In Theory: Reactions to Prop. 8 ruling

A California federal judge struck down Proposition 8, the state's law that prohibits same-sex marriage, last week. What are your thoughts on this ruling?


Judge Walker needs to address our concern that his own sexual orientation clouded his judgment. Nonetheless, the will of the people is clear; marriage must not be redefined. Marriage is by definition a heterosexual prerogative, not simply any imaginative variation. If two men want to pretend one is the feminine counterpart, then let them pretend they have an actual marriage, and do so in the closet and away from thinking society.

Walker deemed the people of California incapable of honoring the Constitution. Seven million of us who passed Prop 8 take offense. The Constitution doesn't say that men may marry men or women may marry women. It doesn't say farmers can marry cows, or that a pedophile's pursuit of happiness allows them to marry children. While these examples seem absurd, what makes them so, the fact that we haven't a current concern for such ridiculousness? Do we give dog licenses to cats? Neither do we give marriage licenses to what cannot be married unless marriage is merely about pairing up. We might then suggest heterosexual college roommates get married so as to also gain IRS benefits and cheaper insurance.

Who says what's right if not the people of a society built upon the notion that we govern ourselves; that each vote counts, and not just when it agrees with opinionated judges who overpoweringly decide its validity? And what is the societal foundation of ours if not biblical? Morality wanes in modern times, but Americans can't get away from the gnawing feeling that something's still wrong with the sins God condemns, and everything's right with those institutions he blesses.

My opinion hardly matters, but hear the one who judges judges and makes the ultimate laws: "women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another … Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done" (Romans 1:26-28). God bless America?

Rev. Bryan Griem

Montrose Community Church


My thoughts: Hallelujah! A victory for justice. I hope it holds up.

But really, my most loudly sung Hallelujah will come when we're done with this issue. I'm sick of reading, talking, writing and voting about it. Enough already.

It's important, don't get me wrong. I don't want to be done with it without gay people gaining their rights. But I'm so far on the side of support that it all seems obvious to me — of course this is the right thing! Why are we still talking about it? Why do we keep talking about it? Young people don't even understand why we are talking about it. For God's sake — and I mean that literally — give gay people full rights to everything, and let's get on with our lives.

My denomination, the Episcopal Church, has been debating this issue — almost exclusively this issue — for 35 years. Gee, what else could we have done with our best energies during that time? Something about God, or Jesus, or faith, or feeding the poor, perhaps?

I read that the "for" and "against" lobbies for Proposition 8 together raised a total of $83 million to fund their positions. Gee, what else could this state have done with that money? How many teachers' jobs would $83 million have saved?

Why, why, why does it take us so long to do the right thing? Why did civil rights take so long, and women's rights, and now gay rights? Must we, every time, wait for the very last guy in the farthest reaches of Appalachia to come around, before we call something the right thing to do, and do it?

This is an issue of justice, to be sure. But how many other issues of justice are getting less press time, funding and political action, while we continue our ad nauseam debate about who loves whom?

Let's call all love good (1 John 4:7) and call it a day. And let's turn our collective hearts and minds, gay and straight, toward other causes of justice over which God weeps. There are plenty of them left in the world.

Rev. Amy Pringle

St. George's Episcopal Church


I am very happy with the federal judge's overturning Proposition 8, and some members of my congregation are happy about the judge's action, too.

However, not every member of my congregation is happy about the decision, so I think I can say that my congregation is a microcosm of what the state and even the country thinks of gay marriage.

As I see it, the gay-marriage issue is the new slavery issue. Americans disagreed about the institution of slavery, and we disagree now about whether it is just to prohibit gays from marrying. I doubt that we'll fight another Civil War over this issue, but the country is truly split over whether it's fair to withhold the full rights of citizenship from a certain segment of our population — and they aren't even illegal immigrants!

We've had all sorts of prejudice in this country; for example, we didn't let women vote until less than 100 years ago. Amazing! Gays are simply the next persecuted group to demand their share of the American pie.

And you know what? They'll win! Maybe not in this go-around, but eventually they'll win! God bless America!

Rev. C. L. "Skip" Lindeman

La Cañada Congregational Church


Vaughn Walker, an openly homosexual San Francisco judge, ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. News stories feature the praise of homosexual celebrities such as Ricky Martin, Ellen DeGeneres and Adam Lambert. Could anyone possibly be surprised? "Those who practice such things…give hearty approval to those who practice them," says Romans 1:32.

To quote Walker from the Aug. 4 L.A. Times: "The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples." So morality doesn't count? Imagine the outrage if the courts applied the same rationale they use for homosexual marriage to legalize polygamy or incest or even pedophilia. Will our country have any moral strength left to oppose when future special interest groups push their agendas on our courts and our society?

