Six months ago, after the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Chief Justice Ronald George (who voted with the majority) explained to a reporter how he had come to his decision. He said he asked himself, “When is it that a court should act? When is it that a court is shirking its responsibility by not acting, and when is a court overreaching? That’s a real conundrum.”
On November 4, George’s “conundrum” was solved by the six million (and counting) Californians who voted “Yes” on Proposition 8, the California marriage amendment. Despite being outspent, traditional marriage advocates got marriage between one man and one woman written into their state’s constitution, sending a clear message to George and his colleagues that they had indeed overreached.
In the 10 days since that vote, however, bitter activists have also badly overreached — by overstepping any normal standards of ethics and civility in their hateful reactions to democracy in action. Obscene and violent protests have been raging across California and the rest of the country for over a week.
At Mount Hope Church in Michigan, a radical homosexual group disrupted an evangelical church service last Sunday. The activists rushed the pulpit, throwing condoms and buckets of glitter, using noisemakers and megaphones to scream at churchgoers and frighten children. Women ran to the pulpit and began to kiss; others shouted, “Jesus was gay!” Protests erupted outside Mormon temples in Utah and Seattle to protest the church’s support for the California marriage amendment.
Three hundred gay activists picketed outside Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, in protest of the pastor’s support for Prop. 8. Other large protests were held in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Several arrests were made at rallies across California.
In perhaps the most hideous response, an elderly woman holding a cross to show her support for the California marriage amendment was attacked by an angry mob of protestors at a same-sex marriage protest. The 69-year-old woman’s cross was torn from her hands, trampled on and destroyed by the crazed protestors. Police are considering pressing assault charges.
For all the activists’ rage, the vote’s outcome should not have come as a surprise. Only eight years ago, Californians soundly passed a ballot initiative protecting traditional marriage. The people’s will was then overturned by the aforementioned court ruling last spring.
Thirty states now have constitutionally defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (Florida and Arizona also passed amendments this year.) Marriage amendments have passed in every state in which they’ve been introduced, most by overwhelming margins. And in the two states that currently allow same-sex marriage (Massachusetts and Connecticut), it was foisted on the public by unelected judges, not passed by the states’ residents through a popular vote or by the people’s elected representatives.
Even with the court system, the medical community, one political party, academia, Hollywood, the press and numerous other American institutions in its corner, the same-sex marriage movement still has not been able to convince most Americans of the merits of fundamentally altering our civilization’s oldest and most important social institution.
Though I am angered and saddened by the violence of the past 10 days, I am not surprised by it. The great irony of the gay rights movement is that while it preaches against hate and for tolerance and choice, it is utterly hateful towards, and intolerant (often to the point of violence) of, any choice that does not conform to its preferred outcomes.
Tolerance for differing opinions has never been the gay rights movement’s strong suit. In May, gay activists shut down an American Psychiatric Association (APA) panel because two evangelicals were set to appear. David Scasta, a former APA president and a gay psychiatrist in charge of assembling the panel, was dismayed and said:
“It was a way to have a balanced discussion about religion and how it influences therapy…We wanted to talk rationally, calmly and respectfully to each other, but the external forces made it into a divisive debate it was never intended to be…This was supposed to reduce polarization, which has hurt the gay community. They are blocked into this bitchy battle and they are not progressing. They are not willing to do missionary work and talk to the enemy. They have to be willing to listen and change themselves.”
Anyone who has witnessed a gay rights parade knows full well that “rational,” “calm,” “respectful,” and “listen” are not words that immediately come to mind when one thinks of the gay rights movement. It is, after all, a movement founded partly on the slogan, “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.”
Clearly, rational, respectful discussion was not on the minds of California’s most high profile leaders either. Before Election Day, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome declared publicly that same-sex marriage was coming to the state “whether you like it or not.” After Prop. 8 passed, Governor Schwarzenegger encouraged the state Supreme Court to legislate from the bench and overturn the will of the people — again!
Having gone 0 for 30 across the country in state marriage amendment battles, same-sex marriage advocates have some soul searching to do and some questions to answer.
Will they continue to stand for a false tolerance that regards authentic choice as a barrier to the implementation of their policies and worldview? Or, will they embrace genuine forms of choice and tolerance that also adhere to the basic standards of morality at the heart of American democracy?
In view of gay activists’ despicable reactions to the marriage amendments, and given that several homosexual groups have already filed petitions with the California Supreme Court to invalidate the marriage amendment, initial indications are not positive. They suggest the gay marriage crowd will continue to stand for a distorted version of tolerance that takes real choices out of the hands of people and puts them into the hands of a select few.