Perry v Schwarzenegger: Religion, Family, Democracy— On Trial

Photo: Norman Rockwell–Freedom of Worship

Religion, Family, Democracy— On Trial

The endless parade has come to a halt.  Painfully, yet colorfully, we’ve all watched the emotional train wreck unfold over these last several weeks.  Here and there bits of sanity reigned, but by and large raw, pity driven emotion ran the day.

Thankfully all binge parties must have an end and this one is no exception.  Finally, Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom theatrics and baldface shenanigans  have come to a close.  All that remains are 30 days of preparation, the final arguments and the ruling.

No matter which way Judge Walker rules, his feckless reign will not ultimately hold sway.  The fate of proposition 8 will end up in the hands of the United States Supreme Court; a judicial body, I might add, in which I have infinitely more faith.

Is there any question how Judge Walker will rule?  He’s made his bias clear every chance he got.  The better question is, what will the Supreme Court think of his antics?  Somehow I don’t imagine they will look kindly on the abuse and mockery Judge Walker has made of the judicial system, thumbing his nose at basic freedoms, federal judicial practice and common decency.  He may have won small points with the Oprah crowd, but the Supreme Court is not populated by Jerry Springer and Judge Judy. These are men and women who know the constitution, and the  intent of its creators to protect the rights and liberties of all men with regard to personal belief:

That religion, and the duty which we owe to our CREATOR,  and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, that all men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the magistrate, unless, under colour of religion, any man disturb the peace, the happiness, or safety of society. And that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love and charity, towards each other.”  –James Madison, Virginia Declaration

The bottom line is no one has the right to put religion, family or democracy on trial.  These are freedoms and rights that are truly inalienable.  All men are equal.  No spurious claim to special rights can supersede the rights we all share in common.

—Beetle Blogger

See this from Ron Prentice, the executive director of protectmarriage.com.

