Genderless Marriage

I think being a retired Judge gives us an insight and many things that clarify why this proposition [8] is so important to work toward!

by William T. GarnerJudge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Retired

It is no exaggeration to suggest that when California voters go to the polls in November to select a new president, they will also decide another issue at least as important. A 'yes' vote on Proposition 8 will create a state constitutional amendment allowing marriage only between one man and one woman. A 'no' vote will allow same-sex couples to marry.

What is the benefit and what is the harm of recognizing genderless marriage (marriage without a gender requirement)? Aside from being able to call themselves 'married, 'there appears to be no benefit to same-sex couples that did not exist at the time of the 4-3 California Supreme Court decision of May 15, 2008 legalizing genderless marriage. Section 297.5 of the California Family Code already provided that persons who register as 'domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits as married spouses. However, the harm of official recognition of such relationships as 'marriages' may be irreparable.

Although we cannot foretell the future with certainty, if a genderless marriage remains lawful, then so must a polygamous marriage be. The California Supreme Court effectively changed the traditional definition of marriage by holding that an individual must be allowed to establish a marriage with a person of either sex with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life. If the person chosen is already married to another and all parties agree, in light of the court's language, how can the state refuse to recognize a three-party marriage, or indeed place any limit on the number of marriage partners?

We have recently seen in Texas and elsewhere that there are many people who want such a marriage, and it appears that choice now trumps tradition. Many personal freedoms, including the free exercise of religion, may well be diminished or lost if the amendment is not adopted. Although the free exercise right is provided in both the U.S. and California Constitutions, because genderless marriage has now been held to be another constitutional right, who can doubt that there are judges who will decide that the marriage right must prevail over the religious one?

Consider the following: In Boston, the Catholic Charities recently closed down its adoption program because the state of Massachusetts insisted that every adoption agency must allow same-sex couples to adopt. Thereafter, an affiliated agency in San Francisco did the same. A Methodist group in New Jersey lost part of its tax-exempt status because it refused to allow two lesbian couples to use its facility for a civil union ceremony. In Albuquerque, a wedding photographer was ordered by the state's Human Rights Commission to pay $6,637 to the attorney for a gay couple because she declined to photograph the couple's commitment ceremony. She had explained to them that because of her religious beliefs she photographed only traditional marriages.

What of the effect on education? Section 51890 of the California Education Code requires teachers to instruct children as early as kindergarten about the legal aspects of marriage. The state's position that same-sex couples are equivalent to opposite-sex couples will in all likelihood require changes in school instruction to ensure that a homosexual relationship is not treated differently from a heterosexual one. We can anticipate that the princess in a children's story will be as likely to marry another princess as a prince. Differences between sexes will be minimized or ignored. What confusion will that create in the minds of young boys and girls? If a parent objects to the teaching of homosexuality in the public schools, there is probably little he or she will be able to do about it.

A federal district court in Massachusetts has ruled that parents may not prevent an elementary school from teaching their kindergarten and first-grade children that homosexuality and same-sex marriage are moral and acceptable, even though contrary to the parents' sincere religious beliefs, and that the parents are not entitled to notice of any such instruction or to opt their children out of it. That decision has been affirmed by the First District Court of Appeals. Incidentally, in that case a first grade student was required to listen to a teacher read the book King and King, a story of a prince who falls in love with and marries another prince. (Parker v Hurley)

In England, a Catholic school has been prohibited from firing an openly gay headmaster. In Quebec, a Mennonite school was informed by the Ministry of Education that it must conform to the official provincial curriculum, including teaching that homosexuality is an acceptable alternative lifestyle, or be shut down. The Mennonites say they will leave the province. A similar government position can be anticipated here. A loss of free speech rights is likely. In Canada, the Alberta Human Rights Commission issued a ruling forbidding a Christian pastor from making 'disparaging' remarks about homosexuality. Expect the same in California.

Opponents of Proposition 8 ask the public to discard the wisdom of centuries by giving official approval to same-sex marriage. But at what price? The mere fact that a practice is old may not make it right but neither does it make it wrong. We have already witnessed the loss of important rights, and recent history suggests that defeat of the proposition will bring others. Let us hope for the triumph of reason over emotion.


