Just read most of it, and have to agree.
Thanks CTR, you are more patient than me!
In theory, it shouldn't matter if a church/police department/FOP/PBA/union tries to tell its members who they should vote for. Each person/member should still think for themselves and choose what they think is right. I didn't vote for all the candidates that the FOP publicly stated that it supported. Some I did, and some I didn't.
Unfortunately, many people have a rather mindless approach to politics, and will blindly support whatever viewpoint they are told to support.
I don't really have a problem with a church/police department/FOP/PBA/union publicly stating it's opinion on a political issue in general. I mean it can be taken to a point that is over the line, but it isn't always over the line. Everyone has a right to have an opinion, even the morons of our society. But if someone doesn't like one group's public expression of it's viewpoint, then they can present their counterpoint. Kind of like we are doing in here right now. Does it make a difference if its an organization or an individual?
A church can only 'excommunicate' a congregational member who doesn't follow its creed or doctrine, but a government body, quasi-government body, or even to a certain extent, a labor union, when expressing a political bias, has the potential to severely impact the lives of those in its membership, or in case of a 'union' of let's say, police or teachers, the entirety of the body of people that its members impact. The difference is, that a church is a private entity, not publicly owned, supported, endowed, or entrusted.
I'll again point to Diantha Harris, the teacher in Fayetteville, NC who criticized a young child's favorable opinion of John McCain. The teacher is to function as a mentor to her students, not a political agent of indoctrination. Who is the right and wrong choice (in the teacher's view) for public office is not a civics lesson, teaching the powers of the office under our system of government is. Although she is certainly individually entitled to a personal belief, she should not under any circumstances seek to politically bias her classroom in a public school setting, where children are compelled to attend under law, or cannot escape through financial means. Diantha Harris has the means to substantively affect the livelihood of the students she teaches through grading, socialization, attitude, and discipline. No, the child of age 5 doesn't vote, but she will. When she is being socialized and subjected to a political bias throughout her young life, by teachers who are members of a union. That union consistently expresses its political biases and agendas to its members, and holds a bearing on those members through their livelihood. Such will certainly also effect those its members serve. If the police were to stand 101 feet from the polls in full uniform and gear carrying political signs, imagine the outcry! Rightfully so.
Again, we've gone off topic. Originally, we were talking about a government's power to nullify the will of a majority of its electorate. The gay marriage issue is not a matter of religion, nor churches, (although that's certainly what gay activists want to make it, because it is easier to generalize and criticize a specific entity, than it is to wage a political war against a majority). It is a matter of societal norms. I believe that you'll find a substantial number of votes for proposition 8 were ethnic minority votes, (Hispanic and African-American), this is why activists like Rosie O'Donnell went off with racial slurs recently over the Prop 8 vote. Ironically, the gay activists chose to most viciously attack a white-majorty church, (the LDS), for speaking out in support of Prop 8. Why? Why not also protest and demonstrate against the Hispanic Catholic congregations or the African-American Baptists as well? Could it be that they fear being painted as racist more than they support the right to bear the legal title 'married'? How deep is their conviction?
The majority opinion in the election regarding Proposition 8 was that the electorate (the voting citizens in the State of California) do not consider gay life-partnerships being legally recognized as "marriages" by the State government to be acceptable to them.
What does Proposition 8 really do?
Proposition 8 does not remove the benefits or identity of civil unions or life-partnerships, in taxation, succession, contractual obligations, or insurance coverages. It certainly does not ban the ceremonial practices contrived to celebrate civil unions. It simply removes the application of the word "marriage" from being applied by the State when referring to same-sex partnerships. It limits State recognition of the use of the legal term 'marriage' as pertaining to same sex partnerships. That's all.
If our churches are silenced, then this democracy is done, kaput, no longer in existance - because every other organization could also be silenced.
That is what McCain tried to do with his Campaign Finance "Reform", and that's one reason he lost.