The live testimony in the federal trial of Perry v Schwarzenegger, the historic court battle over the definition of marriage, finally came to a close yesterday afternoon.
Our lead trial attorney Charles Cooper and the rest of the Prop 8 Legal Defense Team did a superb job defending the will of the voters and the institution of marriage itself under extremely difficult circumstances in this San Francisco courtroom. As we consistently saw in most of the critical pre-trial rulings, virtually all of Judge Vaughn Walker’s significant rulings during the trial went against us.
For example, Judge Walker’s insistent efforts to broadcast the trial proceedings worldwide on the internet, in violation of federal laws, caused two-thirds of our expert witnesses to withdraw from the case just before the trial started. Quite understandably, these experts were fearful of the likely harassment and retribution they would suffer, personally and professionally, if their live testimony was broadcast worldwide as Judge Walker had ordered. As the trial started, the cameras were still rolling and there was no way to guarantee the witnesses that their testimony would not be broadcast. Even though the US Supreme Court later overruled Judge Walker and prohibited the broadcasting of this case, it was too late.
The loss of four witnesses put tremendous added pressure on our team of defense attorneys to find other ways to get our critical evidence into the record. So during over 30 hours of our cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ witnesses, our attorneys succeeded in moving key studies, statistics, reports and other evidence into the record, and obtaining critical concessions from the other side’s witnesses on many subjects, such as child-rearing and monogamy. Thankfully, our legal team was extremely successful in this regard.
After weeks of 20+ hour days, our attorneys finally were able to get a good night’s rest. We appreciate your prayers for them and your words of encouragement. Starting today, they will be working for the next 30 days to submit additional briefings to the judge. They will also start preparing to go back before Judge Walker sometime in March to present final closing arguments. And then we will await the court’s ruling.
No matter how Judge Walker rules, all sides agree that this is just the first stage in a much longer journey that will ultimately end at the U.S. Supreme Court. No matter which side wins this first legal test, the case is surely to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and eventually to the nine Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Even though the live testimony has ended, we must continue our efforts to secure the resources needed for a strong legal defense of Prop 8. Please help us with your own contribution, and forward this email to your friends and colleagues who themselves might make a donation. Our outstanding legal bills are substantial and the ongoing fight will be expensive.
Every person involved in our legal defense has made tremendous sacrifices. Lead trial counsel Charles Cooper and his team from the Cooper & Kirk law firm have done a spectacular job. Special thanks is also due to the excellent attorneys of the Alliance Defense Fund who donated literally thousands of hours of legal work as part of the defense team.
In particular, we are also extremely grateful to our own General Counsel, Andy Pugno, whose wife is due to deliver their third child any day now. Not only has he worked tirelessly for months on end and represented us ably in the courtroom, his entire family has paid a price as Andy has been fighting for the institution of marriage. We owe him, and his family, a debt of gratitude.
Below is a statement Andy released to the media late yesterday about the case. It’s an excellent summary of how this show trial unfolded.
Today concluded the presentation of evidence in the federal trial, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, challenging Prop 8’s definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman. Our Prop 8 Legal Defense Team did a remarkable job in defending the will of over 7 million California voters who passed it into law.
What may be lost in all the sensationalism of the past two and a half weeks of trial is that the burden of proof to invalidate Prop 8 lies squarely with the plaintiffs. They cannot win unless they prove that the voters were “irrational” when they chose to preserve the traditional definition of marriage in our state. Contrary to their public relations claims, the outcome of this case does not depend on whether the Prop 8 sponsors can prove that homosexual marriage will harm traditional
marriage. The controlling legal issue is not whether homosexual marriage is good or bad, but rather whether the people have the right to decide what is best. The plaintiffs simply did not carry that burden.
Meanwhile, we have shown that limiting marriage to its longstanding definition is rational because marriage benefits children, not just the adults. Whenever possible, it is best for a child to have both a mother and a father. And man-woman marriage is the only human relationship that can biologically serve that distinctive purpose. A same-sex relationship can never offer a child both a
mother and father. It’s that simple.
The plaintiffs put on a spectacular show-trial of irrelevant evidence, calling to the stand many “expert” witnesses to testify that allowing homosexual marriage would: help local governments raise more tax revenues, help gay and lesbian couples to accumulate greater wealth, and improve the self-esteem of homosexuals. But those are political arguments for society to consider, not legal
support for the claim that the US Constitution contains the right to homosexual marriage. The courtroom is simply not the proper forum for what is clearly a social, not a legal, appeal.
Thank you for your continued help through prayer, financial support, encouragement, and spreading the word. We – all of us – are responsible for the shape of our society when we hand it off to future generations.
Sincerely,
Ron Prentice, Executive Director

I Am A Mother. A Tale of Two Views

I Am A Mother.

As I was reading through NOM blog today, I came across these two posts by women on opposite ends of the marriage debate.  Their heartfelt takes on marriage and what it means really impressed me.  In particular, they are both powerful, emotional statements, yet worlds apart in focus:

“I am a citizen, who desires nothing more than any other citizen. I want children for the exact same reasons any heterosexual does. I want to be married for the exact same reasons any heterosexual does.

I can’t change who I am, or who I fall in love with any more than you can, and I should just accept I’ll never have the same thing as my sister or brother, who are heterosexual?

And because of people like you, my partner and I will probably have a harder time raising our son than you would your children.

The only reason a child would think any less of his or her family would be because people like you do.

