Thursday, August 30, 2007

Anti-Gay Activists in California Seek to Restrict Family Rights, Protections

Anti-Gay Activists in California Seek to Restrict Family Rights, Protections
by Kilian Melloy
EDGE Boston Contributor
Wednesday Aug 29, 2007

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, submitted a brief to the state Supreme Court in which he indicated that the word "marriage" may be outmoded, given that domestic partnerships grant many of the same rights and responsibilities.

The Court had sought comment from Schwarzenegger and his Attorney General, former Governor Jerry Brown, according to World Net

California’s Supreme Court is deliberating over a lawsuit that may change how gay and lesbian couples are legally viewed in California.

A spokesman for, an anti-gay family equality organization dedicated to barring marriage from same-sex couples, was quoted in the World Net Daily story as saying, "by this time next year there’s going to be homosexual marriages occurring all over California" unless anti-gay organizations such as amend the state’s constitutional amendment barring gay marriage.

At the heart of the issue, according to the World Net Daily story, is the word "marriage," versus the rights and responsibilities that the word is commonly understood to involve.

The constitutional amendment that was approved by California voters in 2000, Proposition 22, states that, "Only marriage
between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

But in their briefs to the court, Schwarzenegger and Brown appear to say that California laws regarding domestic partnership have made most, if not all, of the over one thousand discreet protections and legal obligations involved with marriage available to same-sex couples.

That is a state of affairs that anti-gay family activists evidently cannot tolerate.

In 2005, a California court found that Proposition 22 restricted the word marriage to heterosexual couples, but not necessarily the legal protections and obligations that anti-gay family activists say should be kept away from any but mixed-gender couples.

The court’s finding stated that, "Because the plain, unambiguous language of Proposition 22 is concerned only with who is entitled to obtain the status of marriage, and not with the rights and obligations associated with marriage," a contested state law "does not add to, or take away from, Proposition 22," according to the World Net Daily article.

In his brief, Gov. Schwarzenegger said that a "use of the words ’marry’ and ’marriage’ is not required by the California Constitution [in the granting of protections to gay families]. Thus, the name of the legal relationship now known as ’marriage’ could be changed."

The brief went on, "Except for the ability to choose and declare one’s life partner in a reciprocal commitment of mutual support, any of the statutory rights and obligations that are afforded to married couples in California could be abrogated or eliminated by the Legislature or the electorate for any rational legislative purpose."

Anti-gay family activists view the ability of gay families to secure rights and responsibilities on par with mixed-gender marriage to be abhorrent. Rallying cries against "liberals" and "activist judges" were sent up by Vote Yes Marriage’s Thomassen, who exclaimed, "This is proof positive that the initiative, which will prevent marriage from being abolished and prevent marriage rights from being eliminated, is absolutely needed to protect the sacred institution of marriage from activist judges and liberal politicians."

Thomasson continued with an appeal for money, saying, "In order to protect future generations and give them the gift and opportunity of marriage, and to protect America from California, people of means who believe in marriage and family need to give generously to," despite the fact that aims to strip rights away from gay families and lock gays and lesbians out of any possibility of claiming the "gift of marriage."

Exclaimed Thomasson, "Protecting the word ’marriage’ in the state constitution is useless if the politicians can still get rid of marriage and marriage rights for a man and a woman. Clearly, the amendment, which will override the judges and politicians and preserve everything about marriage for one man and one woman, is the only way to protect this special institution for future generations to respect and enjoy."

Those generations to come, in this vision of the future world order, would presumably all be heterosexual.

Jerry brown’s brief to the Court appeared to concur with Schwarzsenegger’s, stating, "The State is not aware of any differences between the legal rights and benefits and the legal obligations and duties affecting registered domestic partners under California law and the rights, benefits, duties and obligations given to married couples," as quoted in the World Net Daily story.

Brown’s brief also said, "To the extent that civil marriage might, in earlier times, have been required to enjoy conjugal and family relationships then regarded as the exclusive prerogative of married couples--such as cohabitation and lawful sexual intimacy, mutual lifelong care and support, legitimate procreation, or rearing of children--such state authorization is no longer needed."

In other words, couples and families know better than the state what their needs, and the means to attain fulfillment of those needs, are.

But anti-gay family activists wish to see the power of the state over the lives of individuals and their loved ones intensified.

Larry Bowler, a former Assemblyman associated with, pointed to California laws extending some measure of protection to gay families as "clear and convincing evidence why we must fully and permanently protect marriage in the state constitution, far above the reach of politicians and judges," according to the World Net Daily article.

Beyond, that is, the deliberations of law and the redress of justice.

Kilian Melloy reviews media, conducts interviews, and writes commentary for EDGEBoston, where he also serves as Assistant Arts Editor.

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