Jay21 said…
I am not for "alternative" marriges, but I am for liberty. The downsides called into question by the judge were all state/federaly funded problems. Do not blame the citizen because there is a "law" that prohibits choice. Abolish state run indoctrineation through education. Abolish the taxes and no tax-exempat status is in danger. Remove federal "earmarks" and no federal funds are at stake. A marriage is a commitment between consenting adults, if it is M/F, M/M, F/F, M/F/F/F.... who cares? As for the religious implications, liberty allows me to create an express track to Hades if I desire, however i believe honesty and integrity, how I treat the family I choose is more important than the XY/XX chromosome equation, but hey thats just me.
Dan the Man said…
Jay21 that is a bit short sighted and simplistic. If you are for freedom then what about the freedom of that photographer that wanted to not take pictures and was fined for it? Where is the liberty there? What about the liberties that protect religions that don't want to affiliate with same sex couples? It is also short sighted to think that public schools are going to disappear overnight. I DO NOT want my children taught that homosexuality is OK. It is against all that God created. You can have your opinions but if marriage remains undefined or same sex marriages become legally recognized will I be allowed to have my beliefs?

Laws already prohibit Christians from praying on school grounds but tolerate other religions. Laws restrict the teaching of creationism but require the teaching of evolution. The list goes on and little by little Christian beliefs are stomped on and cursed while alternative lifestyles are tolerated and even desired.
RhondaLue said…
MY church should be separate and have the right to deny marrying a same sex couple-this is infringing on freedom of religion and it's NOT OK. This prop is so important.

Being a tolerant person, I can see why some folks say "live and let live" but if we don't have marriage defined as ONE man and ONE woman then we will lose many freedoms in religion. I don't think people understand the implications. They aren't doing their research into the proposition and what has been happening in other places.
Jay21 said…
Freedom is having the "state" OUT of personal affairs. You do not want to photograph, or host a same sex marriage don't. The crime is not the union of adults it is with a "law" that professes to be able to fine you for saying NO. Allowing this bill is the exact thing people are afraid of. Legislating "faith". Religions don't recognize same sex couples, fine, remove the taxes, and by default tax exemptions, and the state looses its power over that religion. I do not want my children "taught" that homsexuality is OK either. Therefore i made a choice to enroll them in a scholl that does not subscribe to that doctrine, it is NOT funded by federal grants, and is allowed a lot of leway because of it. It is not free to me and to be honest has put a mojor kink in my budget, but it is a choice availible to anyone, Freedom is not free. Your "right" to not recogonize a homo-union is no better, worse, or more/less justified than any group that chooses to recognize it. I am advocating INDIVDUAL CHOICE only. I do ot want the legeslature telling me what is or is not morally correct. I am not looking at the argument in the short sight of "religion", I am applying it to liberty as a whole. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Interfere with those 3 rights of any person and I call foul. It is simplistic only in that the problem is simple. Too many laws attempting to mansate behavior. As for the laws against praying in school you are enforcing my point, the prayers of an individual are not the problem, THE LAWS ARE. "We" loose nothing by not have a state definition of marrige, we risk loosing everything if we allow the state to continue to define our worth and rights. Rights are never defined by the state, nor have they ever been throughout history. It was said that homosexuality is against all God created, yet God created man, and some men are homosexual, even "pillars" of the dioceses. Dan, I hope you not only maintain your beliefs and convey them to all you know, BUT that you allow those who are your polar oppisite do the same, that is freedom . Rhonda, if you are afraid of a governmet taking away your freedom or religion, they are never lost only stolen, the Declaration gave us a tool... "it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
Armed Citizen said…
Jay, I give you props for you points. The problem with not passing bills such as these, amending a states constitution is that BIG GOVERNMENT is already involved in every aspect of our life. Once the union is acceptable by government , any 'choice' to not support, ie. take pictures or perform ceremony, become 'hate' crimes or descrimination of a group.

I agree whole-heartedly that we need to throw off this government and establish new guards to protect our future(our children)

I know one thing for sure. Our founders broke the ties with England for far less than what we are subjected to today!

Thanks to Dan, Rhonda and Jay for your comments. Feel free to always start or join any discussion.
ajwhet10 said…
I want to guarantee the rights of everyone to love and live with whomever they want. But that does not mean marriage. If the traditional values of marriage and family are going to survive, it is time to take a stand and defend those values. It would be unfortunately easy to lose them by default.

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