An interesting turn of events in California…

Kate Kendall, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said 3 million to 4 million ballots remain uncounted statewide. “The fact is depending on the turnout model we are looking at millions of votes yet to be counted,” Kendall said. The race is too close to call. People’s fundamental rights hang in the balance.”

There are still absentee and provisional ballots to count and if I were them I’d be saying the same thing. Don’t let up until every single one is counted.

Still, with Prop 8 leading by 4% right now, the outlook doesn’t look great.

More as it develops…


  1. I actually think it is a good thing for the cause. This will enable them to sue at the us supreme court level. This was always going to be an issue, and this battle is not over. Take it to the supreme court and show that it is illegal to discriminate against one group. This is clear and simple a case of discrimination.

  2. “Do we have anyone that opposes gay marriage on this board?”

    Not me. I’m pretty much in agreement with the libertarians when it comes to what goes on between two consenting adults.

  3. Of course we’re all against gay marriage!

    Gay marriage devalues my marriage! Gay marriage is why everything is wrong! Gay marriage is why I have problems in my life! Gay marriage is why everything is children don’t have enough to eat! Gay marriage is why unemployment is grim! Gay marriage is why people die! Gay marriage is why I stubbed my toe this morning!

  4. I oppose gay marriage.

    I harbor no ill will toward same-sex couples. I think they should be granted the same rights as other citizens. But here’s the problem:

    Once the state recognizes gay marriage it has a lot of legal ramifications to churches and the gay community has shown a healthy inclination toward law suits. For example:

    -If the state says that gay marriage is OK, does a church have the right to deny adoptive services to gay couples based on their religious belief that homosexuality is morally wrong? If not, doesn’t this cross the line between the separation of church and state?

    -Can a church deny full fellowship to a gay couple that is legally married in a state based on their religious belief that homosexuality is morally wrong? If not, doesn’t this cross the line betweeen the separation of church and state?

    -If a legally married gay couple asks that homosexual relations be given equal treatment in their adoptive children’s classrooms, does the school have the right to say no?

    -If a legally married gay man asks to be a Boy Scouts of America troop leader, can the Boy Scouts deny him the position based on their belief that homosexuality is morally wrong?

    Churches are naturally leary of the intentions of the gay community. Too often they are not simply asked to live and let live, rather, there is pressure on churches from gay rights groups to allow their gay members to maintain full fellowship. For those religions that view homosexuality as morally wrong, this is impossible. What the churches fear is that the ultimate aim of the gay community is to have the state label any teaching that says homosexuality is morally wrong as discrimination, threatening the separation of church and state. State-sanctioned gay marriage is a pretty clearly step in this direction.

  5. To answer your questions

    1) Yes, the church can. The state cannot impose rules on a church or a private entity that is strictly social in nature. There is no violation of civil rights here because it never rises to the level of preventing a gay couple from adopting (they can persue adoption through public agencies) nor does the activity of church sponsored adoption somehow grant favored status over a non-church sponsored adoption.

    2) A church can deny fellowship to anyone for any reason at all. It is a private entity and a church. The separation clause precludes the state from imposing membership.

    3) I am not sure what you are asking. What unequal treatment are you suggesting should be imposed? Children of gay couples need to sit in the back of the class?

    4) Yes, they can bar a legally married gay man (or any single gay man for that matter) as a Boy Scouts of America troop leader. In fact, the Supreme Court already ruled on this in Boy Scouts of America V Dale.

  6. gerryf

    Your answers seem based on current precedent where gay marriage is not recognised. The question is how do these precendents change if the state were to authorize gay marriage, essentially offering a state mandate that puts gay relationships on the same footing as heterosexual ones? It seems to me that this then opens the door to challenges to the freedom of assembly of churches and other organizations that refuse to recognise homosexual relationships in the same way they recognize heterosexual relationships.

  7. I think you make a good point, but judicial precedent is a powerful thing. Even John Roberts during his nomination when question on a woman’s right to abortion said “That’s decided law.”

    Of course he is against it personally, but that does not mean he will seize any moment to just reverse it.

    Yes, things can change, but things do not change easily or often. And when it does, it is rare that the change is something the general populace is shocked at. Such changes mostly are made to address a horrible wrong that was somehow codified (racism).

    Thinking of all the judicial precedents that reversed some long standing laws, only Roe V. Wade stands out as controversial.

    Are people still upset about Brown V Board of Education of Topeka? US v Nixon? Miranda V. Arizona? Abington School District v. Schempp? (OK, maybe that last one, but not the majority of people).

  8. Thanks, you make a good point also.

    Your third paragraph goes to the heart of the matter, where you talk about the court addressing some horrible wrong, like racism. This is precisely the way the gay community views this issue. In fact, just today on NPR I listened to an opponent of proposition 8 saying exactly this, that the issue of gay marriage is essentially the same as the struggle against racism.

    Once the issue of gay marriage is raised to this level, which seems to be the stated goal of the gay community, this creates all sorts of potential challenges to the freedom of assembly of any group that opposes them. If the state takes the position that gay marriage is protected in the same way that race is protected in our country, there seems to be no question that any previous precedents surrounding this issue are going to be questioned, putting church and state on a collision course.

    This line of reasoning really gets to the rub on this whole question. The key difference between the fight for racial equality in our country and that of gay rights is that the former is backed by Judeo Christian beliefs and the latter is opposed by them. Like it or not, the majority of our country holds to Judeo Christian values. This means that a majority of people are not only unlikely to agree that the fight for gay marriage rises to the same moral level as the fight for racial equality, but they also see the efforts by the gay community as an attack on their Christian beliefs. This explains why the black community does not get behind the gay community in this fight, which seems to mystify the gay community.