Good night, and I really hope none of your children are gay. If they are, make sure and tell them early on why they shouldn’t ever be able to marry. It’ll be easier on them in the long-run.”  —Marci

“Marci,

When I dated, I chose who I made relationships with. I chose who I would live my life with. No one took those choices from me. Because of my choices, my children will have a mom and a dad, and I will work every day to make sure it stays that way because my children need a mom and a dad. I would never deny a child what they are entitled to simply because of my own selfish wants and desires. Children have rights too, rights that can’t be denied simply because they don’t fit a certain parent’s sexual desires. I am prepared to teach my children by example what a family is, and You can bet I will make sure that they know, if they are not prepared to give a child the things they need in life, they ought not be bringing those children into the world. I am a mom, and because I’m a mom, the needs of my children surpass my petty wants. That is a sacrifice I’m willing to make a thousand times over, and one we should comit to as a society. Every child needs a mom and a dad. Death and divorce aside, we should do everything we can to give them the best chance possible to have that in their lives.”  —Sandee

I thought the response to Marci’s letter was singularly powerful.  One letter focused on the writer, what the writer wanted, what the writer felt, and children were an accessory to that.  The other writer’s focus is on her family, her children and what makes a family.

Two mothers. Two world views.

The first takes no responsibility, the second is the embodiment of responsibility.

It was a poignant example of the very basis of disagreement in the marriage debate, excellently articulated by two of society’s mothers.

—Beetle Blogger

Obama’s EEOC Nominee: Society Should ‘Not Tolerate Private Beliefs’ That ‘Adversely Affect’ Homosexuals

protester-police2

Freedom of Religion: More from the “tolerance” crowd

In honor of  Obama’s proclaimed “Religious Freedom Day“, I thought I’d post this quote:

“Chai Feldblum, the Georgetown University law professor nominated by President Obama to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, has written that society should ‘not tolerate’ any ‘private beliefs,’ including religious beliefs, that may negatively affect homosexual ‘equality.’” —CNS News

Combine that sentiment from a self described “radical” with this from the Proposition 8 trial in San Francisco last week, and you see even more clearly the pervasive depth to which this intolerant sentiment has spread, especially in the activist gay community:

“A chilling moment came when San Francisco city attorney Therese Stewart had Professor Chauncey read official doctrinal statements from the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church that both generally restated what the Bible says about the definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Professor Chauncey said those doctrinal statements reflect historic bias against those who engage in homosexual behavior. It’s not hard to figure out what is so frightening about an attempt in federal court to attack and delegitimize the views of the two largest Christian denominations in America. This is further proof that this case, and the very definition of marriage, is about much more than the personal relationships and the inner feelings of people who choose same-sex relationships. It is about imposing a different and intolerant “morality” on America and eradicating opposing ideas.” —ADF

The activist gay movement is first and foremost about the “eradication” of opposing ideas.  They openly advocate intolerance for others with whom they happen to disagree.  Proposition 8 was passed in a large part because of the repeated intolerance this group shows, and because of their efforts to legislate this intolerance into California law.

The gay movement says the fight against “equality” is all about hate.  I have to agree.  It’s about hate alright.  Whose hate is it though?  Whose freedoms are really at stake, and whose legal equality?

We all have the right to believe as we choose.

–Beetle Blogger

See this from a children’s primer on the First Amendment:

Freedom of Religion
Did you know that you have two Freedoms
granted by the First Amendment regarding Religion?

Pilgrims were called Separatists back in England because they wanted independence from the established Church of England. In 1620, they sailed the stormy Atlantic for 63 days on the tiny Mayflower, seeking freedom of religion in the New World.

The First Amendment contains two clauses about the Freedom of Religion. The first part is known as the Establishment Clause, and the second as the Free Exercise Clause.

The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing laws that will establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. The courts have interpreted the establishment clause to accomplish the separation of church and state.

The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government from interfering with a person’s practice of his or her religion. However, religious actions and rituals can be limited by civil and federal laws.

Religious freedom is an absolute right, and includes the right to practice any religion of one’s choice, or no religion at all, and to do this without government control.

Your rights to Freedom of Religion and the free exercise thereof means:

  • The Freedom of Religion is an inalienable right.
  • The First Amendment provides for the Freedom of Religion for all Americans.
  • The Free Exercise Clause provides that government will neither control nor prohibit the free exercise of one’s religion.
  • The government will remain neutral.

