, is rendered sterile, devoid of natural meaning or expression. This, driven by Identity politics and judicial activism, must be resisted.
+Phil A. Webb Jr.
Director, Office of Marriage & Family Life
Archdiocese of Denver