Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Let's Help IT Get Married!

We have previously discussed the overturning of the gay marriage ban by the California Supreme Court and the decision by the Vestry of All Saints, Pasadena to "treat all couples presenting themselves for the rite of marriage equally."

There is an attempt by some conservatives in California, funded by outside agitators, to pass a constitutional amendment that will block the protections offered by the court for those of a minority sexual orientation. Equality for All explains the situation for us:
..Ordinarily, the California Supreme Court's decision allowing gay and lesbian couple to marry would go into effect in 30 days, meaning gay and lesbian couples could start marrying as early as June 16.

However, on May 22, anti-gay groups filed a Petition for Rehearing asking the Court to delay implementation of its historic ruling. This petition is based on the possibility that voters may enact an anti-marriage amendment to the California Constitution in November. We believe this Petition will be denied and there will be no stay ordered by the Court. However, simply as a matter of routine process, it is possible the Court may grant a 30 day extension to consider the petition, which may temporarily delay the date on which couples can begin marrying. We will keep you advised...

...Because the court based its decision on rights guaranteed by the California Constitution, right-wing groups are trying to amend our state Constitution to eliminate these fundamental constitutional protections and take away the basis for the decision.

These groups, which have received significant funding from out-of-state right-wing organizations, are placing an initiative on the November 2008 ballot that will ask voters to amend the California Constitution to reverse the court's decision and deny gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry.

We can stop them, but not without you and your support. A contribution to Equality For All's campaign fund will go directly to efforts to defeat this potentially devastating attack on our community. We must preserve the right for ALL loving couples to marry in California...
You can make a donation to the campaign here.

Equality California provides us with a Q & A page that refutes some of the religious objections being voiced by those pushing for the constitutional amendment:
Does this ruling require religious groups or clergy members to marry same-sex couples?

No. The court’s decision said the government may not discriminate against same-sex couples by barring them from civil marriage – a legal institution established and regulated by the government. Religious groups and clergy members remain free to recognize or refuse to recognize marriages within their religion as each sees fit. While some faiths do not permit same-sex couples to marry within that faith, a growing number do. As a result of the court’s decisions, same-sex couples may choose to be married by a clergy person in a welcoming community of faith or by a civil servant such as a judge or authorized deputy.
Beyond that, in the Episcopal Church, no clergy person is ever required to bless any marriage. I've turned a few couples down for various reasons. So, the idea that anyone is going to be "forced" to do anything by this decision of the court is simply a red herring.

Our friend IT and her beloved are planning a Fall wedding. Let's do our part to make sure this happens. Make a donation and spread the word. Let us live into our Baptismal Covenant, in which we have committed ourselves to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being" (BCP, p. 305).


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