Amidst the cries of jubilation and groans of dismay reverberating from San Francisco in the wake of the Prop. 8 decision, it was easy to miss a subtle but more significant sound of a Constitution being torn asunder. If that seems like an overstatement, ask yourself this: if citizens no longer have any say on one of the most hotly-debated issues of the day—if one judge’s opinion outweighs more than 7 million voters’ opinions—can we honestly still call ourselves a democracy? I think not. And if the majority of voters cannot be trusted on gay marriage, why trust them with other weighty responsibilities such as selecting a governor or, for that matter, the leader of the free world?
Are you scared yet? You should be. Even the far-left Obama administration has distanced itself from Judge Walker’s decision, and we’ve just scratched the surface of its far-reaching ramifications.
LGBT activists would have us believe that gay marriage and related cultural clashes don’t really affect anyone but them. For the last few years, we’ve heard mantras to the effect that giving gays more and more rights doesn’t diminish any other rights. Don’t believe it for a second. A quick glance around the world shows that, in countries more “progressive” than the United States, where gay marriage has been adopted, free speech has suffered. In Canada, a pastor’s thoughtful and polite opposition to gay marriage, in the form of a letter to the editor of his local newspaper earned him thousands of dollars in fines, payable to an offended gay professor. In Britain, people of faith have been subjected to police interrogation simply because they had uttered statements deemed homophobic. Elsewhere in Europe, a mayor was fined for not issuing a special proclamation in honor of gays. These are just a few of dozens of examples. For all their demands for constitutional rights, homosexual activists don’t have much use for free speech that opposes their agenda.
Think it can’t happen here? Think again. Pacific Justice Institute recently represented a college professor in San Jose who was fired for responding to a student’s question by citing research that another student felt was anti-gay. In Alameda County, PJI represented parents who turned out by the hundreds to oppose the school district’s plan to push gay marriage and LGBT terminology on elementary-age students. Despite overwhelming opposition, the school board adopted the curriculum anyway—then fought in court to prevent parents from opting out of the instruction. The school district finally scrapped the curriculum but is currently seeking to have the parents cough up thousands of dollars in legal fees. Here in Sacramento, dozens of students have been suspended on the pro-LGBT “Day of Silence” for peacefully expressing their moral convictions that homosexual behavior is wrong.
What’s next? If Judge Walker’s ruling is ultimately upheld, the millions of Californians who believe in the age-old concept of man-woman marriage can expect to be systematically silenced and fined for their views. Consider just one arena: the wedding business. Thousands of Californians who currently operate small businesses as wedding planners, caterers, photographers, DJs, and event hosts want no part of gay ceremonies. If gay marriage is legalized, California’s sweeping civil rights laws will impose massive fines on small entrepreneurs who decline to participate in gay weddings. As if we needed another reason to drive businesses out of the state.
Gay marriage proponents have insisted that their demands pose no threat to the first liberty articulated in our Constitution, religious freedom. But Judge Walker’s opinion makes the conflict unavoidable. Finding of “fact” 77 in Judge Walker’s opinion declares, “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harms gays and lesbians.” So much for the Supreme Court’s longstanding admonition that government cannot prescribe orthodoxy in politics or religion; with the stroke of a pen, Judge Walker has declared the millennia-old Judeo- Christian doctrines of sin and redemption to be officially disapproved. Where could this official opprobrium lead? Already, some local governments refuse to award social service contracts or grants to “discriminatory” religious organizations. Don’t be surprised if the centuries-old tradition of property tax exemptions for churches is the next domino to fall.
Restricting our most prominent, enumerated constitutional rights in deference to unenumerated rights created out of thin air is nothing less than a constitutional coup. Ultimately, the imposition of gay marriage by judicial fiat does affect all of us, and not for the better.