United States Supreme Court Weighs Against Judge Walker’s Anti-Prop8 Extremism—Again.

protester-_antimormon

I guess all that “No More Mr. Nice Gay” type tolerance backfired.

The anti prop 8 antics from last year, the anthrax threats, the jobs threats, the death threats and vandalism all came home to roost in a big way today as the highest court slammed Judge Vaughn Walker’s extremism once again.

“Given the importance of the issues at stake, and our conclusion that the District Court likely violated a federal statute in revising its local rules…

“…While applicants have demonstrated the threat of harm they face if the trial is broadcast, respondents have not alleged any harm if the trial is not broadcast. The issue, moreover, must be resolved at this stage, for the injury likely cannot be undone…”  —U.S. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ruled that there will be no broadcast of prop 8 trial video, thus protecting the witnesses testifying from what the court described as “irreparable harm”.

“putting Prop 8 supporters on the witness stand and broadcasting their testimony worldwide would virtually guarantee a serious risk of harm threatened by anti-Prop 8 extremists.”   –ADF

There’s no reason for Judge Vaughn Walker to allow the persecution of witnesses.  It’s against federal court rules and against common sense.  Judge Walker’s continued efforts to turn his courtroom into a circus only further betrays his bias.

—Beetle Blogger

Kangaroo Court—Now in Session!

Kangaroo Court: Now in Session!

Judge Vaughn Walker is running the most poignant example in recent history of a kangaroo court as he puts the people of California on trial for daring to pass a constitutional amendment reaffirming the definition of marriage (proposition 8).

Steeped in all the authority California grants to an impartial judiciary, he has succeeded in turning judicial law on its head to favor his particular view.   Kangaroo courts are sham legal proceedings  set-up in order to give the impression of a fair legal process, but in fact, they offer no impartial justice because the verdict, invariably to the detriment of the accused, is decided in advance.

In judging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the question is whether limiting the definition of marriage to one man and one woman is constitutional, or it isn’t. That’s a simple question of law.  It has nothing to do with opinions, views, emails or other first amendment protected private communications of  those who support and promote marriage between a man and a woman.  Judge Walker believes they are essential.  Why?  and who stands to gain from the position he has taken?

As Maggie Gallagher noted, no one promoted proposition 8 as a tool of hatred as gay advocate lawyers Olsen and Boies claim, and the evidence is ample to see, yet Judge Walker continues to open the candy store to the opposition’s lawyers:

“After Prop. 8, gay couples continue to enjoy unmolested all the legal civil rights of marriage under California law through civil unions. Who will stand up for the core civil rights of the people of California and the rest of the USA to participate in democracy without fear?  Certainly not Judge Vaughn Walker. ”   —Maggie Gallagher

So what is at the heart of this effort?  Jennifer Roback Morse has commented extensively on the dangers this use of California’s court system will have on the rights of the public:

“California’s high-profile federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, …appears to be about creating a federal case for same sex marriage. But in fact, much more is at stake. Lurking in the shadows of this case is a breathtaking expansion of judicial interference with perfectly valid elections. Whatever your views about Proposition 8, we surely should be able to agree that special interest groups can’t go into court to overturn elections they don’t like.”

“Political professionals of all parties and persuasions should be completely outraged by this judicial foray into mind-reading. The rules you create against your opponent today can be used against you tomorrow. Everyone involved in politics, as a professional, spectator, or voter, has a stake in the outcome of this foray into legally sanctioned harassment. ”  —Jennifer Roback Morse

and even the New York Times Opinion Editor Edwin Meese writes that the judge has stacked the deck against proposition 8 supporters.

“Judge Walker’s decisions have been surprising because they differ from those of other judges who have previously scrutinized marriage laws — in Iowa, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and elsewhere in California, for example. In those instances, the courts have decided legal challenges to state marriage laws based on legislative history, scholarly articles and testimony by social scientists and other experts. They have, in some cases, looked for evidence of legislative intent in the statements published in official voter information pamphlets.

