.- Several pro-family legal centers are celebrating a ruling yesterday by the California Court of Appeals, which reversed a lower court’s 2005 decision redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.
The appeals court justices ruled that California's ban on gay marriage does not violate the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians nor is it discriminatory because the state's domestic partner law gives registered same-sex couples the same rights as married spouses in California.
The court also decided that it is not within its jurisdiction to create or to recognize new rights. The court agreed with the state's attorney general that it is up to the Legislature, and not the courts, to change the traditional definition of marriage.
“The respondents in these appeals are asking this court to recognize a new right,” the 128-page court opinion reads. “Courts simply do not have the authority to create new rights, especially when doing so involves changing the definition of so fundamental an institution as marriage.... Judges are not free to rewrite statutes to say what they would like, or what they believe to be better social policy.”
"The time may come when California chooses to expand the definition of marriage to encompass same-sex unions. That change must come from democratic processes, however, not by judicial fiat," the opinion reads.
“The court today recognized that political special interests shouldn’t trump what’s in the best interest of families and children,” said Glen Lavy, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. The organization, along with Liberty Counsel and attorneys Matt Staver and Robert Tyler, has been working to defend marriage in courts throughout the country.
“Who’s more important: our children or special interest groups? This court rightly put people before politics,” Lavy said.
"The entire legal team always saw this as an issue about the democratic process,” reads a Pro-Family Law Center statement. “California, nor any other state, should be controlled by radical activists, such as Mayor [Gavin] Newsom [of San Francisco], who happen to be in political positions of power.
“The people ought to be able to decide what is right and wrong for society when it comes to the fundamental institutions of family and marriage,” the statement concludes.