Critics are denouncing Wednesday's ruling by a U.S. district judge who struck down the voter-approved Proposition 8, a measure that defined marriage as between one man and one woman in California. One pro-family group reacted saying the decision's impact could “be devastating to marriage and the democratic process.”
In a landmark case, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8, an initiative which passed in November 2008 with the support of seven million Californians, both “unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.”
The constitutionality of Prop. 8 was challenged immediately after it was approved in 2008. Today's ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the Supreme Court by the pro-traditional marriage group, ProtectMarriage.com.
Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, responded to the decision saying, “Today’s ruling is clearly a disappointment. The judge’s invalidation of the votes of over seven million Californians violates binding legal precedent and short-circuits the democratic process. But this is not the end of our fight to uphold the will of the people for traditional marriage, as we now begin an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.”
Noting his confidence that the decision will be overturned, Pugno stated that reversing the decision “will also serve as a reminder that the role of the courts is to interpret and apply the law only as enacted by the people and their elected representatives, not to impose new social policies.”
Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, said on Wednesday that should today's ruling be upheld in the Supreme Court, it “would become the 'Roe v. Wade' of same-sex 'marriage,' overturning the marriage laws of 45 states.”
“As with abortion, the Supreme Court's involvement would only make the issue more volatile,” he cautioned. “It's time for the far Left to stop insisting that judges redefine our most fundamental social institution and using liberal courts to obtain a political goal they cannot obtain at the ballot box.”
"Marriage is recognized as a public institution, rather than a purely private one, because of its role in bringing together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and keeping them together to raise the children produced by their union,” Perkins underscored. “The fact that homosexuals prefer not to enter into marriages as historically defined does not give them a right to change the definition of what a 'marriage' is.”
Also reacting to the ruling on Aug. 4 were members of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) who are involved in litigating the case.
“We will certainly appeal this disappointing decision. Its impact could be devastating to marriage and the democratic process,” ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum said. “It’s not radical for more than 7 million Californians to protect marriage as they’ve always known it.”
“What would be radical would be to allow a handful of activists to gut the core of the American democratic system and, in addition, force the entire country to accept a system that intentionally denies children the mom and the dad they deserve,” he added.
Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) – a group that promotes pro-family policies within the California legislature – also weighed in on Wednesday's court decision.
“Today's ruling is indicative of an out-of-control judiciary willing to circumvent California's direct democracy by imposing their point of view,” England asserted. “Family values are under constant assault now more then ever.”
“We will continue to battle interest groups who wish to redefine one of our oldest institutions; the institution of marriage,” she noted. “We will continue to represent the 7 million Californians who took to the polls in favor of marriage.”