March 15, 2005
Never mind history. Never mind tradition. Never mind the voters. And never mind the Bible, for that matter. A California judge has determined none of those factors should be taken into consideration because -- in his words -- "no rational purpose exists" for limiting marriage in the Golden State to people of opposite genders.
Pro-family groups and supporters of homosexual "marriage" had awaited the ruling of San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer in a pair of lawsuits that are seeking to overturn California's Proposition 22 -- a statutory ban on same-sex marriage that passed in March 2000 with more than 60 percent of voters' approval. Kramer's 27-page ruling, however, essentially casts that referendum aside.
By itself, he wrote, the historical definition of marriage cannot justify denying homosexuals the right to marry. "The state's protracted denial of equal protection cannot be justified simply because such constitutional violation has become traditional," Kramer wrote.
As noted by Associated Press, it could be months or years before California sanctions same-sex unions. Still, AP says, an attorney for the city and county of San Francisco calls the decision historic and one that sets the stage for future challenges in the state appeals court.
Judge Kramer's ruling is expected to be appealed by the Alliance Defense Fund, one of the groups that had joined California attorney general Bill Lockyer in defending the existing laws. Lockyer has been quoted in the past as saying he expected all along the matter would end up before the California Supreme Court. If Kramer's decision is upheld on appeal, California -- the most populous state in the U.S. -- could follow in the steps of Massachusetts in allowing same-sex marriages.
A Robed Rogue
Several pro-family groups are highly critical of Kramer and his decision. Using words like "irrational" and "arrogant" to describe the judge -- and "nonsensical" and "crazy" to describe the ruling -- the groups see the whole situation as another example of judicial activism.
Robert Knight of the Culture and Family Institute calls Kramer "yet another irrational judge" who is "imposing [his] own radical agenda, ignoring the law and the will of the people." And like his judicial counterparts in Massachusetts, says Knight, Kramer is unable to find a rational reason for defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Such a judge, adds Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America, should be removed from the bench. She says a "rogue judge" like Kramer "who can't find one rational reason for upholding marriage needs to turn in his robe. Californians should remove Kramer from office because of this scandalous ruling," she says.
Randy Thomasson of the Sacramento-based Campaign for Children and Families says Kramer's legal logic is "twisted."
"This is not an equal protection case," the CCF spokesman says. "Every adult Californian already has equal access to marriage as proved by law, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Instead, this actually is the establishment of a completely new privilege that never existed before."
And Kramer, he adds, is an "arrogant San Francisco judge" who apparently "hates marriage and the voters" -- a reference to Proposition 22. "Kramer has trashed the people's vote ... and violated his oath to uphold the law instead of making new laws out of his own head," Thomasson says. "This is the worst type of judge."
Louis Sheldon, chairman of Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, DC, agrees with Thomasson. "The decision issued by [Kramer] ... is yet another example of judicial tyranny," Sheldon says in a press release, "and makes it clearer than ever that California needs a constitutional amendment to protect marriage." Thirteen states did exactly that last fall in decisive voting results. In fact, two bills pending before the California Legislature (ACA 3 and SCA 1) would give the state's voters an opportunity to vote on a similar amendment in November.
"Maybe [Kramer's] decision will serve as a wake-up call to California citizens to get behind [the two] proposed constitutional amendments that ban homosexual marriage, civil unions, and any other fake marriage arrangements," Sheldon adds.
A Dangerous Disparity
An Illinois-based pro-family organization says with the obvious "disconnect" between courts and the public on the issue of marriage, the timing could not be worse for legalizing homosexual unions.
Larry Jacobs is vice president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford, Illinois. Jacobs says threats to family stability -- such as divorce, promiscuity, and working parents -- have never been more serious than they are now. "This is not the time to be venturing into misguided social experiments with marriage," he says.
The Howard Center official says the wide gap between popular opinion and that of the "elite" portends that something has to give. "Usually it foreshadows a political revolution -- like the takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994," he says. "Those who oppose the natural family are on the wrong side of history and thus are in danger of being swept away by the coming tide."
Jacobs notes that even in "bastions of liberalism" like California and Hawaii, measures defending traditional marriage -- when put to a popular vote -- have passed by landslide majorities. In hopes of salvaging at least one victory last fall, homosexual activists poured substantial resources into the Oregon amendment vote. That marriage protection amendment passed 56 percent to 44 percent.
Culture and Family Institute (http://www.cultureandfamily.org)
Concerned Women for America (http://www.cwfa.org)
Campaign for Children and Families (http://www.savecalifornia.com)
Traditional Values Coalition (http://www.traditionalvalues.org)
Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society (http://www.profam.org)
© 2005 Agape Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.