PS - Speaking of Campaign Finance "Reform", I think it's poetic justice that McCain's campaign suffered fataly at the hands of his own legslation, while Obama refused public campaign financing, which placed him mostly outside the scope of "Reform", and under a different set of rules that made him $millions. If any cloud has a silver lining, it's that one :)
And so it begins.....
Calif. Supreme Court to take up gay marriage ban.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - California's highest court agreed Wednesday to hear several legal challenges to the state's new ban on same-sex marriage but refused to allow gay couples to resume marrying before it rules.
The California Supreme Court accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify Proposition 8, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that overruled the court's decision in May that legalized gay marriage.
All three cases claim the measure abridges the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change.
As is its custom when it takes up cases, the court elaborated little. However, the justices did say they want to address what effect, if any, a ruling upholding the amendment would have on the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that were sanctioned in California before Election Day.
Gay rights groups and local governments petitioning to overturn the ban were joined by the measure's sponsors and Attorney General Jerry Brown in urging the Supreme Court to consider whether Proposition 8 passes legal muster.
The initiative's opponents had also asked the court to grant a stay of the measure, which would have allowed gay marriages to begin again while the justices considered the cases. The court denied that request.
The justices directed Brown and lawyers for the Yes on 8 campaign to submit arguments by Dec. 19 on why the ballot initiative should not be nullified. It said lawyers for the plaintiffs, who include same-sex couples who did not wed before the election, must respond before Jan. 5.
Oral arguments could be scheduled as early as March, according to court spokeswoman Lynn Holton.
"This is welcome news. The matter of Proposition 8 should be resolved thoughtfully and without delay," Brown said in a statement.
Both opponents and supporters of Proposition 8 expressed confidence Wednesday that their arguments would prevail. But they also agreed that the cases present the court's seven justices - six of whom voted to review the challenges - with complex questions that have few precedents in state case law.
Although more than two dozen states have similar amendments, some of which have survived similar lawsuits, none were approved by voters in a place where gay marriage already was legal.
Neither were any approved in a state where the high court had put sexual orientation in the same protected legal class as race and religion, which the California Supreme Court did when it rendered its 4-3 decision that made same-sex marriage legal in May.
Opponents of the ban argue that voters improperly abrogated the judiciary's authority by stripping same-sex couples of the right to wed after the high court earlier ruled it was discriminatory to prohibit gay men and lesbians from marrying.
"If given effect, Proposition 8 would work a dramatic, substantive change to our Constitution's 'underlying principles' of individual equality on a scale and scope never previously condoned by this court," lawyers for the same-sex couples stated in their petition.
The measure represents such a sweeping change that it constitutes a constitutional revision as opposed to an amendment, the documents say. The distinction would have required the ban's backers to obtain approval from two-thirds of both houses of the California Legislature before submitting it to voters.
Over the past century, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging legislative acts or ballot initiatives as improper revisions. The court eventually invalidated three of the measures, according to the gay rights group Lambda Legal.
Andrew Pugno, legal counsel for the Yes on 8 campaign, said he doubts the court will buy the revision argument in the case of the gay marriage ban because the plaintiffs would have to prove the measure alters the state's basic governmental framework.
Joel Franklin, a constitutional law professor at Monterey College of Law, said that even though the court rejected similar procedural arguments when it upheld amendments reinstating the death penalty and limiting property taxes, those cases do not represent as much of a fundamental change as Proposition 8.
"Those amendments applied universally to all Californians," Franklin said. "This is a situation where you are removing rights from a particular group of citizens, a class of individuals the court has said is entitled to constitutional protection. That is a structural change."
The trio of cases the court accepted were filed by six same-sex couples who have not yet wed, a Los Angeles lesbian couple who were among the first to tie the knot on June 16 and 11 cities and counties, led by the city of San Francisco.
So, now a State court has to rule on the merits; does it have the power to overturn a vote of the people and an amendment of the very document that grants said State court the authority to exist?
Anyone else see the interesting paradox?