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California Supreme Court Hears Gay Marriage Arguments

The California Supreme Court heard over three hours of oral arguments for and against same-sex marriage, yesterday.

In 2004, the Supreme Court of California invalidated over 4,000 same-sex marriages authorized by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Citing Proposition 22, a 2000 state initiative which legally defined marriage as between a man and a woman, the Court said the same-sex marriages violated state law. Twelve couples, along with the City of San Francisco sued the state of California, arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

For some of the arguments presented during oral arguments


Defending the current definition of marriage, the State of California argued that is up to the legislature to successfully change the definition of marriage. (Note that two bills removing the opposite-sex requirement have been vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.) In addition, the state argued that the Domestic Partnership Act makes sure that same-sex partners receive the same state benefits granted under marriage, therefore preventing discrimination. Conservative groups, also argued that marriage is meant for pro-creation.

The same-sex couples, along with the city likened the prohibition on same-sex marriage to laws banning interracial marriage. And they said that the domestic partnership is akin to the legacy of "separate but equal."

Do you agree with that argument?

Click here for a comprehensive chronicle of the long battle.


Join The Conversation
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Hypnotic, I could not agree more. I was actually thinking to myself last night while trying to fall asleep that I was going to come on here and mention something to the effect of what you said today! No one in this thread is arguing that religions should allow gay marriage or that homosexuals should be allowed to be married in a church. The end of result of this should be a decision on whether gay marriage is legal, not whether it's morally right. I'm upset with myself for getting so caught up in the religious side of the debate; there's a place for that, but this isn't it!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Love was given to us by creator/creation. Marriage was thrust upon us by the human powers that be for purposes of control. I noticed some of you are choosing to argue points of religious doctrine and that's fine but the issue at hand before the justices is simply this; is the law banning same sex marriage in California legal as it relates to the constitution of the state and that's it. They're not weighing any religious points of view and if they do than that in it self is unconstitutional. This issue sits on a fence and it will literally decided by courage. The courage to do what is morally and legally right in the face of in-humane tradition.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Also, you have continuously stated that you do not judge others, but are you not judging whether others are "true Christians" or not?
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Leviticus was originally a Jewish text, however, Christian religions still use the Old Testament, so it is not separate from Christianity. And I NEVER stated that the Catholic Church constantly changes positions, just that they have changed positions in the past and will in the future. Look at the Second Vatican Council. The Church changes positions on several things there. Also, look at the very reason for the Protestant Reformation. It was the OFFICIAL position of the Church that alms giving was necessary for salvation, which is obviously not the case now. Also, I NEVER stated that not all Christians believe in the Bible. I stated that not all Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. You can believe in Christ and believe in the Bible, but not believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. Unaffiliated and agnostic are two completely different things. An agnostic believes that there may be a God and Christ may be his son, but they just don't know. An unaffiliated Christian believes in God and Christ, but doesn't follow the practices and traditions of one specific Christian sect. I didn't mean to imply that you didn't believe in people standing up for what they believe in; I'm sorry if it came across that way. I just wanted to state that you don't have to worry about my salvation, as you stated that I will be "judged by my silence."
Arijon4 Arijon4 9 years
Ok so here’s my problem with what you have said. Again, First of all the Leviticus scripture you quoted was a JEWISH law. When Christ came, He came to change all of that, to save them from that. So that was a really bad example. Again Second, the Catholic church does not constantly change positions, the PEOPLE do and quite frankly there is dissent in every religion not just Christianity. However, the actions of a few does not mean the entire church changed positions. You really seem to want to hang on the fact that “not all Christians believe in the bible”. Let’s look at this then as two relatively intelligent human beings… What is Christianity? CHRISTianity… Is it not the belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? Can you say you are a Christian if you do not believe in Christ? ANSWER: NO If you do not believe Christ is the Son of God who came to earth to die for our sins and taught us how to become like Him and worship The Father, can you say you are a Christian? ANSWER: NO Therefore, I say to you my friend, that if you do not believe in Christ and the teachings of Christ AKA THE BIBLE, then you CANNOT say you are a CHRISTian. And quite frankly I have no problem with that. You can be agnostic, or as many people call it these days “Unaffiliated” but you cannot say that you are a Christian. It is very simple. You cannot pick and choose. You cannot say “I believe in water but not in hydrogen”. Does Hydrogen not make up water? And you cannot say “I believe in the Wind but not in Oxygen.” Does Oxygen not make up the wind? So my friend, I think you will find that the one with the flawed logic here is in fact you and not I. I do not have a problem with anyone standing up for their beliefs, I admire those who do. I admire the fact that the Gay/Lesbian community at least has the passion and drive most “Water-Cooler Christians” Don’t. I have no problem with them Lobbying and standing up for their beliefs and I hope they understand I am only doing the same. But I do have a problem with people saying that they are Christian when in fact they don’t know what it means to be a Christian, why they are Christians, or the beliefs and faith of Christianity. This causes people to be confused and mislead. To think that what it means to be Christian is something YOU can decide. The Lord has decided and set clear and concise rules about what it is to be Christian. If you do not follow those rules, if you do not Live by the Word, then you cannot say you are Christian.
