Federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s August 4 decision asserting that the U. S. Constitution includes a right to same-sex “marriage” is less a serious legal ruling than a strange collation of absurdities, falsehoods and internal contradictions.
For example, consider the relationship between one of the document’s rare accurate statements and one of its more blatant falsehoods in Judge Walker’s almost comically one-sided “findings of fact.”
There was some truth in Judge Walker’s Finding #79 – “The Proposition 8 campaign relied on fears that children [may be] exposed to the concept of same-sex marriage…” Judge Walker, however, asserted that this campaign “insinuated that learning about same-sex marriage could make a child gay or lesbian.”
The question of whether the official public affirmation of homosexual relationships might make some “questioning” youth more open to experimentation with homosexual conduct is one worthy of discussion, not dismissal. However, there is a far more basic concern that many California parents could legitimately have about the implications of same-sex “marriage” for the schools.
This concern relates to one of Judge Walker’s “findings” that is blatantly false – #62, in which he said, “Proposition 8 does not affect the First Amendment rights of those opposed to marriage for same-sex couples.” The relationship between these two concepts (the fear for our children, and the fear for religious liberty) seems to have eluded Judge Walker so, step by step, I will clarify it with my own “findings of fact.”
1. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to “the free exercise” of “religion.”
2. The “free exercise of religion” includes the right to form and hold opinions regarding the morality and immorality of different types of human conduct, including sexual behavior.
3. The “free exercise of religion” also includes the right to transmit to one’s children one’s own moral and religious beliefs.
4. Many religious groups (as Judge Walker noted) teach that sexual activity between persons of the same-sex is wrong, immoral, sinful and/or contrary to the will of God.
5. Therefore, the First Amendment guarantee of the “free exercise” of “religion” also protects the fundamental right of parents to teach their children that sexual activity between persons of the same sex is wrong, immoral, sinful, and/or contrary to the will of God.
Now we have to shift gears a bit, and consider the schools:
6. California school curricula include lessons dealing with “family” as early as kindergarten (according to the California Health Education Content Standards).
7. California school curricula include lessons dealing with sexuality as early as fifth grade.
8. California school curricula include lessons dealing with “marriage” as early as ninth grade.
9. Legalization of same-sex “marriage” would establish as a matter of law that “families” centered on a homosexual relationship are equal in social value and importance to families with both a mother and a father. School lessons regarding the concept of “family” would have to reflect this official viewpoint.
10. Legalization of same-sex “marriage” would establish as a matter of law that sexual relationships between two persons of the same sex are equal in social value and importance to sexual relationships between two persons of the opposite sex. School lessons regarding human sexuality would have to reflect this official viewpoint.
11. Legalization of same-sex “marriage” would establish as a matter of law that “marriages” between two persons of the same sex are equal in social value and importance to marriages between a man and a woman. School lessons regarding “marriage” would have to reflect this official viewpoint.
These facts lead to my final conclusion:
12. The legalization of same-sex “marriage” would lead California public schools to teach an official viewpoint which is contrary to, and therefore undermines, the efforts of many parents to transmit to their children their own moral or religious views concerning homosexual conduct and marriage.
Parents, in other words, had a legitimate concern that same-sex “marriage” would undermine their First Amendment rights to the “free exercise” of religion, and this provided an entirely rational basis for supporting Proposition 8.
Judge Walker asserts that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it “enacts, without reason, a private moral view.” Yet opposite-sex relationships are capable of serving the important social function of procreation, while same-sex relationships can never do so. This is another, more than adequate secular reason to define marriage as the union of man and woman. It is a self-evident fact of nature, not a “private moral view.”
My “findings of fact” are not comprehensive. There are other strong reasons to find Judge Walker’s statements harmful and unacceptable. But the Judge’s view of the First Amendment is chilling enough.
Judge Walker has attempted to impose his “private moral view” that the beliefs of parents who disapprove of homosexuality are wrong – and he is willing to choke their First Amendment rights in order to do so.