Disappointment Over California Marriage Ruling
"Activism Run Amok," Says Legal Expert
By Carrie Gress
WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The overturn of the marriage defense act in California is, simply put, judicial activism run amok, says legal expert Ed Whelan.
Whelan, the president of the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, spoke with ZENIT about Thursday's 4-3 California Supreme Court ruling that declared the California Defense of Marriage Act (CDMA) unconstitutional.
The ruling, Whelan said, is effort by the court to permit same-sex marriage while "redefining willy-nilly the most fundamental social institution." Some 61% of Californians voted for the CDMA in 2000 to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
The White House also attributed the ruling to judicial activism. "President Bush has always believed marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. It's unfortunate when activist judges continue to seek to redefine marriage by court order -- without regard for the will of the people," said Press Secretary Dana Perino in a statement.
"Today's decision," the statement continued, "by the California Supreme Court illustrates that a federal constitutional amendment is the best way for the people to decide what marriage means. President Bush remains firmly committed to protecting the sanctity of marriage."
Will of the people
Bill May, chairman of the San Francisco-based Catholics for the Common Good, said of the ruling: "[T]he California Supreme Court turned its back on both the will of the people and the common interest of every child in California in having a married mother and father."
"By disconnecting marriage from the public interest and overturning the will of the people, the court has undermined the very foundation of society," he added. "The only way Californians can reverse this outrageous decision and restore common sense is by passing the ProtectMarriage.com initiative on the November ballot. That would put the definition of marriage in the state constitution -- putting it out of reach of judges and politicians."
If the courts were responsible, Whelan explained, they would put a stay on the ruling until November when Californians have the opportunity to vote for the California Marriage Protection Act, which would define marriage to the state's constitution as the as a union between a man and woman.
Taking advantage of the new ruling, Ellen DeGeneres announced Thursday during a taping of her TV talk show that she and Portia de Rossi plan to marry, Foxnews reported. Without a stay by the court, the two could be married in about a month.