The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will issue its ruling today on whether Proposition 8, which overturned legalized same-sex marriage in California in 2008, stands or falls. It comes just as Washington state nears passage of a gay marriage bill, making it the seventh state to allow it.
Expect "mayhem" -- and more appeals, NBC's Bay Area site says.
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After Proposition 8 was challenged by gay couples seeking to marry, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the ballot measure a violation of the Constitution's equality guarantee. That August 2010 decision is the focus of the appeal, brought by proponents of Prop 8.
Under all the legalese is a fundamental clash of values.
Walker's Prop 8 opinion offered a portrait of 21st century marriage. After examining how several major religious groups condemn either homosexual identity or behavior or both, Walker spelled out in all capital letters in the decision:
A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION...California's obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to "mandate [its] own moral code."
Walker said, essentially, 'Believers, it's not about you."
Yes, it is, said theologian Andreas Kostenberger of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Writing on Walker inChristianity Today, he said,
The Bible makes clear that marriage is God's idea rather than a social contract that we are free to renegotiate based on changing social trends.
Too late, said historian Stephanie Coontz. a professor at Evergreen State college and author of Marriage, A History, after Walker's ruling.
Heterosexuals already led the way. The modern marriage is voluntary, not arranged, about love and fulfillment, not economic or social requirements, and it need not be based on a notion of separate but equal rights and responsibilities for men and women. Coontz said,
That's when homosexuals raised their hands and said, 'Hey , guess what ...
The Los Angeles Times says Marriage Equality USA and other groups have already staking out turf for a reaction rallies in San Francisco and Los Angeles, while Prop 8 supporters such as ProtectMarriage.com, haven't announced details -- yet.
Meanwhile, Rev. Susan Russell of All Saints Pasadena, jumped ahead of the decision with comments Monday evening forecasting victory:
Tomorrow's ruling will be another step toward putting California back on the right side of marriage equality historyand undoing the shameful act of allowing a bare majority of voters to write discrimination into our constitution.