…Judge Walker has ruled that things like TV advertisements, press releases and campaign workers’ statements are also relevant evidence of what the voters intended. The judge went so far as to order the Proposition 8 campaign to disclose private internal communications about messages that were considered for public use but never actually used. He has even ordered the campaign to turn over copies of all internal records and e-mail messages relating to campaign strategy.

Most troubling, Judge Walker has also ruled that the trial will investigate the Proposition 8 sponsors’ personal beliefs regarding marriage and sexuality…

To top it all off, Judge Walker has determined that this case will be the first in the Ninth Circuit to allow cameras in the courtroom, with the proceedings posted on YouTube. This will expose supporters of Proposition 8 who appear in the courtroom to the type of vandalism, harassment and bullying attacks already used by some of those who oppose the proposition.”

If the case has already been decided in the mind of Judge Walker, what more is there to see?  Do advocates of same-sex marriage actually think this is the way to persuade people that gay marriage is good and right and wouldn’t trample the rights and beliefs of others?

The proof is in the pudding, and it’s rank.

–Beetle Blogger

Responsible “Non-Monogamy” The New Face of Secularism

Just another notch in the slide of societal dignity at the expense of the most helpless and vulnerable among us.  See this from the Venerable Boston Globe:

Love’s new frontier

“It’s not monogamy. But it’s not cheating or polygamy, either. It’s called polyamory, and with hundreds practicing the lifestyle in and around Boston, is liberal Massachusetts ready to accept it?”

“Jay Sekora isn’t actively looking for an additional relationship, but he admits to occasionally checking a dating site to see who’s out there. Sekora’s girlfriend, Mare, who does not want her last name used here for professional reasons, said she is not pursuing anyone, either, but is “open and welcoming to what might come along.”

“Through the lens of monogamy, this love connection may appear distorted, but that’s not how Sekora and Mare, who is 45, describe their lifestyle. Adherents call it responsible non-monogamy or polyamory, and the nontraditional practice is creeping out of the closet, making gay marriage feel somewhat last decade here in Massachusetts. What literally translates to “loving many,” polyamory (or poly, for short), a term coined around 1990, refers to consensual, romantic love with more than one person. Framing it in broad terms, Sekora, one of the three founders and acting administrator of the 500-person-strong group Poly Boston, says: “There’s monogamy where two people are exclusive. There’s cheating in which people are lying about being exclusive. And poly is everything else.”

What about children?  While all the adults are reliving their irresponsible teen fantasies well into their fifties, what becomes of the unfortunate children of these nonbinding, noncommittal sexual arrangements? Where is the stability?

“Kids deal well with things they think are normal. To the degree that we can help them be comfortable with this, then they will treat it as normal. That’s the theory, anyway,” says Alan Wexelblat who has two kids with wife Michelle (pictured), and a girlfriend.”

In effect, this is the epitome of the “it’s all about love” argument same sex marriage advocates and other groups seeking to tear down societal mores.  Do what you want to do.  Do what is best for YOU.  Forget about the kids, social responsibility, society…that is all subject to interpretation.

What kind of society will children raised this way know how to create?  Who will show them how to be a mom or a dad who is lovingly committed to the family?  How will they know how to commit to their own children if no one shows them how?

Is this where we want to go as a nation?  Here it is the Boston Globe, a major newspaper promoting puff pieces on polyamory as “responsible non monogamy”.  It’s all presented with no reality, all fantasy.  What is there that is “responsible” about adults shacking up with whomever, whenever, at the expense of their kids?

What kind of utopia sacrifices a child’s needs for a parent’s wants?

—Beetle Blogger

People of Faith Under Persecution in “Tolerant” UK

The same sex marriage fight has brought several things to the forefront as I watch the various news threads go by.  The war between secularism and faith is increasingly real.  In a perfect world, we would all be able to live as we choose, believe as we choose…. right?  As long as it doesn’t hurt another, the right to believe as we choose is a treasured right and privilege—one that has been treasured here in the U.S. for generations.  In fact, our nation was built on the premise that people had a basic right to believe how they chose.

