Prop 8 Judge: “Religious beliefs … harm gays” (and other false facts on display)

by Thomas Peters on August 6th, 2010

I have many follow-up thoughts about the Prop 8 trial, but I am also pressed for time so I’m going to condense them….

First, much has been made in the mainstream press about Judge Walker’s “findings of fact” – almost all of which rest solely on his assertion that these facts are, in his opinion, simply true. Here’s Fact #77 (brought to my attention by the NOM blog):

“Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”

Notice that Judge Walker adds no caveats to his claim – he simply states it as a matter of fact (in his view) that religious beliefs as religious beliefs, whenever they express the claim that an active homosexual relationship is anything but fully equally to a heterosexual marriage … this religious belief, says Judge Walker, harms homosexual people. This is the sort of language that implies a homosexual couple could conceivably sue someone on the basis of their religious beliefs for damages if those religious beliefs hold that homosexual acts are sinful or in any way inferior to heterosexual acts.

The homosexual movement is not about equality, it is about reshaping the cultural landscape in a way that is totally at-odds with conventual morality and the truth claims of Christianity and traditional morality.

I hope it is also evident that Judge Walker’s other, numerous findings of fact need to be taken with a whole shaker full of salt.

I’ve been covering this issue over at the APP blog with some frequency:

More on this as I find the best of commentary, analysis and argument on it.

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Pookie Bear
August 9, 2010

in reply to Pat and Louis: why should we pit the state against the Church? It seems to make most sense if we have the Church portion of the marriage AND the state portion of the marriage. In addition to the spiritual significance of marriage, there is also a valid societal aspect to it, and this means marriage is also something officiated by the state. Even the Vatican City state which is our spiritual capital – is also a real political state with its own money and stamps. Rather than an -OR-, the answer could be an -AND-. That being said, we most certainly should work to influence our state so that it acts in line with Christian values. And what is required? Among other things: prayer, support of Catholic schools, and raising our own children in the faith. And for goodness sake, vote for leaders who support the most Catholic values.

August 8, 2010

JD, I think that’s a great idea. Catholics should marry in a church ceremony and ignore state marriage and licensing laws. It’s the sacrament that matters, not what the State says is a marriage.

Louis E.
August 7, 2010

JD…I recommend a boycott of civil marriage anywhere it is open to same-sex couples…whether by non-religious SSM opponents like me finding another state or country to have the ceremony,or religious people declining to register their marriage with the civil authorities.A status of being legally equal to something worthless by nature is not worth having.

John M
August 7, 2010

Watch closely – you won’t see the writers at America Magazine or any other Jesuit law school critique IN ANY WAY the ruling.

Qui tacet consentire.

Linda C.
August 7, 2010

You meant “conventional”, not “conventual”, didn’t you? Apologies for letting my Inner English Teacher out to play….

August 6, 2010

I have posted this thought on many walls and in many comment boxes. Here I go again. I am no student of the law, civil or canonical, but I am an English major who gets quite caught up in etymology and word meaning. This is my take that, I think, gives little wiggle room to those who want to make this an issue of rights (states or civil) versus rites.

Marriage is, by definition, the “state of being husband and wife” and the “legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife”. Notice that I don’t preface with adjective traditional. Traditions differ according to respective cultures such that culturally and legally, marriages vary by number of spouses per person allowed and even the age at which they may be betrothed; nevertheless, as far as I know, marriage has ever been restricted to male and female persons.

Furthermore, a definition is, by nature a precise meaning or delineation of a word, phrase, or term (from the Latin Vulgate “unattested” and a variant of the Latin “to set bounds to”). Definitions do that: They define or limit a concept. For this reason, the phrases “homosexual marriage”, “same-sex marriage”, “gay or lesbian marriage” are oxymora, just as the phrase “heterosexual marriage” is redundant.

It is clear in Judge Walker’s ruling that he deconstructs the definition of marriage. He uses his office to protest the limits of the word marriage and loosens it so that it is no longer definite or definitive. Consequently, should his ruling stand allowing the deconstruction of the nature of marriage to include homosexual unions then it sets precedence to recognize any unions, even the recently reported “nuptials” between a woman and a dolphin.

Matt C. Abbott
August 6, 2010

Good post, Thomas!

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the pro-homosexual “marriage” folks who have been e-mailing me in response to my New York Times letter think the judge’s “findings of fact” are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And, of course, I’m a hateful bigot for supporting divine and natural law.

August 6, 2010

I wonder….Is it possible to get Married in the church but not fill out the paperwork to be “married” in the eyes of the State? I guess it could be done.

August 6, 2010

I really hope the Church Militant is ready. There aren’t many steps left for the Faith to be considered criminal. Especially if Judge Walker has any say in the matter, which he indeed appears to have.

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Kevin Clarke
August 6, 2010

I wonder what he thinks about these non-religious thoughts. Also harmful to gays and lesbians?

Excellent article from Dr. Patrick Lee:

August 6, 2010

I don’t see how that can harm them? It might hurt their feelings that they won’t receive blanket acceptance in the “I’m ok your ok” manner but that’s about it.

Old Trad
August 6, 2010

There is an interesting analysis on Politics Daily:
If he is correct, we need to hire some competent attorneys to argue the position if the Supreme Court takes the case on; it is probably a foregone conclusion that the Ninth Appellate Court will uphold Walker’s ruling.