CA Federal Judge Strikes Down Prop 8 as Unconstitutional
Today, Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. Proposition 8 is an amendment to the state’s constitution and defines marriage as between one man and one woman. It was passed by popular vote. In his ruling, Judge Walker, who is himself gay, stated:
“Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the judge wrote. “Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.” (Source: Los Angeles Times)
A full version of the judge’s opinion, in PDF format, can be obtained here.
Naturally, this decision is being praised by gay marriage advocates across the country. Similarly, gay marriage opponents are outraged at activist judges and the will of the people being thwarted. Legal teams for both the plaintiff and the defendants in this case had already vowed to appeal the court’s decision, so the next step for this case is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court, if that lofty bench decides to hear the case.
First off, let’s deal with the activist judge claim. Vaughn Walker was appointed by George H.W. Bush. He was originally nominated by none other than Ronald Reagan, but his nomination was stalled over the fact he represented the United States Olympic Committee in a suit over use of the term “Gay Olympics.”
That’s right. He was representing the USOC, who was against the term “Gay Olympics” being co-opted by a non-affiliated group.
If he’s an activist judge, we can blame the most lauded conservative president in history for his appointment.
Now, on to the merits of the case.
This isn’t about the will of the people, really. I’ve heard both conservatives and liberals use the “will of the people” argument any time it comes down to legislation they support. I’ve also heard both groups point out, correctly, that the Constitution is there to protect the minority against a tyrannical majority.
So what’s it about?
According to Judge Walker, there is a “fundamental right to marry.” This right being denied to gay couples creates an “irrational classification based on sexual orientation.” I’m not sure I buy that. First, as a Libertarian leaning conservative, I’m not really happy about the role the government plays in any marriage. If one is religious, then marriage is a sacrament ordained by God, not by man. If one is secular, marriage is between the people involved.
Government is involved in marriage, though. This is a bitter pill to many social conservatives, who would like to dictate morality – their morality – from the bench as much as many leftists would. When we start letting the government get involved in our personal lives, this is exactly what happens. One group petitions for redress on this issue. Another group on that issue. Before you know it, there are over 1,o00 laws governing the taxation of people based on their marital status alone.
This is what concerns me most about Proposition 8 and Judge Walker’s decision to overturn it. I’ve already seen tweets demanding an amendment to the US Constitution protecting marriage. From a conservative against big government no less. And who is he running to to protect his private relationship? The government! It’s maddening.
Both sides are pushing a progressive agenda here. Can’t people see that? Both sides are leaving it up to the government to legitimize what should be a private matter.
Aside from that, we are leaving it up to the government to legitimize the traditional “nuclear” family. Excuse me, but the traditional family needs no government legitimizing, thank you very much. One man, one woman. That will always be the primary composition of parenthood, because that’s what biology dictates. If one believes in God, it is what God dictates. We can’t change that through government intervention because the government doesn’t have that kind of power, nor should we ever believe it does.
Judge Walker isn’t wrong because he wants gay people to have due process and equal protection. He’s wrong because he wants everyone to be treated the same. Equal opportunity and equal protection are not the same as an equal outcome.
Years ago, when the gay marriage issue first raised its ugly head, most of the gay men I knew were against it. To sum up a friend: “I don’t want to get married. What’s the point of doing that? I’m not a breeder. I don’t want to act like one.” His vulgarity, not mine. Pushing the gay marriage agenda isn’t about thwarting the will of the people. It’s about manifesting a social construct on a community that didn’t even want it until they were told they couldn’t have it.
We are not all the same. Nor should we want to be. How can the gay community “celebrate diversity” while at the same time trying to eradicate it?
Finally, on a personal note. I am a gay conservative. I know I point that out too much, but I do so to counter the gay agenda, not to push it. I define my relationships, not Judge Walker. I define my values, not my orientation. I define my goals, my aspirations. I am responsible for my achievements. Not the court. Not the Human Rights Coalition, not a pride parade. Me. I am a minority of one, just like everyone else. And this is what the gay marriage debate is trying to take away from me.
(This post cross-posted at NewsReal Blog. Join the discussion!)