California has long been called the land of fruit and nuts. Now a decision by a federal judge stands in the way of anyone who might wish to challenge that description.
In Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Judge Vaughn R. Walker held that the 6.8 million Californians who voted in favor of Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, lacked a “rational basis” for their decision. Consequently, Judge Walker struck down Proposition 8 as violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Although thousands of years of human history suggest that children are best reared in a home with a mother and father serving as role models, Judge Walker averred that modern times teach that “gender” roles are anachronistic. “Children do not need to be raised by a male parent and a female parent to be well-adjusted, and having both a male and a female parent does not increase the likelihood that a child will be well-adjusted.” In fact, Judge Walker concluded that having parents of different sexes is “immaterial” and “irrelevant.”
Those 6.8 million irrational Californians were simply acting out of “fear” and an “animus towards gays and lesbians.” The belief that heterosexual unions should be preferred in society is based on unfounded “stereotypes.” Proponents of traditional marriage live in denial of modernity.
Who is to blame for fanning the flames of fear and hatred? Christ’s Church, of course. “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” To support this judicial finding, Judge Walker cited selected “social science” studies linking orthodox Christian beliefs to “gay bashing.” Perhaps sensing a Christian conspiracy, Judge Walker noted that “84 percent of people who attend church weekly voted in favor of Proposition 8.”
The nerve of them.
The judge’s description of the people as “irrational” is harsh. The dictionary defines rational as “having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense.” Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court, when reviewing legislation for rationality, presumes a reasonable basis absent proof of arbitrariness. This is a very deferential standard when properly applied.
Clearly, a law taking sex into account when defining marriage does not lack a rational basis and deprives no one of federal constitutional protections. Californians could rationally deduce that a family structure with married opposite-sex parents is the best social environment in which to bear children. Californians could further conclude that the rearing of children by same-sex couples—who are prohibited by nature from being the biological parents of any child—cannot furnish children with a parental authority figure of each sex. While not everyone agrees with such policies, they are at a minimum rational. And that is all that is required to pass constitutional muster.
The Perry decision is but the latest example of the left using the judiciary to gain ground in a culture war that could not otherwise be won through the political process. Because a majority of the people—even in California—believe that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman, progressives resort to the courts to intervene. Liberal judges then twist constitutional language such as “due process” to write the preferences of the minority into law. No matter how deferential the standard of review is, ingenious jurists always reach the desired result.
If a federal judge can void thousands of years of human history and separate sex from marriage when exercising rational-basis review, one must wonder what limitations, if any, apply to modern judicial authority.
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