Gay marriage supporters rejoiced Feb. 7 after an appellate court ruled California’s controversial Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.
“Today’s 9th Circuit Court decision is not just a victory for gay and lesbian couples in California – it is a victory for all Americans who believe that the ‘liberty and justice for all’ in the pledge we teach our children really means ALL,” according to an email statement from the Rev. Canon Susan Russell, a former president of Integrity USA, a group that works for full inclusion of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people in the Episcopal Church.
“It is also a victory over those who erroneously believe that the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment gives them freedom to write their theology on marriage — or anything else — into our Constitution,” added Russell.
“Since 1888 the Supreme Court has ruled 14 times that marriage is a basic civil right, but again and again it has been denied to loving, faithful gay or lesbian couples,” said the Rev. Dr. Caroline Hall, president of Integrity USA. “We can rejoice that in California, our right to equal treatment under the law has been upheld and our marriages are once again recognized. This will be an encouragement to all those fighting this battle in their own states.”
She and other Integrity leaders called upon the six Episcopal dioceses in California “to extend a generous pastoral response to lesbian and gay couples so that our legal rights can be celebrated in our churches and our marriages blessed by the church in the same manner afforded to our straight friends and family. This is an enormously important symbol of the Episcopal Church’s true willingness to welcome all people even those of us who are LGBT and to extend all the sacraments to all the baptized. We hope that California citizens will soon be able to marry the person they love.”
“While this is a huge victory in the battle for marriage equality, this fight is far from over,” continued the Integrity statement. “Same-sex married couples still face federal discrimination against their marriages because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Integrity vows to continue to fight for marriage equality both within and outside of the church. We will not stop until we can claim the promise that all really means ALL.”
“I was overjoyed when I heard that the right to marriage equality has been upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals,” wrote the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, in a statement to ENS. “The Constitution of the United States allows for equal rights under the law, and the 14th Amendment guarantees that every human being, regardless of race, ethnicity or sexual orientation, is equally protected by the constitution of our land.”
Saying that it is a “foregone conclusion” that opponents of gay marriage will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bruno said he prayed for “swift action on the part of the Supreme Court that will strike down opposition to marriage equality.”
“We all are truly created in the image of God; therefore, we should all be afforded the respect and dignity of that creation,” Bruno said. “I will pray that we soon will have regained the privilege and right of marriage equality for all people.”
The Catholic Church issued a statement “denouncing” the ruling.
“Today’s court ruling is a grave injustice, ignoring the reality that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” according to Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. conference of Catholic Bishops.
COMMENT: Well done everybody! And a special thank you and well done to our longstanding friend, IT, from THE FRIENDS OF JAKE and GAY MARRIED CALIFORNIAN blogs. She has tirelessly kept the neighbourhood up to date on the fight to repeal Prop 8 since the vile and unconstitutional legislation first removed the human rights of the many gay married couples in California. We rejoiced when she married BP and we rejoice again with her now. We will rejoice even more when the Supreme Court upholds yesterday's landmark decision and all the blustering, bankrolled bigots and their small gods are shown that love is greater than hate and told to live with it.