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Opponents of Same-sex Marriage Gear up for New Fight
Mark Pattison
Source: Catholic News Service
Published: Monday, August 16, 2010
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WASHINGTON (CNS)—Opponents of the early August court decision that deemed 2008's Proposition 8 in California banning same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional were preparing to defend the ban all the way to the Supreme Court after the judge who handed down the earlier decision said same-sex marriages could resume Aug. 18.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who issued the Aug. 4 decision striking down the same-sex marriage ban, ruled Aug. 12 that same-sex marriages in California could resume unless a higher court were to issue a stay.

One group of same-sex marriage opponents,—which spearheaded the 2008 ballot campaign to overturn same-sex marriage—filed a motion the same day asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to issue the stay.

Carol Hogan, communications director for the California Catholic Conference, public policy arm of the state's bishops, said was prepared to ask Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for a stay if other appeals fail.

"You will recall back in January that Judge Walker said he was going to videotape the trial for all to see. We protested and the Ninth (Circuit) upheld the judge, and we went to Justice Kennedy and he reversed it," Hogan said.

The legal errors in Walker's Aug. 4 ruling, the brief said, are "palpable and destined for reversal."

The stay, it added, is needed "to avoid the confusion and irreparable injury that would surely flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex marriages entered in reliance on the district court's decision but in direct contravention of a lawful provision of the California constitution and the manifest will of the people of that state."

"We feel it would be harmful to the same-sex persons involved," Hogan told Catholic News Service in an Aug. 13 telephone interview from Sacramento, Calif.

"The Ninth (Circuit) will give a stay if they are convinced that there is a likelihood that the judge's decision will be overturned," she added. "Usually what courts are loath to do is to jerk people around—'now you can do it, now you can't'—a visible example of what happened in summer of '08," when same-sex marriage in California was legal until the vote on Proposition 8.

"The basis of marriage has never been love, it's been society's permission for a couple to have children," said Raymond Dennehy, a philosophy professor at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco. "Once contraception was accepted, you had a formal separation of sex from procreation and stripped away the claims that homosexuality was immoral."

Dennehy told CNS in an Aug. 13 telephone interview from San Francisco that the same-sex marriage issue is "the culmination of the contraceptive mentality."

"I think a lot of has to do with the fact that there's nowhere where people of this generation can go to be instructed in sexual morality," he said, faulting Catholic schools and priests for failing to teach and preach effectively on the issue.

"We have to have places here people get a moral and spiritual compass about sexuality," Dennehy said. In a past era, he added, "people just couldn't walk away from marriage—it was hard to get a divorce—and that's all changed now."

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