The Ninth Circuit Court today upheld a lower court ruling which found Proposition 8, which overturned marriage equality in California, unconstitutional. Religious Right activists immediately denounced the ruling and used the decision to attack gays and lesbians, judges, Hollywood and San Francisco.
The National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown emailed members with a warning that the case will end up with an “all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court” and told members that donations are needed to deny “same-sex marriage radicals” a legal victory:
Moments ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit handed down a sweeping ruling striking down California’s Proposition 8 and—for the first time ever—finding a "right" to same-sex marriage in the United States Constitution!
This sets up an all-or-nothing showdown at the United States Supreme Court.
A Supreme Court victory would preserve the marriage laws of 44 states, denying same-sex marriage radicals in their campaign to force gay marriage on the entire nation in one fell swoop. But if we lose at the Supreme Court, marriage will be jeopardized not just in California, but in all 50 states.
NOM also posted additional statements from Brown and board chairman John Eastman, who called it an “absurd ruling”:
“As sweeping and wrong-headed as this decision is, it nonetheless was as predictable as the outcome of a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition game,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “We have anticipated this outcome since the moment San Francisco Judge Vaughn Walker’s first hearing in the case. Now we have the field cleared to take this issue to the US Supreme Court, where we have every confidence we will prevail.”
“Never before has a federal appeals court – or any federal court for that matter – found a right to gay marriage under the US Constitution,” said constitutional scholar John Eastman, who is chairman of NOM. “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the most overturned circuit in the country, and Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the author of today’s absurd ruling is the most overturned federal judge in America. Today’s ruling is a perfect setup for this case to be taken by the US Supreme Court, where I am confident it will be reversed. This issue is the Roe v Wade of the current generation, and I sincerely doubt the Court has the stomach for preempting the policy judgments of the states on such a contentious matter, knowing the lingering harm it caused by that ruling.”
The Alliance Defense Fund senior counsel Brian Raum dubbed the ruling a “Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage”:
No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people. Americans overwhelmingly reject the idea of changing the definition of marriage. Sixty-three million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on marriage, and 63 percent voted to preserve marriage as the timeless, universal, unique union between husband and wife.
We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage–tried in San Francisco–turned out this way. But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court. Every pro-marriage American should be pleased that this case can finally go to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ProtectMarriage.com legal team’s arguments align with every other federal appellate and Supreme Court decision on marriage in American history.
Catholics for the Common Good president William May derided the court for failing to “to protect the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society”:
"It is outrageous that judges continue to disregard the will of 7 million voters who voted to protect the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society," May said.
Federal District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker presided over a show trial about marriage in which plaintiff's counsel trotted out witness after witness with emotional arguments in a PR attempt to re-argue Proposition 8.
"Failing to disclose that the judge himself was similarly situated as the plaintiffs (in a long-term committed relationship with a same-sex partner), Walker could find no rational reason for the voters to define marriage between a man and a woman and concluded they were bigoted and discriminatory," said May.
"To reach his judgment about the voters and his decision to strike down Prop 8, he created a new definition of marriage as merely the public recognition of a committed relationship for the benefit of adults. However, the voters of California know that marriage is much more than that. It is the reality that unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union. This is what marriage is; that is what it does. It is a reality that can only be recognized by law and never changed."
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council accused the court of “judicial tyranny” and trying to “impose San Francisco values on the entire country”:
"Today's decision was disappointing but not surprising, coming from the most liberal Circuit Court in the country. This Hollywood-funded lawsuit, which seeks to impose San Francisco values on the entire country, may eventually reach the Supreme Court. This is not about constitutional governance but the insistence of a group of activists to force their will on their fellow citizens.
"This ruling substitute's judicial tyranny for the will of the people, who in the majority of states have amended their constitutions, as California did, to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
"However, we remain confident that in the end, the Supreme Court will reject the absurd argument that the authors of our Constitution created or even implied a 'right' to homosexual 'marriage,' and will instead uphold the right of the people to govern themselves.
"Voters in 31 states have voted to uphold the historic and natural definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Twenty-nine, a majority of American states, have actually inserted such a definition into the text of their state constitutions," concluded Perkins.
Focus on the Family analyst Bruce Hausknecht called the ruling “yet another instance of social engineering”:
“Opponents of Prop 8 insist on changing the definition of marriage for everyone, including children who deserve the opportunity to grow up in a home with their own married mother and father," Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family, said in a statement after the ruling.
“But no judge has the right to redefine marriage," he continued. "Doing so redefines parenthood, and offers yet another instance of social engineering based on the desires of adults rather than the interests of children."
Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Young Nance asserted that the judges “undermined the foundations of the family and liberty”:
Once again, the Ninth Circuit lives up to its reputation as the most overturned court in the country. Only this time, they have reached a new low. They not only showed a complete disregard for the Constitution, but also for those principles and values that gave birth to it, and for "we the people" who are supposed to be the ultimate authority.
Californians voted overwhelmingly to support the traditional definition of marriage that has been the foundation of this great nation. Our experiences have shown us, as science proves, that the best environment for children to develop as productive members of our society is in a home where there is a mother and a father who love them and each other unconditionally. Yet with a stroke of the pen these three judges have undermined the foundations of the family and liberty.
Shame on them.
We know this issue will eventually end up at the U.S. Supreme Court and we hope, for the sake of our country's future, that they will show much more respect for the Constitution, our foundations and the people who give them the right to make these rulings in the first place.
UPDATE: The Capitol Resource Institute blasted the ruling as “a stunning assault on democracy”:
"This is a stunning assault on democracy and California's initiative process," explained Karen England, Executive Director of pro-family group Capitol Resource Institute and a key leader in the passage of Proposition 8. "Well over 50% of California voters approved Proposition 8; today their will was overturned by a panel of arrogant judges who want to impose their political agenda on the rest of us."
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling is not the end of the road for Proposition 8.
"The truth will always prevail and we are confident that the traditional-and true-definition of marriage will be upheld by the Supreme Court," stated England. "The voice of the people must be heard and respected. The future of California and American families depends upon the sanctity of traditional marriage. It's time for the courts to recognize marriages' critical role in society and protect it."
Former NOM head Maggie Gallagher, now with the Culture War Victory Fund, writes on National Review Online that the ruling represents a “breathtaking exercise in ill-natured illogic”:
In a breathtaking exercise in ill-natured illogic, a divided Ninth Circuit ruled 2–1 that because Prop 8 does not take away civil-union benefits for same-sex couples, it’s an unconstitutional exercise in irrational animus towards gay people.
Dishonestly, the court claimed it did not require any heightened scrutiny to reach this result.
Gordon Klingenschmitt said that the “Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves” as a result of the ruling:
The liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced today that the Founding Fathers wrote homosexual 'marriage' rights into the U.S. Constitution, and overturned California's Proposition 8 traditional marriage law, which had twice been passed by voters. The Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves, since all of them believed sodomy was a crime, and certainly not a Constitutional right.
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver claimed the ruling “undermines the legitimacy of the judicial system” and represents the “unraveling of the actual judiciary”:
"This is a travesty of justice and it undermines the legitimacy of the judiciary," Staver tells OneNewsNow. "When judges find that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, it's absolutely absurd. This is, I think, an illustration of why the judiciary has lost the confidence of the American people."
"If you look at ideology ... pushed by this particular panel, obviously that's what this panel did: they looked at their own ideological bias, their radical positions -- not the Constitution itself. And when they did that, it undermined their own legitimacy -- and I think this is the unraveling of the actual judiciary. It is the very seeds, as Thomas Jefferson said, of tyranny."
"They're not only saying that the voters don't have the right to amend their own constitution and define marriage, they're also saying that there is a constitutional, guaranteed right to same-sex marriage in the United States Constitution itself. That's absolutely absurd. It is insane to suggest that there is such a right in the United States Constitution."
The Family Leader dubbed the court a “friend of the radical homosexual agenda” and referred to the ruling as a case of bullying:
Today's decision by the liberal 9th Circut Court, while expected, is sad and outrageous on many levels. Not least of which is "we the people" get bullied again by a few "robed masters." It's also evidence that when executives go wobbly on fighting the left's agenda and not appointing ONLY strict constructionist judges, who take the Constitution and due process seriously, we continue to lose these battles. However, the 9th Circuit's opinon is no surprise; they have been a friend of the radical homosexual agenda for years. As for us; we have only begun to and will continue to be in the fight! Join us!
Gary Bauer of American Values chided the “Circus” Court for attempting to “force its radical agenda down our throats” and “threatening religious liberty”:
The Ninth “Circus” Court of Appeals has struck again. Today, a divided three-judge panel overruled the majority of California voters and struck down Proposition 8 — the state’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The court’s majority ruled that traditional marriage “fails to advance any rational basis.” So in spite of thousands of years of recorded history, in spite of the values held by every major faith, in spite of basic biology and common sense and in spite of the will of the people, these left-wing judicial ideologues believe that normal marriage is irrational.
Here’s the bottom line: The culture war is real. The left does not intend to allow these issues to be decided by the people in their respective states. It will use the courts to force its radical agenda down our throats.
This is why it is so important for men and women of faith to be informed and active in the public policy debates of our time. These decisions are redefining our cherished values and threatening religious liberty.