Same Gender Marriage

Yesterday we saw the Supreme Court of California rule or actually overturn a decision of a lower court that denying same gender folks to marry is non-constitutional. The teaching of the church on this issue seems to be clear, or as clear as it can be although I have not seen anything in writing by any Orthodox bishop on the issue so I am actually not sure where the church stands on the marriage of folks of the same gender. (If anyone has a link to a statement on this issue from an Orthodox Bishop in the US please let me know) Sex is a different story.

My issue with the whole thing is this. I was listening to NPR this morning reporting on the issue and the reporter said that the court ignored the will of the people. Now I am no scholar of the California Constitution but I believe the courts are not supposed to up hold the will of the people but rule on cases based on the law and the law alone. If there is nothing in the constitution banning this or that thing then it is ruled as unconstitutional regardless of how the people feel about it. If you want the issue changed, change the constitution.

Now this brings us the whole issue of the Federal Government getting involved in the issue. All I have to say is marriage is a local, state issue and not a Federal issue and the Feds should keep their hands off. I am not sure of the exact quote but I believe the Constitution of the US says that anything not in here the states get to decide. I am not quoting word for word.

Marriage of two people of the same gender is an issue that is not going to go away. If you don’t want it in your state then launch a campaign to amend the constitution of your state. Judges are not supposed to rule based on anything other than the law. Now I am not so naive that I believe this happens all the time, but there has to be some basis to how they rule. I have not read the decision but I am sure it is true to the law in California. This is our system, not great, but it is the only one we have.


  1. Do we have any comments from Our Orthodox Church on this, for the sheep need a shepard. What say our Bishops? Anyone?

  2. It would appear the our bishops are too busy excomunicating each other for having the same title and worrying about who is going to run things rather than guide the people as they should.

  3. Fr. Peter, I’m not sure that comment is fair. Our bishops are pretty clear that homosexuality is a sin. Our bishops are *also* pretty clear that the state is not merely an avenue to legislate righteousness. This seems to me to be a fairly balanced stance….

  4. the job of the supreme court is to interpret the laws not to make the laws. the laws are made by the senate and the congress be it state or local. when these laws were made no one would have thought about gays getting married so there would have been no reason to add gays to there them marriage was between a man and woman. now each state has to decide what marriage means to them and i guess so does the orthodox church.anne

  5. Apart from what you may think of the morals or the political wedge issue, we need to remember that under the US Constitution, the individual states have this constitutional power – to decide who gets to enter into the legal contract of marriage (which is different than the Church’s sacrament) and also to decide how the Gov’t of the state works.

    California is an unusual state, as far as gov’t goes. recall of elected officials, taxes, and other issues – indeed, all issues – can all be decided by voter referendum. But then the legislature and the court (but not the governor) can overturn the referendum: the legislature by a vote, the court by a legal case that has gone through the system.

    While it is annoying… This is the way gov’t works in California.

    The effect is rather like in the UK where there is no constitution, but rather a collection of laws that evolves. The marriage situation in CA has been evolving since the 60s when it was discovered that the law was so vague that some same-sex couples got married – legally – by their local county clerks.

    Historically, California has been as hands-off state in the area of Marriage and this case stands firmly within that tradition: you do not need a minister to do the wedding, nor do you need a wedding at all. Sign the document in front of two witnesses (the clerk and her assistant) and go home. The court has, essentially, returned the state to it’s normal hands-off function.

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