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
Arijon, not a problem. I just didn't want a debate to turn into a sluggfest which sometimes they end up being. I didn't say I was pro-gay, I said I was for gay marriage. Because it's not my life and not my business what other people do. I don't think being gay is right in the eyes of God, I agree with you there. So I'm not gay (not the only reason, but I guess it's one). But I feel that just because I think that way doesn't give me the right to tell others how they should live their life. Smoking is bad for your body and will eventually kill you, but I'm not going to ban someone from doing it. I know that may not be a great analogy for it, but the only thing I could really think of at the moment.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Arijon, as far as the popularity thing goes, you are the one who is expressly arguing that the majority of the U.S. is against gay marriage, therefore the majority should not bend to the minority. I am not arguing that people should do what is popular. You were using the "majority" argument as one of the things to support your belief that gay marriage should remain illegal. The things you listed that all Christians share have nothing to do with condemning homosexuality, since all Christians do not believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. The Catholic Church has flipped on other things, including the idea that the Catholic Church is the one and only true Christian church. Leviticus 20:10 States: "If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death." Being a true Christian means not judging people, as you stated, but you are judging people by saying that they are "watering down" their faith to fit their beliefs. How do you know why someone believes what they believe? Also, you still seem to be assuming that Christianity must refer to an organized religion, but you can be Christian and not consider yourself a member of a specific organized religion. And, for your information, I think God will judge me very well, considering the fact that I always stand up for what I believe is right, give a large portion of my income to charity, and regularly volunteer for several organizations. So, when God asks me what I have done to help others, not only will I be able to tell him about all I've done to speak up for others, but I will also be able to tell him that I took action to help others. Additionally, I am offended that you would equate being gay to having an abortion. I am staunchly pro-life and have spent a lot of time "speaking up" on this subject.
Arijon4 Arijon4 9 years
Ok... so we want to get into theology. Unfortunately for you (Yay for me) I am not one of those "cafeteria Catholics" I am actually very much an active member in my faith so I do have a response for you. First- What has the Catholic church changed it's stance on? Let's see maybe Mary Magdalene? Okay... I'll give you that... But again, not one Christian or Catholic claims to be perfect. And it is easy to see where one may have been led to believe that the "whore" of the bible was M.M. because of how it's worded. Right before her name is mentioned it speaks of the harlot and the woman possessed by 7 demons. Anyway, besides that there has pretty much been more consistency than anything else. The Catechism of the Catholic Church lays down all the basis of our faith in clear and concise black and white print. Now... do SOME Catholics stray from that? Well of course! People always stray. But you cannot say that the entire RELIGION is invalid for the actions of a mere few. Why so particularly does everyone just LOVE to pick on Catholics? Cause it was the first and only true Christian Faith and it has been around the longest and to this day is the Largest Christian Denomination. Second- The argument you pose about "what is popular is not always right" is very valid, but can certainly be used against you. Homosexuality has become "cool" and glamorized... So by those same terms, who's to say several years down the road, Homosexuality will be found to be inappropriate and "not right" although it sure is popular these days. Third- the bible has LOTS of verses condemning Homosexuality. Some directly (Sodom and Gomorrah)and some indirectly (Creation was Adam and Eve- Not Adam and Steve). However, the bible HAS NOT ONE MENTION OF A CHRISTIAN PRACTICE BEING THE MURDER OF ADULTERERS. This may have been a Jewish/Hebrew Law... so was circumcision and Kosher foods... When Christ came to the earth he came to FREE THEM from such pains and misguidance... He actually STOOD INFRONT OF THE WOMAN ACCUSED OF ADULTERY AND said "which ever of you is without sin... cast the first stone". I do not recall "KILL SINNERS" being a commandment, on the contrary it is "THOU SHALT NOT KILL" Third- I do think of Christianity as ALL CHRISTIANS. Whether you are Catholic, Baptist, Methodist WHATEVER... If you are CHRISTIAN you have to believe in the same Key elements. 1-Believe in God. 2- Believe in Jesus Christ. 3-Immaculate conception. 4-The death and resurrection. 5-The ascension into heaven. 