Appeals Court Hears Proposition 8
A federal appeals court began considering Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage today, reviewing Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that it was unconstitutional. The Associated Press reports that the Proposition 8 defense was less than stellar.
The defenders of California's gay marriage ban took a pummeling during the first federal trial to explore the civil rights implications of outlawing same-sex marriages. They summoned only two witnesses, one of whom left the stand looking thrashed. Even the lead attorney was left groping for words when pressed to explain how allowing gays and lesbians to wed would undermine traditional unions.
If the courtroom had been a boxing ring, the referee would have called a knockout.
Yet lawyers for the ban's sponsors say their side was on the ropes for a reason: They disputed that live testimony and reams of evidence were relevant to a lawsuit against the voter-approved Proposition 8, so they did not provide it. In their view, the proceedings were a "a show trial," and they were willing to invite the unfavorable verdict they eventually got while betting they would win in a later round where the ground rules would be different.
The Wall Street Journalreports that the the case could also be appealed again to Ninth Circuit judges or to the Supreme Court, which would consider same-sex marriage for the first time. Court proceedings were televised on C-SPAN.
Update: Several evangelicals joined an interfaith statement released Monday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops describing marriage as "the permanent and faithful union of one man and one woman." The list of signers included the following:
National Association of Evangelicals
Dr. George O. Wood
Assemblies of God
Dr. Richard Land
Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Dr. Thomas E. Armiger
Dr. Jo Anne Lyon
Dr. Jerry G. Pence
The Board of General Superintendents
The Wesleyan Church
Dr. Gary M. Benedict
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Glenn C. Burris Jr.
The Foursquare Church
The Most Rev. Robert Duncan
Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America
Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh
Bishop Harry Jackson
Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
Bishop, Fellowship of International Churches
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference