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Protecting marriage: Voters try to, courts don't get it
A federal court decision affirming its overruling of California voters on the subject of gay marriage was hailed by one of the lawyers involved last week as “a great step forward toward the day when everyone will be able to marry the person they love.’’
That is part of the objection to raising the status of gay civil unions to that of a marriage.
The 9th Circuit Court had it wrong when it overturned California voters in 2008.
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect,’’ the 2-1 majority ruled, “other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California.’’
No. What California voters were doing, in fact, was to make sure that the special and important status of marriage — the union of one man and one woman that has been recognized by society for thousands of years — is not lessened.
California voters were doing nothing different than have the voters in any other state where the issue has been put directly to them. More than 30 states specifically protect traditional marriage, North Carolina voters being the most recent to overwhelmingly do so this spring.
Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, joined by two Circuit 9 dissenters who wanted to rehear the case, noted that even President Obama claims to want to allow the individual states to decide “in a respectful way” whether to okay gay marriage.
“Today our court has silenced any such respectful conversation,” wrote O’Scannlain. According to the LA Times, O’Scannlain complained that the 9th Circuit’s refusal to review the case endorsed a view that “animus must have been the only conceivable motivation for a sovereign state to have remained committed to a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia.”
“Even worse,” O’Scannlain said, “we have overruled the will of 7 million California Proposition 8 voters.”
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