6-The Holy Spirit. and 7-The Holy Trinity (Father/Son/Holy Spirit). Now, if you believe Jesus is the one true Son of God, and you worship Jesus... Who did Jesus worship? God. Who's rules did he follow (Yes Literally)... God. And what does God ask to do? To be Christ-Like. Think about it. Lastly, we have watered down our faith so much to make it fit into our lives. Well guess what, it wasn't meant to fit in our lives, we were meant to shape our lives to fit our faith. You can't go around picking and choosing every tradition from every denomination just to suit your own personal agenda, just to make yourself sleep better, just to lull yourself into some false sense of security and justify your actions. I am truly and deeply saddened when I see people who are so willing to drop their traditions and beliefs because it is "easy". Nothing about being a TRUE Christian is easy... And that's the best part. If it were easy it wouldn't be sacred it wouldn't be so moving and valuable. Why must we as a society dilute everything we find to be even a tad bit "Christian" and turn it into some publicly acceptable and politically correct action just because "some one out there MAY be offended"? What about the Christians, are we not offending ourselves with our silence? Is the man who stands and watches the child being murdered not as guilty as the one murdering the child? When we get to heaven we will be judged based on our works. And if you truly are a Christian, when you get to heaven and God asks how YOU have helped to bring others to the truth... do you not think you will be judged by your silence? That's just not a chance I'm willing to take.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Arijon, part of my problem is that your logic is flawed. As an observant Catholic, I'm sure you know that the Church has changed its stance on issues before and will probably continue to do so in the future. Also, what is popular is not always right. (I know, I sound like a poster in a middle school classroom.) In the U.S., it was once popular to have slaves. The vast majority of people either had slaves or thought it was OK for others to have slaves. Just because the majority of people think something is right doesn't mean it's OK. And I think you can be Christian and OK with gay marriage. I think maybe you are thinking of Christianity too specifically by taking what the Catholic church says and applying it to all Christians. The Bible may have some verses condemning homosexuality, but not all Christians believe that the Bible is the literal word of God. In addition, the Bible (particularly the Old Testament) also has many verses which no reasonable person in modern society would agree with, like the idea that adulterers should be murdered.
Arijon4 Arijon4 9 years
Wow... well I certainly wasn't expecting such a kind response and so I really thank you for that! =o) Anyway, no I do not believe I am being judgemental. I am standing up for my rights and my beliefs... just as they do theirs. Quite to the contrary, I understand that we all are sinners, some more than others, but all the same. I tell them that God is unhappy with their actions but He loves them the same... and sent His to die for them as well... And although they cannot reach Heaven in this state of sin I will pray that God has mercy on them and they will come to see the truth one day, just like I pray for ALL sinners INCLUDING MYSELF. (I am NO exception to the "sinner" rule) And to address the issue of the conflict between being christian and being "pro-gay"... well unfortunately it is a contradiction. Our faith tells us this is against God's word, and God'd word calls us to be Apostles and Prophets, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Among which is the fact that Homosexuality is morally wrong. I think the problem is the way most Christians go about it. We shouldn't be "Gay bashing" or blowing up abortion clinics... We should go about it with love like Christ... He never cast a stone at any sinner but he always made known where his faith and allegiance was. So to summize, No... I do not believe I am judgemental of Homosexuals and Yes... Being Pro-Gay and Christian is a definite contradiction... =o)
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
Arijon, I think you are definitely entitled to your opinion and I don't want you to see this as an attack merely just a question, but if you don't want to judge others then isn't lobbying against something you think is wrong for others for example gay marriage being judgemental? Personally I'm a christian and am for gay marriage (yes I know it seems contradictory) because I think that it doesn't get to be my decision what other people do. I think everyone should get the right to marry whoever they want and God can judge them as he sees fit. It's not my place.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
In my code of ethics, "right" and "wrong" actions are defined by whether they cause harm to others or the world. Homosexuality harms no one. Therefore it is not wrong and should not be legislated against in any way. That's how I differentiate it from other social behaviors such as serial killing and drug abuse, both of which are actively harmful. Homosexuality has also been around since ancient times, and was once considered perfectly normal and not at all extremely far from the human social condition--Greece, Rome, etc.
