Election ’08: The Bad

The Bad News about the 2008 State Marriage Amendments:

The marriage amendments that were passed in the 2008 elections only give protection to the word “marriage.” Unfortunately, the language in those amendments don’t give real protection to the institution of the family.

Here’s the text of the three state marriage amendments passed in 2008:

California:“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Arizona: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”

Florida: “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

California and Arizona both passed marriage amendments that essentially protect only the eight letters of “marriage”. They do not protect against versions of marriage (i.e., so-called “domestic partnerships” and “civil unions”) that undermine the institution and significance of marriage. Marriage amendments that only protect the “m”-word do nothing to prevent the creation (whether by activist judges, state legislatures, or local bureaucrats) of new “family” forms that legally recognize and reward immorality. California already offers homosexual domestic partnerships and recognizes out-of-state homosexual civil unions.

Florida’s new marriage amendment is a little stronger, but only protects against versions of marriage that are the “substantial equivalent” of one-man, one-woman marriage. Courts, or even the Florida Legislature, might one day use this legal loophole to create unions that are not legally “substantially” similar to marriage, but are nonetheless similar in intent.

We must rejoice that over eleven million citizens in three states upheld Biblical marriage, but pro-family citizens and legislators must recognize the deficiencies of these amendments and work to avoid such problems in future efforts. Future state marriage amendments should protect the “m”-word without neglecting to guard against homosexual civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc.

Is a weak amendment better than no amendment? Only time will tell, but we may already have an indication from California’s highest court. In an interview with the German publication Spiegel shortly after the CA Supreme Court mandated “gay” marriage in California, Chief Justice Ronald George confirms the eventual legal futility of amendments that solely protect the “m”-word.

SPIEGEL: If a majority of Californians vote to ban gay marriage in a referendum in November, does your decision lose its meaning? Or are they just overturning the word “marriage?”

Chief Justice Ronald George: If this amendment to the constitution passes, it would prevent gay people from being married, but it would not remove this protection that we put in our analysis. … We’re saying that if you look at a classification of gay people, you must treat it just as if you are classifying on the basis of the color of their skin or their religion. And that is probably the most important thing in the whole ruling, even though the population’s attention understandably has mostly been on the “m”-word of marriage.

If that doesn’t serve as a wake-up call, what will?

The Bad News on Life Issues:

In a disturbing repudiation of the sanctity of human life, voters in California, Colorado and South Dakota have rejected pro-life ballot questions while voters in Washington State and Michigan have approved pro-death initiatives aimed at undermining the value of both ends of the spectrum of life.

  • California voters rejected, by a vote of 52% to 48%, a law that would prohibit abortion for a minor until 48 hours after the physician notifies a parent or legal guardian of the minor’s desire for an abortion.
  • Colorado voters rejected, by a vote of 73% to 27%, a proposal that would define every human life, from the moment of conception, as a “person” in the state’s legal code.
  • South Dakota voters rejected, by a vote of 55% to 45%, a measure that would have prohibited abortions, except those performed as a result of rape or incest, or those performed to avert the death or serious and irreversible bodily damage of the mother.
  • Washington voters approved, by a vote of 59% to 41%, an initiative to allow assisted suicide for terminally-ill patients. Washington becomes the second state to enact such legislation, following Oregon.
  • Michigan voters approved, by a vote of 53% to 47%, to allow the destruction of human embryos for stem-cell harvesting, and to allow such a practice to be state funded.

Scripture is clear that God does not tolerate sin and unrighteousness forever:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20 (NKJV)

How can we expect God to withhold wrath from a nation that not only refuses to protect the innocent, but deliberately enacts legislation to eliminate its weakest citizens? Just as Isaiah pronounced judgment on the nation of Israel for its disregard for the commands of God, we can no longer assume that the United States is far from the judgment of God for its utter rejection of God’s moral laws.

Jill Stanek, an ardent pro-life activist and blogger, has offered a scathing indictment of American disregard for human life in her latest column:

Altogether, this means we are fooling ourselves if we think the United States is still a Christian nation. Its people [have] authorized the killing of both its youngest and sickest, rejected scientific fact that human life begins at conception, blocked parental intervention of abortions of young girls, and voted down the wording of an abortion ban they said only two years ago they would support.

Stanek is absolutely right. In a civilized society, the strong are held responsible by God to help the weak and the government is ordained by God to protect human life, especially human life that cannot protect itself. If any civilization does not respect the obligation to protect innocent life, it doesn’t qualify as “civilized”, much less “Christian”.

Read Family Policy Network’s policy paper on the dangers of only protecting the “m”-word.

Read the entire Spiegel interview with Chief Justice Ronald George here:,1518,561460,00.html