The time has come. Twenty months after California voters approved Proposition 8, amending the state constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a federal judge is expected to rule tomorrow morning on whether the amendment to the state constitution violates the rights and protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Both sides appear to believe that Prop. 8 will be struck down.
Wednesday’s ruling, expected in the early afternoon, will decide whether that ban violates the U.S. Constitution by creating separate classes of people with different laws for each.
Though stakes in the case are high, neither opponents nor supporters of same-sex marriage say Walker’s ruling will likely be the last. Both sides say the decision will be appealed and eventually wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We have little doubt that this trial judge is going to knock down Prop. 8. I hope I’m proven wrong tomorrow,” said Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage. “This has been a judge that looks pretty eager to make a historic decision.”
I voted against Prop. 8, which provoked some thoughtful discussions with fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Why? Because:
Yes or no I could find a Christian minister to support my vote. But on an issue like same-sex marriage, I don’t think it matters whether I believe God is bothered by homosexuality. Proposition 8 has to do with fundamental rights—limiting them, that is. Marriage, despite what we always hear, is not a religious convention. It is a cultural convention. And the words “sanctity of marriage,” to my mind, have more to do with tax breaks and hospital visitation than ordaining a relationship before God.
As an evangelical Christian—as someone who, uncomfortable as it is to sometimes say this, reads in the Bible that homosexuality is a “perversion”—I don’t believe it is the job of government to legislate based on religion. We’ve seen how that works out.
Regardless of the Judge Walker’s ruling, the legal battle, which began immediately after the measure was approved by voters, has a long life left to live.