Fistagon Fistagon 9 years
JessNess - I can agree with you that it is not a choice to be gay, but can it by default make it natural? Gloomy_Bear - There are several social behaviors that people live with that cannot accurately be described as 'choices'. For example, serial killers, drug addicts, gambling addicts, etc. Many people with conditions as such are legally labeled as 'insane' or 'psychologically unstable'. They do things that they cannot control. Things that are not necessarily natural to human behavior. They are, to an extent, natural in the sense that humans are infinitely complex beings with fragile psyches. We can be referenced as the only animals on earth that inflict pain for pleasure, greed, or hatred. Parasites inflict pain for sustenance, we do it for far more questionable reasons. We do things everyday that we cannot control, but does that justify anything? I would love to see mental studies over why people are gay, how they became gay, as well as links to the scientific references you made. Homosexuality is not precisely right or wrong, it can be simply described as an extremely far from simple human social condition.
Arijon4 Arijon4 9 years
well... I know I am going to be the "minority" on this string but I really felt compelled to speak up. I represent that overwhelming number of the masses not in favor of gay marriages, lifestyle, agenda... etc. I am a practicing Catholic, a conservative democrat, a mother and a wife. I think though that a lot of times we get so stuck on trying to force our views on others that we forget that we ALL HAVE RIGHTS. You have the RIGHT TO BE GAY... I have the right NOT TO LIKE IT... you have the right to lobby FOR GAY MARRIAGE... i have the right to LOBBY AGAINST IT. It is a double standard to say that "christian conservatives" don't have the right to try and stop you based on their beliefs... but you have the right to marry whether it infringes on their beliefs or not? I don't want a whole lot of drama with this, but what I'm trying to say is that it is only natural to argue both sides or otherwise... it wouldn't be an "argument" and if we stop being passionate and arguing about things, as has been the nature of this great nation... then what are we left with? A nation where NO ONE can have a belief and fight for it? I should be condemned and insulted and thought of as an anal retentive jerk or a religious fanatic psycho cause I don't agree with you? In my very personal humble opinion, the only judge and jury that matters in the end is God. I pray for misguided souls and I pray they find the right path in life. I don't judge and I don't like being judged, because I don't think any of us are qualified for the job. This is why with great foresight our forefathers chose a 2/3 majority ruling. Obviously, we will never ALL agree about EVERYTHING... therefore, the majority should not have to back down to the minority. There may be a day when the majority tends to agree with the issue of homosexuality, and although I do not agree, I can accept it because that is the very foundation of our nation. If there ever comes a day when I am silenced for my opposing view... or you for yours... then that is truly the day Democracy has died and the system has failed... And I hope and pray I never live to see that day... Until then, I stand very firmly on the famous quote by Des Cartes "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." And I mean that for BOTH sides of the argument.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I agree, gloomy. Also, although this is not scientific, if homosexuality was a choice, why would anyone choose it, given all of the difficulties that can come with being openly gay? I have no problems with homosexuality, but I know (unfortunately) a lot of people still do, so I can't imagine anyone choosing to fight an uphill battle.