  9. RPC – A few observations regarding your statements:

    One should not assume that all religions or all Christian churches hold your view of the proper application of Judeo Christian beliefs in this matter. They do not. My Episcopal congregation believes that it is our duty to strive to end discrimination against gays and lesbians, in the sam emannr that we fought for racial equality.

    There are millions of religious gay and lesbian people, including gay Christians. They are not mutually exclusive. To talk in an us vs. them mode is not, in my opinion, helpful to advancing this issue.

    The argument that ending discrimination against gays and lesbians by the state would force churches to follow such practices in their congregations is a red herring. Women have had equal rights in this country for decades, yet Catholic, Muslim and many Baptist churches do not treat women equally in their congregations and have never been forced to do so. Not ever.

    You talk about the separation of church and state, yet the goal of Prop 8 supporters was to have some religious groups dictate how the state treats certain of its citizens in the secular realm. That is what Prop 8 does. Isn’t that a violation of church and state? You stated yourself that the actions of the state shpould be based on the supporters’ view of what constitutes Judeo-Christian values. How is that maintaining a separation of church and state?

    It strikes me as odd that anyone would put the desired right of some to foster discrimination (whether based on their religious practices or otherwise) above the protection of fundamental rights of other citizens. In other words, one’s right to discriminate trumps another person’s basic rights as a citizen. How can such a paradigm be maintained in a civil society that contains many persons of many faiths? I don’t believe it can in the long run. What if Muslim faiths started demanding that the state recognize the rulings and practices of their religious courts when the state issues divorce rulings (as they are doing now in the UK), or the Catholic Church begins to demand that divorce be made illegal (since the Catholic view of Judeo-Christian teachings is that divorce should not be permitted)? For us to survive as a democracy, we cannot allow the basic rights of any citizen to be subjected to the religious beliefs of certain other citizens. Fundamental rights are just that.

    Nobody chooses their sexual orientation. I don’t think that anyone making that argument is really being honest with themself. One need only look at their own experience as a human, whatever their orientation. It isn’t like one day when you turn 16 you decide whether to be straight or gay. People are what they are, and a certain percentage of our population will always be gay. I realize that some people have a hard time accepting the fact that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic, because doing so puts their discriminatory actions in the same light as discrimination based on race or gender. However, no person’s beliefs can alter reality.

    It is hard to argue that discrimination against gays and lesbians is justified unless one can argue that it is about behavior and not status, that somehow gays and lesbians invite such unequal treatment by choosing to be homosexual. There is no choice involved and a straight person really should not try to claim moral superiority because of their orientation, any more than brunettes can claim moral superiority over blonds.

    I think the real issue for many fundamentalist congregations is not the fear that the state will somehow force them to treat gays and lesbians equally, but rather that the more that gays and lesbians are treated equally in secular society, the harder it will be for them to teach their followers that such discrimination is justified and, indeed, required by their interpretation of biblical teachings. Somehow, if the state engages in the same form of discrimination, it adds to the legitimacy of such behavior.

    Just my observations, for what they are worth. With the amazing election of Barack Obama this week, it is my profound hope that we as a society will stop focusing on things that divide us and, rather, start focusing on those common characteristics and experiences that bind us together.

  10. One other comment. It is not correct to say that Judeo-Christian values have always supported equality of the races. Unfortunately, a review of Judeo-Christian history tells a very different story. For thousands of years, slavery of various different races and peoples was accepted, and in some cases supported, by Judeo-Christian congregations. In our own country, you can look at the failure of most churches to condemn slavery in our southern states or their failure to act to condemn the Nazis’ mistreatment of Jews in Europe leading up to World War II. The best we can do as Christians is to learn from past mistakes and work to do better in the future. Unfortunately, I believe that the failure of some congregations to treat the current issue as a struggle for civil rights will, over time, be viewed as an example of failing to do to the right thing and will be harmful to our continued growth.

  11. The loud call for opponents of Prop. 8 to “get over it and accept the will of the people” is embarrassing for teachers of social studies and American government in California public and private schools. Clearly, at least 52% of California voters missed the lesson where we learned about how our system of government was designed with a network of political checks and balances to prevent what is called the “tyranny of the majority,” to ensure that our system of government ultimately protects the rights of minorities against what any given majority (religious in the case of Prop. 8) might care to legislate into law.

    Perhaps the Prop 8 people also missed the news that a consortium of civil rights groups have filed suit against Prop. 8 (story at: They know that any legislation that curtails civil rights for one group that is allowed to stand, regardless of how they may personally feel about that minority, opens the door as precedent to legislate against the rights of another. Perhaps there’s another group out there who doesn’t like having Native American tribes own all those casinos, or business signs in only Spanish, Korean or Farsi, and perhaps we should do something about those obnoxiously ornate Mormon temples all over the place. And what about those Knights of Columbus? Does anyone doubt their intimate connection to the Roman Catholic Church? Perhaps a majority of us should pass a law so that the entire American Roman Catholic church is taxed as a private corporation consequent to the political activity of their Blessed Knights. Perhaps those of you who hate one minority and would deprive them of civil rights might reconsider your political stand (not your religious beliefs) if you consider the precedent being set by Proposition 8. It may be their very beliefs that become the next target for oppression despite your personal belief in their universality.

    Whether one believes the Earth is flat, that Adam walked with dinosaurs, that Shiva had six arms, that crystals cure cancer, that fairies live in willows, that Jesus saves you from your sins, or that people choose their sexual identity, your freedom is protected by that Constitution they are trying to change. God save them from themselves. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to try to keep America whole, and not let our system be torn by more hate.