Town Square

Post a New Topic

Prop. 8 Decision: Constitutional protection for all: separation of church and State

Original post made by Timothy Gray, Charleston Meadows, on Feb 7, 2012

A Prop. 8 decision ruling is coming out today.

I hope that the value of equal rights for all, stands supreme.

To opponents I point out: your church may not recognize gay marriage, however marriage under the eyes of the law, which carries with it many rights and priveleges under the law, MUST be recognized.

To set the law according the the standards of religion would be a clear violation of the separation of church and State -- the constitution doesn't just protect the rights we like. Liberty and Justice for all. Period.

I hope the Courts and fair-minded people of Goodwill will share this clarity.

Respectfully,

Timothy Gray

Comments (27)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

Equal rights for Californians are protected.

"The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort."

Web Link

Besides, Prop 8 wouldn't pass today if it were up on the ballot again. All the Mormon money is going elsewhere this year.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

In the grand scheme of things, there is nothing enduringly significant about today's ruling.

The Ninth Circuit was just a way-station on the path to the Supreme Court, and the composition of the Ninth Circuit panel meant that there was no prospect for a reversal of Walker's ruling.

What would have been most troubling would have been a ruling that Prop 8 proponents didn't have standing on appeal, as that might have complicated the prospects for Supreme Court review.

But the case now has a seemingly clear path to the Supreme Court


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

"In the grand scheme of things, there is nothing enduringly significant about today's ruling." "But the case now has a seemingly clear path to the Supreme Court"

Nope. In my opinion - that's not clear at all.

Today's ruling was specifically designed to make a Supreme Court ruling less likely. It was written to pertain more to the Californian issue than a broad gay marriage issue, making it less likely the Court will view this as a favorable vehicle for action.

We'll know later this year, but again in my opinion - they don't take it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Timothy Gray (who I respect on Palo Alto issues).

You say the church should stay out of State issues. Fine, but when will the State stay out of Church issues. The church defined marriage eons ago, why should the state interfere?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

"The church defined marriage eons ago, why should the state interfere?"

ooh, ooh, over here, can I try, please? ;-)

Because the state assigns a great many benefits to "marriage". By some counts, hundreds if not higher.

Should the state remove all those instances of the word marriage from their codes?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

PP

No, The state may use the term marriage to assign benefits but it could use any other term it deems fitting. It has chosen to use a term which was in use very successfully for eons and now wants to change it. Perhaps the state should use a different term for assigning benefits and leave the established term the way it has been defined by history.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Here is an interesting quote from the CNN story:

""California voters have twice determined in a general election that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We have always had that view," Scott Trotter, a spokesman for Utah-based Mormon church, said in a written statement"

the Mormon church which has no respect for other religions, women and until a few years ago, minorities (until one of the elders went into the desert and had a "vision") does not understand how democracy works (no surprise there). Are basic rights decided by a majority vote?
A number of years ago african-americans had no rights. A number of years ago there were laws on the books banning interracial marriage. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

"Perhaps the state should use a different term for assigning benefits and leave the established term the way it has been defined by history."

Perhaps. But we both know that isn't going to happen. Back to square one. I also await Timothy's input.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I propose the followng next Ammendment to the U.S. Consitution:

"Consenting adults may marry"

Unfortunately, many of those who support same sex marriage are too bigoted to support it.

Why?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm

OK, I was asked to respond to respond to the separation of Church and State: "when will the State stay out of Church issues. The church defined marriage eons ago, why should the state interfere?"

Well here is the answer: The Church Marriage and the State Marriage have existed separately for a long time, and Marriage is not necessarily the Domain of the Church. To plainly illustrate this, I look at my own personal experience:

1. My wife and I were "Married" in 1995 at the Fogarty Winery in Woodside.

2. In 2002, when we adopted our twins, we went to my wife's home church for the baptism.

3. At the same time as the Baptism, my wife and I were "Married" in the church after I joined the Catholic faith.

Here are the points: Even though we were married in the eyes of the State and fully accorded the rights and privileges of the law, the Church was never forced by the State to accept our marriage. When we were married in the Church, our rights as a married couple did not change under the State laws. In our case, the State did not force its rules on the church, and the church did not force its rules on the State.

The two institutions ("Church Marriage" and "State Marriage") have accorded equal privileges to a man and a women, but Prop. 8 wanted to deny those privileges to same-sex couples. That was simply trying to push a religious definition on to State regulations. What if I had been denied rights as a husband because a Marriage can only exist between a Catholic and a Catholic (I was raised a Protestant.)

