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"Gay marriage": 2 wins, close to a 3rd

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ALBANY, N.Y. (BP)--Traditional marriage took a triple blow Tuesday, when one court refused to toss out the anti-Prop 8 ruling, another court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and -- in the legislative realm -- the New York Senate moved one vote away from passing a landmark "gay marriage" bill.

It was difficult to know which venue was more disappointing to conservatives.

New York would become the largest state to legalize "gay marriage," and bill supporters are closer than they've ever been to passing it. Favored to pass the Assembly and with a governor supporting it, the bill needs 32 votes to pass but had only 26 as of last week. It picked up three Democratic commitments and two Republican commitments in the past few days. The 30th pledged vote came from GOP Sen. Roy McDonald. A Senate vote could take place Friday; the GOP controls the Senate, 32-30.

New York's population is more than the combined populations of the five states that already recognize "gay marriage." The National Organization for Marriage -- which helped defeat "gay marriage" in Maine and California -- released a short list of GOP votes critical to the bill's defeat ( and urged residents to call their senators' offices.

Opponents of the bill warn that legalizing "gay marriage" will have negative consequences on religious freedoms and impact what is taught in elementary schools about the family.

Meanwhile, in California, U.S. District Chief Judge James Ware declined to toss out last year's ruling that overturned Prop 8, the 2008 California constitutional amendment that defined marriage in the traditional sense. Prop 8 supporters had argued that now-retired Judge Vaughn Walker, who is openly homosexual and who issued the 2010 anti-Prop 8 decision, should have recused himself from the case because he could have benefited from it. He is in a relationship.


"It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceedings," Ware wrote.

Charles J. Cooper, an attorney for -- which sponsored Prop 8 -- said it's not the end of the road.

"Our legal team will appeal that decision and continue our tireless efforts to defend the will of the people of California to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman," Cooper said in a statement.

In the other court case, a Los Angeles-based federal bankruptcy court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and gives states the option of prohibiting "gay marriage." The case involves a homosexual couple wanting to file bankruptcy jointly, the Associated Press reported. It is unclear how significant the ruling is because other cases involving DOMA and "gay marriage" have advanced further in the federal courts and are closer to a possible hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who supports traditional marriage, said he is "confident that the U.S. Supreme Court will recognize that the Founders did not include a constitutional right to same-sex 'marriage.'"


"Marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been the universally-recognized understanding of marriage not only since America's founding but throughout world history because of the unique benefits that marriage brings to families and society," Perkins said in his statement.

Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. The Southern Baptist Convention has a ministry to homosexuals. Find more information at

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press


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