Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Important Decisions in California Largely Ignored


While the mainstream media was consumed with the presidential election, equally important election results in California regarding significant proposition issues seemed completely ignored. Late into the night I switched channels looking for results on the fate of Proposition 8 which endeavored to secure the traditional institution of marriage. Nothing. Not a word. Was it just too close to call? Or would that even matter? Or was it not reported on because it was losing and such a loss was a disappointment to the mainstream media that normally throws it support toward same-sex rights?

Evangelicals were greatly concerned about this proposition and the cultural domino effect that would ensue if it was defeated. For those not familiar with the issue, the Supreme Court of California back in May struck down a ban on same-sex unions. According to a CNN article at the time,

The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, saying sexual orientation, like race or gender, "does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights."

In a 4-3 120-page ruling issue, the justices wrote that "responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation."
"We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the majority.

This was not the last word, however. As the San Fransisco Chronicle reports today:

Californians appeared poised to overturn a state Supreme Court decision in a historical move that would write a ban on gay marriage into the state Constitution, while other bond measures proposed during a weakening economy were defeated or struggled with a narrow lead.

The outcome of the same-sex marriage ban dominated the list of ballot initiatives faced by California voters, with proponents saying religious liberty and the building blocks of society were at stake. Opponents called Proposition 8 a civil rights battle, that tested the American ideals of equality and personal freedom.

By early Wednesday, with nearly three quarters of the precincts reporting, the measure appeared to be passing with 52 percent support but was too close to call.

CBS News online this morning, which likewise declared the outcome too close yet to call, also noted that:

Similar measures have prevailed previously in 27 states, but none were in California's situation - with thousands of gay couples already married in the aftermath of a state Supreme Court ruling in May. Reporting on Proposition 8, Barbara Simon, Executive Producer of CBS News on LOGO, says polls have gone back and forth with extremely slim margins, and right now, approval of Prop. 8 is leading by three points, according to a poll from our CBS station KPIX-TV in San Francisco. The margin of error is 4. Similar ballot measures banning same-sex marriage were up for vote in Arizona and Florida. CBS News projects that Arizona voters have passed the same-sex marriage ban.

For clarification it should be noted that the proposition seeks to add to the California constitution the words "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Thus, it does not technically ban same-sex unions, as such, or even preclude all benefits that they may enjoy by such unions. What it does seek is to preserve the language and institution of marriage as it has been historically defined, namely the union between one man and one woman.

Concerned Christians should continue to keep a watch on the outcome of this vote, as a defeat would have profound implications across the nation. As Shannon Minter, attorney for one of the plaintiffs in the case that brought about original Supreme Court decision, noted: "California sets the tone, and this will have a huge effect across the nation to bringing wider acceptance for gay and lesbian couples."

Ironically, the outcome of other proposition decisions in California indicated once again the general confusion of moral truth that exists in the country today. As the San Fransisco Chronicle also reported:

Proposition 4, another divisive social issue that would require doctors to notify parents or guardians when minors seek an abortion, appeared to be headed for defeat. California voters defeated similar initiatives twice before, in 2005 and 2006.

Proposition 2, the Standards for Confining Farm Animals Act, passed. With nearly three quarters of the votes tallied, 62 percent of voters supported the measure.

The measure drew some high-profile backers, including Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi. The initiative sought to outlaw cramped cages for egg-laying chickens, but opponents said it would drive egg producers out of state if approved.

How is it that we care so much for crowded chickens but care nothing for the rights of unborn humans and the sanctity of life in our own species?

Regarding other news on election season life issues CBS reported on ballot decisions elsewhere, noting:

...that voters in South Dakota voted down Measure 11, which would have prohibited abortions except in cases where the mother's life or health is at a substantial and irreversible risk, and in cases of reported rape and incest. If it had passed, it would likely have triggered a legal challenge which could have lead to the U.S. Supreme Court and a reconsideration of the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established the right to abortion....In Colorado, CBS News projects that voters rejected Amendment 48, which would have defined the term "person" to include any human being from the moment of fertilization.

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