If a constitutional amendment denied the legal privileges of marriage because my marriage didn't follow the Church definition, the discrimination would be obvious. However, in 2012, we have a proposed law that takes a Church definition and tries to overlay its rules on the customs and practices of the people. Yes, in 2012, the customs and practices for some is to join in a legal marriage, and Prop 8 tried to impose the Church definition on all.

As I pointed out earlier, we have already set the precedent for allowing State marriage being different than a Church marriage and the two don't have to match for a man and women to be afforded the benefits of marriage.

In short, we must stop the debate about word choice and semantics and offer equal protection and rights under the law. We cannot accept anything less.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Timothy

You raise a good point, one I haven't heard in any arguments presented anywhere. I will probably have to spend sometime stewing on this one.

But, I will say that you take the word "Church" as meaning the Roman Catholic Church. That is your definition, but it may not be the definition that is intended in the separation of Church and State. Many Christian denominations will marry Protestants and Catholics. In fact, the term "Church" in the phrase separation of Church and State is often interpreted as "Religion and State". The Roman Catholic Church is not the only denomination or even the only religion that is requesting the state stay out of its affairs.

To get back to your story, it appears that you found it important that both the state and your church recognised your marriage and therefore went through two ceremonies. That was your choice. However, the state would recognise your church marriage and most churches would recognise your state marriage so many would not see the same necessity as you for two separate ceremonies. I am not sure if we are comparing apples to apples. Therefore, as I said before, I will have to stew some more on this one.

However, if we change the "teaching of the Church" to "teaching of the Bible" would that alter things in your opinion, since perhaps we should make the discussion more encompassing for all Christian denominations, or "teaching of religions" to encompass other religions also?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm

I would like to go further and say that my concern about same sex marriage and the reason why I think that this has little to do with an approval or disapproval of same sex relationships, but much more to do with the political slippery slope.

Marriage is a protected relationship for many good reasons. As an institution it receives many tax and legal benefits. Generally speaking society accepts that two married people are married because they have a loving relationship and want to spend their lives together in accordance with that relationship. We frown on marriages of convenience. We frown on the importation of spouses (mail order brides or husbands) just to get foreign nationals legally into the country. We frown on young women in their 20s marrying rich men in their 80s in the hopes of getting money. Same sex marriage would allow for many more instances of marriage being used for all these reasons rather than legitimate loving reasons.

Furthermore, what would happen if the same argument were used to enable a man to marry his sister, or a man allowed to marry his daughter? If you follow the argument that any two consenting adults marry, then surely someone would want to allow sibling marriage, or parent child marriage? Isn't that an equally valid argument that many would find equally worrying?

Marriage as an institution is something to value, not to make a mockery of. To protect the values society places on the sanctity of marriage in the fullest meaning of the term, we must not play around with fixing something that doesn't need to be fixed.

If we want to honor same sex relationships then we should come up with a legal definition that encompasses spousal rights without trying to redefine a term that has been widely understood for human history. For the sake of future posterity, we should be able to find a suitable legal term that dignifies a spousal union without taking away the dignity of a well established traditional institution. We have the terms "husband" and "wife" well established in our understanding. No one has problems with the term "spouse" even though it can mean either, using a similar term such as spousal union should carry the same sort of weight as marriage without causing dictionaries to be rewritten.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 7, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I was offering my experience as an example, however many religions, including my boyhood church, also offered a definition of marriage that may or may not fit with the modern legal union we call marriage. No intention of getting into doctrine or other matters of religion. To me, that is private.

I just know that unions between atheists exists and it is still called a marriage, so Marriage is not just the domain of religion. I offered a personal illustration, not to step on sensitivities, but to find a common ground that illustrates and allows equal rights all.

Thx.

Tim


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 8, 2012 at 5:57 am

I did not realize that the Weekly depended on ad revenue from the Mormon and Catholic Church.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

Another comment.

The argument that same sex marriage would make no more harm marriage any more than say Britney Spears or Kim Khardashian do in respect to their marriages is definitely true. So why should we give more opportunities for marriage to be abused for a publicity stunt or reckless social behavior.

