The church on gay marriage

Brittney M. Walker | 8/4/2010, 5 p.m.

It may be good news for some and tragic, "it's-the-end-of-times" news for others. Whatever your feelings, the gay marriage debate has not stopped since the topic came up in 1977.

On Wednesday, federal district court judge, Vaughn Walker, struck down the California ban on gay marriage, ruling that the law violates the United States Constitution. He said that homosexual couples should enjoy the fulfillment of marriage. He wrote in a statement that the ban did nothing but discriminate against same-sex couples.

"Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples," he wrote. "Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

Since Prop. 8's passage in 2008, the Lesbian Bi-sexual Gay and Transgender (LBGT) community has not stopped fighting to overturn the ruling. The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, claimed that it is unconstitutional to keep homosexual couples from entering into marriage.

"Prop. 8, which denies gay and lesbian individuals the opportunity to marry civilly and enter into the same officially-sanctioned family relationship with their loved ones as heterosexual individuals, is unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution," the complaint reads.

The trial started in a San Francisco federal court, at the beginning of the year. It was a controversial, media spectacle because of the attorneys involved: Ted Olson, former member of the George W. Bush administration, and David Boies, a popular Democratic lawyer. The strange duo had a history of facing off against one another in 2000 with the Bush v. Gore case that ultimately decided the presidential election that year.

Now that the ban has been overturned, and gay marriage is legal again in California, how will the religious community react?

Across the American spectrum, there are hundreds of religious views, cultural norms, and traditional practices. Gay marriage has affected just about everyone and with the recent debates, it has some religious groups questioning or changing their positions on the topic.
According to reports from Pew Forum, several denominations are against any homosexual union. Many religions define marriage as to be exclusively between a man and woman.

Pew Forum writes in that the American Baptist Church affirmed that, "God's design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of marriage between one man and one woman" and that "homosexuality is incompatible with Biblical teaching." However, in more recent developments, the church has progressively split on their position as some congregations on the Pacific Coast accepted openly gay members.

The Catholic Church has been under the microscope lately because of the pervasive sexual abuse cases. So, homosexuality is one of those topics that falls into their hot button areas. However, the U.S. Conference of Bishops oppose same-sex marriage, claiming that the union is exclusively between one man and one woman.

According to the Pew Forum, "In 2003, the conference stated that, 'what are called homosexual unions' [cannot be given the status of marriage], because they do not express full human complementarity, and because they are inherently nonprocreative.'"