Given that understanding, how can the “enlightened” nations increasingly favor the religion of secularism to the detriment of all others?  Consider this story out of the UK:

British Christian Teacher Sacked after Offering to Pray for Ill Student

LONDON, January 4, 2010, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Christian teacher in the UK has been added to the long and growing list of British Christians who have faced disciplinary or legal action for expressing their beliefs. Olive Jones, 54, is being defended by the Christian Legal Centre after she was sacked for offering to pray for a student suffering from leukaemia.

Jones, a home-visit teacher, gave lessons in mathematics to children who are too ill to attend school. When on a visit with a sick student, she spoke to the child’s mother and offered to pray for the daughter. When she was told that the family were not believers, she dropped the subject, but the mother complained and Jones lost her job with Oak Hill Short Stay School and Tuition Service in Nailsea, North Somerset.

Her employers said that the offer of prayer could have been regarded as “bullying.” Jones now fears that the incident has marked her and will damage her future employment prospects.

Jones said that her offer of prayer is being treated like “a criminal act”: “It is like a black mark against my name and character when it comes to getting a reference for another job, just because I shared my testimony.”

“If I had done something criminal, I believe the reaction would have been the same,” she said. She said she is angry at the interpretation of the company of freedom of speech.

“I am amazed that a country with such a strong Christian tradition has become a country where it is hard to speak about your faith.”

When those on the other side of the same sex marriage debate deride the idea that Christians and other people of faith are and ought to be concerned and protective of their rights, my warning flags wave.  The onslaught of anti-religious thought is not of a live and let live nature.  That sectarianism and gay activism go together as two ends of the same stick is not a new reality.

Be aware.  The will to suffocate one side of the debate is out there, and comes out in many ways.  It happens even among the “enlightened” and we’d be fools to imagine it’s not happening here.

–Beetle Blogger

Iowa Next?

The good folks of Iowa had their marriage law turned upside down by a handful of activist judges in 2009.  That one sided and ill constructed decision has the power to single handedly change the  landscape in Iowa as Iowans seek to restore the status of the family in their state.   Amending the Iowan Constitution is the single best legal and legislative option for a reversal and the sooner the better.

Iowa activists want gay marriage on agenda

“Hurley said members of his group will attend (Governor) Culver’s annual Condition of the State speech on Jan. 12 to mark a “two days for marriage” initiative pushing to overturn the court’s decision.

Culver has said he favors marriage as being between one woman and one man but that he won’t support a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Democrats control both legislative chambers and argue that the state’s budget crunch has forced them to shorten the upcoming session, leaving no time for a debate over marriage.

Amending the Iowa Constitution is a long process requiring approval in two consecutive general assemblies and a statewide vote. If lawmakers this year don’t act on the issue, the soonest it could be on the ballot would be the general election of 2014.”

 

Governor Culver and a few leaders in the democrat controlled State House and Senate have started lining up against marriage and families, but with current political events, perhaps they need to rethink their position.

If marriage can win handily in liberal bastions like California, Maine, New York and New Jersey… what does Iowa have to fear?  The governor there could put up a formidable veto, but at what political cost to him and his party?

Gay activists have not been able to make a convincing case to the people.  Relying heavily on intimidation and force, their faulty rhetoric fails every time when brought honestly to the arena of ideas.  The heat is on nationally, and every eye seems to be turned to the next state in the lineup against marriage.  If politicians think this isn’t going to have an effect on their careers they are not paying attention.

In the past pro-family candidates may have been able to rely on the public’s good natured amnesia and willingness to turn the other cheek when they strayed from pro-family support, but no more.  The field has changed and the stakes are high.  The consequences are becoming more evident for those who support family in name only.  It is no secret that every time the choice has come to the people, families have prevailed.

Marriage is worth the fight.  Bring the issue to the people.

—Beetle Blogger

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