San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom couldn't have been more ecstatic nor clear about his position on last week's ruling by the California Supreme Court making gay marriage legal in the state.
"It was an exhilarating feeling, that's the best I can describe it," Newsom said <http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5id7hmnj_wpdR1NLhZdmtHIGRm5aQD90N5ABO0> after learning of the justices' ruling. And he was quick to announce to a cheering crowd,
"My God, this is now bigger than San Francisco."
"As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. It's inevitable."
"This door is wide open now. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. This is the future, and it's now."
See video of Newsom's exhilaration here.
In the 4-3 vote, judges have made California the second state in the nation to allow gay marriage. Within 30 days gays and lesbians in California will be able to get a state recognized marriage license. (See video on Court's ruling here. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2cu_UwbYpU&eurl=http://news.google.com/
The ruling could be seen as a political victory for Gavin Newsom after his action in February of 2004, <http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/02/22/same.sex/index.html> which resulted in 4,000 same-sex couples exchanging vows at San Francisco's City Hall, but which was soon overruled.
I'm sure he will try to ride last week's victory all the way to the state house in his run for governor <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/09/MNKQVE80K.DTL> in 2010. But will it be a wining strategy for him?
California defined marriage in 2000 with Prop. 22 when voters overwhelmingly (61%) said marriage is between a man and a woman. It was the court, not the people, that overturned that last week.
Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council criticized the Court for its decision saying, "The California Supreme Court has taken a jackhammer to the democratic process, and the right of the people to affect change in public policy. Four judges discarded the votes of 4,618,673 Californians who approved the state's 'Defense of Marriage Act.' Voters understand that children should not be deprived of a mother or a father."
Because of the efforts of organizations like California's Campaign for Children and Families <http://www.savecalifornia.com/> a marriage amendment to the state's constitution is slated to appear on the ballot in the November election. Over 1.1 million California voters signed petitions <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/24/MNIF10BFT8.DTL> placing The California Marriage Protection Act on the ballot which will give voters the chance to correct the judicial activism of their state's highest court, and to once and for all protect the definition of marriage in their state.
Do the people of California have the will to win on this issue again?
Yes, I think so. However, if I'm wrong, then I'll have to agree with Newsom on this one point only -- so will go the nation. In the meantime, what will happen to pastors and rabbis who disagree with the court's ruling? CBN's Erick Stakelbeck reported <http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/376757.aspx> , "There's been some concern that California pastors may face lawsuits if they refuse to marry gays.
But Sarah Seitz of the Washington-based liberty counsel says that won't happen--Pastors will continue to be protected as they were prior to this decision--based on the free exercise clause--due to the nature of their job and because of their sincerely held religious beliefs. So they will not be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples."
Once again, the debate on gay marriage will intensify in California, and in the presidential campaigns for the White House, as both sides on this issue battle it out as never before leading up to the November election.
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