To begin with, there is no mention of actually checking into a same sex couple's affairs to see if they are indeed gay. You may ask if it is anyone's business, which is a fair comment. But, what happens when some straight celebrity in a straight relationship decides to wed someone in Vegas as a publicity stunt? What happens when a straight American citizen decides to offer to marry a foreign national to give them American citizenship for $$$? What happens to children in a gay family (particularly if they don't know which is the biological parent) in divorce situations? What happens when a straight citizen marries a foreign national to bring them into the country legally and immediately divorces them as soon as they get their citizenship? What about all the tax breaks that would encourage elderly straight people to "marry" to save them money in their retirement years?

This is a potential can of worms for the legal system and although it could be a field day for the legal profession who have the potential for making huge amounts of money on the legal ramifications of these legal points, do we want our civil and family courts clogged up with cases such as these when other more deserving cases get to wait at the end of a long line?

I will say again, this is nothing about my approval or disapproval of same sex relationships. It is much more my concern about the dignity of marriage which even as it stands now is being abused all the time. Same sex marriage would open up more abuses than we can dream of already, and take more away from the institution of marriage than we see taking place at present.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

Resident makes a compelling case for the abolition of marriage.

Meantime, the court decided that everybody has a constitutional right to abuse it, straight or gay.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Curmudgeon

Bank in the 60s, there was a pessimistic viewpoint that marriage was dying out and by the end of the 20th century it would be virtually gone. Even today, many people choose to cohabit without the security of marriage, even raising children in a stable relationship without the confines of a license.

However, now in the second decade of the 21st century, marriage is still very important to a great many Americans and shows no sign of completely dying out. Those who cohabit for a time do tend to tie the knot before they plan to have their children for the security that marriage brings to the family unit, although granted many do stay unmarried. Our tax laws, inheritance laws and various other laws still support the marriage institution although there are exclusions and similar arrangements that cover the same legal condition as marriage without being marriage as we know it. These similar arrangements are often used by straight couples with no plans for going the final move to become legally married.

Marriage, even with all the abuses, shows no signs of dying out even if it is getting less popular than a century ago.

Regardless of the Britney Spears and the Kim Khardashians, marriage is still viewed as a respectable institution. In fact, even the Britney Separs and Kim Khardashians still appear to view it as such.

However, the opportunity for media hungry sensationalists, tax and immigration scoffers as well as those seeing lucrative "business" opportunities, would abound from the legalization of same sex marriage that it just may do what the 60s and the era of free love was unable to complete. This just may become the end of marriage as we know it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm

"However, the opportunity for media hungry sensationalists, tax and immigration scoffers as well as those seeing lucrative "business" opportunities, would abound from the legalization of same sex marriage that it just may do what the 60s and the era of free love was unable to complete. This just may become the end of marriage as we know it."

Yer high. I was mildly interested in your thoughts until that. It's okay for straights to all the above, but them durn f**s can't be allowed.

Gimmee a break.

Equality is always the answer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm

"This just may become the end of marriage as we know it."

We heard that same thing in the 60s when the Supreme Court struck down all laws prohibiting mixed-race marriage.

"However, now in the second decade of the 21st century, marriage is still very important to a great many Americans and shows no sign of completely dying out."

Go figure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Perspective
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 10, 2012 at 5:42 am

I wouldn't care about gay marriage, being a live and let live person, if only it didn't change the rights of those with different beliefs to live out their lives.

I applauded Mass when marriage between same gender became legal...then watched as private businesses who refused to cater weddings of lesbian couples or church charities refusing to adopt out to gay couples were driven out of the State. If I hadn't seen the fallout of vitriol in that State, the opposite of "live and let live", I would still support it.

I do not support anything which results in taking away the rights of others to live as they see fit, do business as they see fit, donate to whomever they see fit. Because I am in a "straight" committed relationship, doesn't mean an LGBT charity must be driven out of this State, and because someone else is in a "gay" committed relationship should never mean a private charity or business must be sued/driven out of a State.

I object to my kids' education days being used for attending gay weddings AND straight weddings. I object to PDAs of straights AND gays at schools. I object to teachers' political opinions indoctrinating my kids whether the teacher is gay or straight. However, somehow, I am painted as a bigot when I voice concern about any of these issues

So now I am opposed to using the word "marriage" for gays. Any other word which doesn't result in legal hassles for those who are trying to stick with their religious or other views. Just like the old days of blacks/whites not being allowed to marry, once it became legal, if a couple ran up gainst a church reverend who refused in good conscience to marry 'em ( concientious objections being from fear for the couple and their kids), they didn't sue the church, they went elsewhere.