gloomy_bear gloomy_bear 9 years
Fistagon, homosexuality is perfectly natural. It's not a choice, contrary to popular belief, and there are many other species in the animal kingdom that have same-gender sexual relations. The brains of homosexuals are slightly different than those of heterosexuals. A possible cause of this is an overexposure to certain hormones in the womb. Also, gay men are naturally attracted to gay men, lesbians to lesbians, straight women to men, etc. If I could find links to the studies I'm referncing, I'd post them. However, it's 7:30 in the morning and I've had no coffee. I apologize if I sound condescending; I'm not trying to.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Geebers, considering that marriage licenses are granted by states and the granting of marriage licenses is not an enumerated power in the constitution, how is this (legally) a federal issue?
geebers geebers 9 years
"All of that being said, I think this is a state issue and should be decided by each state, plain and simple." Disagree. This is a civil rights issue and needs to be a federal issue. Every state should be held accountable and allow marriage. If you want to change the definition, by all means do so. I am not religious and dont see the point of marriage except for the legal benefits described above. If I can have that right for being straight -so should gays.
mandy_frost mandy_frost 9 years
In a lot of areas, gay couples can file taxes jointly and whatnot, but if one gets harmed in, say a car wreck, their partner can't always make life and death decisions -- stupid if you ask me. I can't understand opposition to gay marriage, actually. Maybe I'm small minded. I don't care if you call me that. I think I'm just maybe selfish. Gay people getting married doesn't mean I can't get married, so what do I care? Also, I heard a speech once about gay being a choice. The person giving it was gay and said it wasn't but made a valid point that it is ridiculous for folks to judge even if it is a choice. Who cares if it is a choice or not? Seriously. I don't care even if you do choose to be gay. I mean, gay marriages will make a lot of people happier and have no impact on the rest of us. If you don't like gay marriages, don't get one!
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
"All of that being said, I think this is a state issue and should be decided by each state, plain and simple." Agreed.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Considering my typically conservative viewpoints, I'm surprisingly for gay marriage. Although, cine does raise a good point about the very definition of marriage. Maybe the idea that baila talked about, with marriage being only religious and everyone, gay or straight, participating in civil unions, would be best. Although, I do think it's interesting that the official stance of both parties is pro civil union, anti gay marriage. Just something to think about. Also, I hate when people act like it's only staunch Republicans or the "religious right" who are anti gay marriage. In Ohio in 2004, a bill passed overwhelmingly disallowing gay marriage and making it difficult to allow for them in the future. I don't have the numbers in front of me now, but I know for a fact that it passed in double digits and Bush only won only by a few percentage points. So, it seems that quite a few Kerry supporters voted against gay marriage as well. It's something interesting to think about. All of that being said, I think this is a state issue and should be decided by each state, plain and simple.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
God please if |pamela Anderson can get married, file for divorce and then try an annulment clearly marriage is not sacred anymore. Let them get married how will two men being married or two women being married affect anyone else. I'm always amazed at how much time is wasted in America land where most stuff flies, when there are bigger thigns to worry about like healthcare.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
It's so ridiculous having an issue with gay marriage anyways. If we are going to say that it is 'man and woman' as what is the decree of marriage, then there should be strict laws with that! I mean I can marry a man that I don't love, just for the sake of having kids, or just for profit and insurance, or have it arranged and never have even met the man! And that's OK? But if two same sex couples are in love and committed that isn't good enough? It perhaps could be made a case for argument of the sanctity of marriage if divorce rates weren't passing the ratio of those staying together, but marriage has less to do with religion today than it ever is the christian view that is trying to hold onto the few strings it has left. Like the fools that still don't believe in evolution and are trying to keep it out of schools...give it however-many-years and they'll be thought of as ludicrous by all, just like the idea that there are multiple gods that control every aspect of life. God will eventually be phased out as well. Here's to the future! Can't come fast enough:)
Cadet Cadet 9 years
I was wondering when/if this issue would be raised on CitizenSugar. I'd seen a lot of info about it on the news and have to agree with everyone's points. But then again, I'm in Alameda County... overwhelmingly pro-gay marriage.
JessNess JessNess 9 years
"Benefits" are not all that marriage brings to a couple - what about the right not to testify against a spouse? poissondujor- you are completely right. What happens when one person of a couple ends up in the hospital and their SO cannot see them, represent them, or fill out their paperwork because they are not a "family member or wife/husband" By not allowing them to be legally married they are denied so many basic things that we take for granted everyday
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