Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LDS Church Lauds California Supreme Court For Upholding Proposition 8, Defending Traditional Marriage And Protecting Voter Prerogative

Among those reacting favorably to the California Supreme Court's 6-1 decision to uphold Proposition 8, which defines marriage only as between one man and one woman, is an organization whose members had a major stake in the outcome. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following statement commending the Court for its decision:

Statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY 26 May 2009 Today's decision by the California Supreme Court is welcome. The issue the court decided was whether California citizens validly exercised their right to amend their own constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The court has overwhelmingly affirmed their action.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes the deeply held feelings on both sides, but strongly affirms its belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The bedrock institution of marriage between a man and a woman has profound implications for our society. These implications range from what our children are taught in schools to individual and collective freedom of religious expression and practice.

Accordingly, the Church stands firmly for what it believes is right for the health and well-being of society as a whole. In doing so, it once again affirms that all of us are children of God, and all deserve to be treated with respect. The Church believes that serious discussion of these issues is not helped when extreme elements on both sides of the debate demonize the other.

KSL Channel 5 news video embedded below (additional story on the Mormon Times):

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

The 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George rejected an argument by gay rights activists that the ban revised the California Constitution's equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature's approval, reaffirming Californians' right to change their constitution through the ballot box.

The justices said the 136-page majority ruling does not speak to whether they agree with the voter-approved Proposition 8 or "believe it should be a part of the California Constitution." They said they were "limited to interpreting and applying the principles and rules embodied in the California Constitution, setting aside our own personal beliefs and values."

Justice Carlos Moreno wrote the dissenting opinion, disagreeing that the proposition did not change the constitution's equal protection clause. He said the law denying same-sex couples the right to wed "strikes at the core of the promise of equality that underlies our California Constitution."

However, the estimated 18,000 gay marriages in California have not been orphaned or left in limbo. The court said it is well-established legal principle that an amendment is not retroactive unless it is clear that the voters intended it to apply retroactively, and there was no such clear indication in Proposition 8. Consequently, their marriages are still considered valid - for the moment. Of course, the court neglected to mention that they contributed to this problem in the first place by invalidating the original law.

Unofficial LDS reaction from the Bloggernacle now showing up on Mormon Inquiry, A Soft Answer, Mormon Matters (which includes a poll), and The Exponent. All except the Exponent agree with the Court's decision.

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