Proposition 8 overturned - the truth is spoken



05 Aug 2010. California. Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled that Proposition 8 which bans Gay marriage should be repealed because it violated basic equality laws in the constitution.  It was a victory for lawyers Theodore Olsen and David Boies. Ironically, Judge Walker was a conservative judge nominated by President HW Bush in 1989. His earlier nomination by Ronald Reagan in 1987 was stalled because of perceived anti-gay bias.  The lawyer Theodore Olsen was the US Solicitor General under very conservative President George W Bush. David Boies was a heavy weight attorney having represented Vice President Al Gore in the Year 2000 Presidential Election Disputes. 

It was the most unlikely of partnerships that produced a most convincing argument against the Christian Right Supporters of Proposition 8 who did not help themselves by being fear mongers who had conjured up the arguments against gays when the real reasons were based on religious opinions and not facts. They had no grounds to argue that banning gays from getting married:

-          Will Protect Children

-          Support better child raising which they say requires one female and one male

-          Preserves the marriage institution

During the trial, these assertions were found to be rhetoric and conjured without a firm scientific basis. Their expert witness a David Blankenhorn had so little credibility and facts to support his testimony that it was given little weight. The ruling by Judge Walker was instead based on a substantial volume of "findings of fact,". The Slate reported that:-

“Among his most notable determinations of fact, Walker finds: states have long discriminated in matters of who can marry; marital status affects immigration, citizenship, tax policy, property and inheritance rules, and benefits programs; that individuals do not choose their own sexual orientation; California law encourages gay couples to become parents; domestic partnership is a second-class legal status; permitting same-sex couples to marry does not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, or otherwise screw around. He found that it benefits the children of gay parents to have them be married and that the gender of a child's parent is not a factor in a child's adjustment. He found that Prop 8 puts the force of law behind a social stigma and that the entirety of the Prop 8 campaign relied on instilling fears that children exposed to the concept of same-sex marriage may become gay. Slate “A Brilliant Ruling”, 04 Aug 2010.

Judge Walker highlighted the real motivations behind Proposition 8 were that:-

  1.  “Proposition 8 played on a fear that exposure to homosexuality would turn children into homosexuals and that parents should dread having children who are not heterosexual”

  2.  “Moral Disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples”.

  3.   “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples”

In the conclusion, Judge Walker said that

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. 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. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional”.

(Exo 20:16 NKJV)  "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

(Exo 23:1 NKJV)  "You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

(Mark 14:56 NKJV)  For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.

The Christian Right (coalition of Evangelicals, Mormons, and Catholics) lost the argument because their arguments were based on a false witness and could not stand up to open scrutiny in the court. Under cross examination, all their scientific evidences were found to be inconsistent and unrelated.   It violates Exo 20:16, and the transgression is serious because it was perpetrated not on an individual basis but by an institutionalized basis by a coalition which represented the large majority of Christians. It was a corporate sin by the church which will in the future undermines its moral credibility and integrity.

The Christian Right responded strongly to the defeat calling Judge Walker an activist judge ruling against the will of the people. The will of the people however may not be God’s will. When we insist on the rights of the majority to deny the basic rights of the minority simply because they were the majority, we are on a slippery slope to lawlessness where:-

a) A fear based mob mentality will rule and we will worship our fears eg in Exo 32:1 where the Jews were insisting on making the golden calf to worship because they feared that Moses would not come back. In the same way, the Christian Right has so much fear of gays that they intend get rid of gay if  possible eg death penalty in Uganda. Our fear becomes our god, to the point that we rationalize our actions to please this god.

b) The minorities loose their basic rights and freedoms from the mob majority eg in Acts 8:1, where the Christian minority were persecuted and many had to flee from Jerusalem. The religious mob were dragging Christians out of homes in order to persecute them just as we drag gays out of the bed.

c) We lose the opportunity for personal intellectual reflection/reasoning and begin to reject without consideration and respect any opposing views from the majority. We take the space away from people to speak opposing views. For example, in Acts 17:3-5, the Jews raised up a mob to come after Paul and Silas that they had to escape to Berea. The opportunity was lost by the Jews in the Synagogue to carefully consider the truth of Christ, just because of the few loud voices stirred up an uproar.

d) We lose our humanity and moral boundaries, where we rationalize our action based on the mob mentality instead of individual responsibility and accountability. For example, in Nazi Germany, the Germans (vast majority Christians) killed millions of Jews and hundreds of thousands of gays without really feeling guilty because they lost their conscience in doing the will dictated by the majority. The facts become less important and taken over by propaganda and the need to follow the actions of the rest of the mob.

 The overturning of Proposition 8 is a danger sign to the Christian Right that however we try to hide gays in closets, and to hide/distort the truth, the truth will come out at the end showing us to be people without morality, integrity or righteousness despite our claim to be moral and righteous because we were Christians. The power of mob mentality where the people follow blindly what the church says can only hide the facts that much. More disturbing however is the fact that they were defeated by the rulings of Judge Walker and attorney Theodore Olsen who should have ruled in their favor since they were conservative judges. It showed that basic civil rights is not a Republican versus Democrats issue, nor a Conservative versus Liberal debate.

Similarly, we are reminded in the bible that Balaam tried his best to proclaim curses upon the nation of Israel (Num 22). It was his donkey who saw the Angel of the Lord blocking the way with the sword drawn and so turn aside to walk the other way into the field. Balaam got angry with the donkey and struck it repeatedly until God miraculously opened the mouth of the Donkey who spoke out in protest "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?". Even then Balaam did not see God's hand in the miracle (a speaking Donkey!) and treatened further to kill the Donkey until the Angel of the Lord opened Balaam's eyes as well and he saw "the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand"; Then he knew the truth"-   

(Num 22:34 NKJV) And Balaam said to the Angel of the LORD, "I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back."

Had Balaam continued, the Angel of the Lord would have killed him. If the Christian Church continues to champion and deny the Gay community basic human rights, and uses the name of Christ to justify their hatred and discrimination, then we too have committed a grave sin and if we continue on this road to perdition and do not turn back, surely the Angel of the Lord Himself will come against us.

In the overturning of Proposition 8, the "Donkey" has spoken. Do we keep hitting the Donkey or are our eyes and heart open to the road block in front of us. Sure, the Christian Right has said they will continue to fight on, but who are they fighting? Our eyes are so clouded by our own fears and self righteousness that God could not speak to us but uses the least likely of people in the conservative judge Walker and attorney Olsen to remind us of the finding of facts. If we remain far more stuborn than a donkey, who knows what will happen to us next.




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