Andy’s last paragraph proves the point of those who charge the California Supreme Court with one of the most egregious, arrogant and far-reaching judicial actions to date.
It is not up to a court to determine that “existing rights accorded to gay couples aren’t enough.” It is not in a judge’s job description to ensure gay couples “equal respect and protection.”
Chief executives and legislators can fight for their beliefs and to change society. But under America’s separation of powers doctrine, the whole point of a judicial branch is for judges to put aside personal opinions and determine whether laws are constitutional. Period.
Of course Supreme Court Justice Scalia overturns acts of Congress; if the law is unconstitutional, that’s his job.
Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much he personally disagrees with it. If it was passed by our elected representatives and doesn’t conflict with the Constitution, he must affirm it.
I believe the most admirable judge on the California Supreme Court is Justice Carol Corrigan. One of the minority who disagreed with the court’s action, her legal opinion stated:
“In my view, Californians should allow our gay and lesbian neighbors to call their unions marriage. But I, and this court, must acknowledge that a majority of Californians hold a different view, and have explicitly said so by their vote.”
She further points out: “This court can overrule a vote of the people only if the Constitution compels us to do so. Here, the Constitution does not.”
According to the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, another serious action by the California court has been overlooked.
It was the first court ever to use the “strict scrutiny” standard for sexual orientation – essentially creating a legal tsunami by giving sexual orientation the same strict protection as race, religion or gender.
Institutions that agree with the majority of Californians and morally disagree with gay marriage can now be legally punished. For example, Christian, Jewish or Muslim properties refusing to allow gays to be married there could lose their nonprofit status.
Commendably, gay marriage supporters usually argue “live and let live” and don’t want legalization of their unions to hurt anyone else.
Unfortunately, by acting in such a judicially indefensible way, the California Supreme Court has almost ensured the opposite.
Shaunti Feldhahn (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a conservative Christian author and speaker, and married mother of two.