So it should be the same with gay marriage...don't sue and hassle out organizations, churches, individuals who "aren't there yet", go elsewhere. Don't try to work as an out, married lesbian in a Catholic Church, go elsewhere. Let time evolve solutions. Don't hurt people in the quest of absolute acceptance everywhere all the time. It just turns people like me against you.

Live and let live has to go both ways. Since it didn't in Massachussetts, it turned me away.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:47 am

Perspective: "I do not support anything which results in taking away the rights of others to live as they see fit, do business as they see fit, donate to whomever they see fit. "

In your opinion, do business owners and private property owners have the right to refuse service to a class of persons?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:52 am


In your opinion, do business owners and private property owners have the right to refuse service to a class of persons?


Of course they have that right.

Take the case of smokers----

who are refused service, employment and accommodation all the time at the discretion of the business owner or property owner.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

"Of course they have that right."

So you would repeal the section of the civil rights act that allow businesses to refuse service to a class of people? In the name of libertarian, smaller government with less business-killing regulation, philosophy?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

"In your opinion, do business owners and private property owners have the right to refuse service to a class of persons?"

Really smokers are denied service?? Where does that happen? Where are they denied accomodation?
Can a business owner and private property owner refuse service to women, minorities etc?
While many businesses have that sign that claims that they have the right to refuse service to anyone, I am not sure how binding that really is.

But let's be quite honest, when it comes to money and making a living most do not care whether the money is coming from a gay person or not.

In fact:
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

PP

You appear to be of the opinion that Government should legislate our opinions, particularly if they are not the same opinion as your own.
How would you like it if the Government tried to legislate your opinion.

Just like the Catholic church and the contraception issue. I fully support contraception being available to all, but I don't support the Government telling the church that disagrees with it that they must provide it. Obama has backed down and said that this is for the insurance companies to provide, not faith based businesses.

Even Obama knows when he can't legislate opinion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pearly Pearl
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:33 am

resident: "You appear to be of the opinion that Government should legislate our opinions, particularly if they are not the same opinion as your own."

Not in a million years.

YOU appear to want to deflect and not answer the question.

"So you would repeal the section of the civil rights act that allow businesses to refuse service to a class of people? In the name of libertarian, smaller government with less business-killing regulation, philosophy?"

Just ask Rand Paul that one.

- - - - - - - -

re: employers providing women's healthcare - open a new thread instead of hijacking this one. It's an absurd topic - most of the large Catholic universities ALREADY provide plans that cover women's health services including birth control, 98% of Catholics have used birth control, Mitt allowed it in Mass for years, if altar boys could get pregnant then they would offer free birth control, etc...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

PP

I only use the Catholic/contraception issue as an example of how I think Government has to stay out of personal opinions and also church affairs. However, that does not mean to say that I am against birth control or catholics themselves using it or how it is funded. You are right though, this topic is worthy of its own thread and you can start one and I will comment.

I don't think we are talking about the same thing at all, however.

If a business is trading fully within the law and then the law is changed and the business owner's own opinion is that the original standing is good for said business, I feel that the business should not be made to change. For example, if the age of selling alcohol was reduced to 18 and a certain business wished to retain 21 as that particular business' rule, then why should that particular rule be challenged? Or, come to think of it, if a business wants to charge for plastic bags as an alternative to giving away free paper bags because they want to save trees, then why shouldn't they?

The Government just has to be careful about taking away liberties that have always been in place. Once there was no law about inter-racial marriage and then it was introduced. Getting away from the law that was introduced to prevent this was the right thing to do. The law to prevent inter-racial marriage was presumably introduced because there was obviously people who wanted to marry cross-racially. That was obviously a wrong law because it prevented people marrying who would previously have been able to do so. Abolishing the law just gave back a freedom that was already there.

The same with many other civil rights issues. The rights were there and then laws were introduced to stop them happening. Repeal of these laws were only reinstating rights that had previously been given.

Not sure if that answers your question because I am not too sure what your question was. If not, please ask in simple English as I am only a simple person and don't understand too much political jargon.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Tin Pot Creamery expanding to Los Altos
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 5,179 views

reThink Farming Planet Enemy #1
By Laura Stec | 17 comments | 2,915 views

It Can Wait
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 2,699 views

Easy Living
By Sally Torbey | 11 comments | 2,217 views

Truly Loved
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 2,148 views