14 Jun A Crucial Week for Marriage
This is a crucial week for marriage. Closing arguments will take place in the trial over the constitutionality of California’s Marriage Amendment (Prop 8). This is the first time a state marriage amendment (defining marriage as between one man and one women) has been challenged under the U.S. Constitution in federal court; a case that is almost certain to be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and may reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker (there is no jury for this trial) heard two and a half weeks of testimony back in January and he plans to hold a daylong hearing with closing arguments on Wednesday, June 16. Go here to see other UFI posts on the trial. Last week Judge Walker issued a list of 39 questions to be answered in closing arguments. The questions challenge the positions of both sides of the case. Here’s a small sampling:
To the attorneys of the plaintiffs (plaintiffs: two same-sex couples):
- How can marriage between gay or lesbian couples be a fundamental right in a nation that denied all legal protection to their relationships until very recently?
- What are the constitutional consequences if the evidence shows that sexual orientation is immutable for men but not for women?
- Must gay men and lesbians be treated identically under the Equal Protection Clause?
To the attorneys of the defendants (defendants: sponsors of Prop 8):
- What evidence at the trial showed that same-sex nuptials are “a drastic or far-reaching change to the institution of marriage?”
- In a state that treats domestic partners the same as spouses, “what purpose is served by differentiating – in name only – between same-sex and opposite-sex unions?”
- Do California laws allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt and raise children undermine the argument that banning same-sex marriage would promote children’s welfare?
Read carefully those last two questions to the defenders of Prop 8. We thought they were quite telling. Those questions relate to laws that California legislators put in place to get around California’s statutory law banning same-sex marriage (Prop 22) and then later the California Marriage Amendment (Prop 8).
It appears that California policy makers created a problem (allowing domestic partners to be treated the same as a spouse and stripping children of their right to both a mother and a father by allowing gay adoption) and then you have gay advocates coming back around and insisting you have to have same-sex marriage to justify the things that the legislature should have never done in the first place! This should be a cautionary tale to all states and municipalities who might consider instituting domestic partners benefits and allowing gay adoption.
The key question before Judge Walker, however, is whether California’s ban on same-sex marriage, passed as an initiative by voters in November 2008 as Proposition 8, violates the U.S. Constitution.
Walker’s ruling in the case is expected to be issued sometime this summer. United Families International will keep you updated as more information becomes available.