This is a ruling which, if left undisturbed, means that Protestants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims who see marriage as the union of husband and wife, and view sexual activity as best confined to marriage so defined, are in the exact position as racists under California law. In Great Britain, a similar idea recently led a court to fine an Anglican bishop $100,000 for refusing to hire an openly gay man -- as a youth minister in one of his parishes.
There are religious liberty defenses under the U.S. Constitution for youth ministers, but not for Christian schools, physicians, social workers, teachers, attorneys, psychiatrists, counselors or tax-exempt charities. The First Amendment will not protect us if our own governments (through the courts) decide that, for example, my Catholic faith is in itself a form of bigotry.
If gay rights advocates don't really mean this to happen, why don't they stop asking courts to rule in this way?
I'd love to get beyond the culture wars in this country. But so far, there are few signs that the courts, or the people who disagree with me, are content to let me.
Fortunately the people in California do not have to accept this outrageous and sweeping ruling. Working with Protect Marriage, NOMCalifornia.org (a project of the National Organization for Marriage, of which I am president) has raised $1 million this spring to get a state marriage amendment overturning this ruling on the ballot in November. The 1,122,000 signatures we have helped gather are far more than the 690,000 needed to qualify. We expect certification this June. The next step is to raise $10 million to get the message out.
In November, voters in California, like voters in Florida, will have a chance to go on record: Should four judges overrule more than 4 million Californians who voted for Proposition 22 in 2000? We will fight for marriage and we will win.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.