December 19, 2008
Pepperdine Law dean to defend gay marriage ban before state Supreme Court
Most people remember Kenneth Starr from his days as the special investigator of Whitewater and President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. But for the last few years he has served as dean of the law school at Pepperdine University, which is affiliated with a conservative Christian denomination that I grew up in.
After rumors circulated last month, Starr was named today the lead counsel for the chief proponents of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment, passed last month by 52 percent of Californians, that would limit marriage to unions between a man and a woman. Legal challenges have been filed, and proponents are preparing for a battle.
“We are confident that the will of the voters and Proposition 8 will ultimately be upheld,” said Andrew Pugno, General Counsel for ProtectMarriage.com and the Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund. “The addition of Dean Starr to this legal conversation will provide useful guidance for the Court in resolving these important issues.”
Starr, like me, grew up in the Church of Christ (not to be confused with the United Church of Christ, which resides on the other end of the theological spectrum). I’m curious as to how his faith shapes his practice of law. I couldn’t find much online. The best window I got into Starr’s Christian worldview comes from a comment he made during his speech at Christian Business Men’s Committee in Washington. It appeared in a 1998 Washington Times article, no longer online:
“When you think of the blessed life that Jesus led on earth, think of his time utilization,” Mr. Starr said. “He didn’t waste a lot of time. Three years, that’s the length of time . . . that this individual, human yet God, ended up shaping not just history, but each person who will say, ‘I want to come to know Christ.’ “