Even radical religious leaders have given their hearty approval in a grievous misuse of Scripture. They agree that the Old Testament prohibited homosexual acts, but they liken it to the prohibitions against eating lobster or sowing one's field with two different kinds of seed. But understand that the same passage (Leviticus 18) that denounces homosexual acts also denounces incest, adultery and even bestiality. Let these religious leaders apply their own principles of biblical interpretation to such acts and publicly support them as well. Be consistent — and see how long anyone takes you seriously!

There is one God who has eternally established his moral laws which, though they can be opposed and broken, can never be disregarded without consequence. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people," says Proverbs 14:34. So what about being loving and nonjudgmental to others? Live your life however you choose. Vote however you wish. Believe whatever you want to about God. The biblical, orthodox Christian public stance about such emotional, hotly contested issues like this is not about hate. It's about speaking the truth in love so that all may have the opportunity to choose the kind of life, and be the kind of society, that God promises to bless.

Pastor Jon Barta

Valley Baptist Church


Life is divine, spiritual, and its source is God, Spirit. One of the ways that we define God is to say that 'God is love.' God or Spirit is the source of all life and of all love. God does not discriminate or judge any of Its creations as "bad" or outside the realm of divine love.

Unity does not discriminate against anyone regarding race, cultural beliefs, religion, physical abilities or sexual orientation. We view everyone as a child of God, and therefore, a spiritual being, living in a physical body and having a physical experience in this life's journey.

We are all one. In our Sunday services, we often affirm: "I AM one with the One Power and the One Presence." Unity is inclusive, because God is inclusive.

We view marriage as the spiritual union of the divine ideas of love and wisdom. On a human, personal level, it may be challenging to understand same-sex unions; yet, if any of us are to enjoy the benefits of equal rights, then all of us should have an opportunity for equal rights and spiritual freedom.

Rev. Jeri Linn

Unity Church of the Valley 


As we know, our track record on achieving true justice through voting isn't stellar. Emotion and fear win the day and try to lock in injustice, but in the end, a 52% to 48% vote doesn't come close to reflecting a conclusion. The conversation continues, and to our shared credit as Californians and Americans, it will continue until we work through the emotion and fear and get to justice. This is what happened with women's suffrage, with desegregation, and with civil rights.

Some people argue that the same-sex marriage debate unduly conflates church and state. There are rights that come with marriage as an institution — property rights, visitation rights, adoption rights and so on. Without access to the institution, same-sex couples also do not have access to the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Judge Walker's decision appropriately addresses the ways in which our society has locked in discrimination and takes a step toward unlocking it. This seems to be a strictly legal argument, and outside the concerns of religious communities, which anyway won't be forced to perform any marriages they don't want to perform.

But can we really say that the search for justice falls outside the concerns of religious communities? Open up to Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, or Jesus and you'll see that this is a tough argument to make. God has always pushed us to seek justice.

Others argue that the law must reflect society's moral values, and that you cannot separate church from state. If you try to, then the voices of religious communities become irrelevant to our public conversations and decisions. I agree that if faith community values are not reflected in our shared decision-making, some other value set will be happy to provide guidance.

But here's the rub: While some religious leaders would like to lock in laws that keep same-sex couples from living full lives, others of us religious-leader types (like me) believe that justice and love are essential to the life God intends for us, and anything that leads us away from those also leads us away from God. The conversation continues.

Rev. Paige Eaves

Crescenta Valley United Methodist Church


This strikes at the very core of my belief in whatever or whoever sits atop the universe.

I want my Ultimate Universal Power to be inspiring. I want to aspire to its perfection. I fail to see how something of perfection could possess a judgmental point of view. I don't understand how I could blindly respect and love that kind of attitude. Segregation and separation are two of mankind's biggest character flaws. People go to war over their prejudices. People shun others who are different. God should not.

Whether it is sexual preference, race, religion, or whatever — there can be no such intolerance within the creator of everything. It's a ridiculous assertion. Personally, I need a god that is going to be several evolutionary levels above me. He needs to say, "You can have your prejudices and hold on to your separatist ways; you are imperfect and human. I'm perfect so I love everyone. Even shallow bigots."

I would never respect a god that has a narrower opinion of the world than I do. He needs to be better than me.

What about the old saying, "God is love"? I guess I failed to read the legal disclaimer that says, "Certain restrictions apply. Not available to homosexuals. Approval and love of God may be revoked at any time based on compliance with certain organized religions."

Seriously though, if you take a look around, it's obvious that love is in short supply these days. So why are we spending so much time putting limitations upon its growth?

And finally, by revoking the rights for homosexuals to marry, we deny them one of the fundamental experiences of our times, D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Why should heterosexuals be the only ones to experience that? I say, get married. Come on in, the water's fine!

Gary Huerta



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