SB 1140 Creates New Marriage Definition
Vote Could Come At Any Time
by William B. May
SAN FRANCISCO, May 8, 2012 -- When I testified at the recent Judiciary Committee hearing, you should have heard Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) describe how much he cares about churches. He detailed how he and Equality California want to make sure churches are protected should marriage be redefined in California.
However, the “Trojan Horse” marriage bill they are pushing provides no such protections. Instead, it creates two types of marriage in California, and a new definition of marriage eliminating the phrase “between a man and a woman.” It is a scam that must be exposed – and stopped. (see background)
Call and ask your state senator to vote “no” on SB 1140 the “Trojan Horse” marriage bill. Find your senator.
The bill passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4 to 1 vote, with three Democrats and one Republican voting for it. The Republican, Senator Sam Blakeslee (R- Monterey), had decided to vote for the bill with the understanding that it would protect churches from attacks, law suits and the threat of losing their tax-exempt status. My testimony alerted him to the fact that it would not. He questioned the bill’s author about it and received nebulous assurances that the intent was to protect churches.
All the bill does is say that the state can’t tell the Catholic Church and others who is qualified to marry according to the tenets of their faith. It says clergy cannot be forced to marry someone not qualified. However, churches are already protected against this by the First Amendment. For example no one is trying to force the Catholic Church to marry divorced people. They can’t.
The real threat of the removal of tax-exempt status or law suits would stem from an unwillingness of churches and related organizations, like the Knights of Columbus, to rent facilities and provide services to same-sex couples celebrating “marriages” and anniversaries.
I testified that churches are working to help young people understand the true meaning of marriage according to their faiths. This also has a bearing on decisions they make about marriage and family in their own lives. To provide facilities and services for purposes that conflict with their mission undermines the practice of their faiths.
In a televised debate that I had about this topic during the Prop 8 campaign, Kate Kendall, head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, all but confirmed this threat to churches by coldly responding, “If churches discriminate, they should be sued.” End of discussion.
This bill provides no protections for churches, but creates the perception that it does.
Instead, it inserts a new definition of marriage that conflicts with how marriage is defined by Prop 8 in the state Constitution and in another section of the California Family Code by eliminating the words “between a man and a woman”. It also specifies two distinct types of marriage, civil and religious, when in fact they both recognize the same reality – just in different ways according the competencies if each. Marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union.
SB 1140 is nothing but an underhanded way of further eroding marriage in the law, while creating the perception, for political advantage, that redefining marriage will have no impact on churches or people of faith. It is a lie.
Remember, this is a spiritual battle. As St. Augustine said, “Pray as if everything depends upon on God; work as though everything depends on you.”
Please call your Senator today. Ask him or her to vote “no” on SB 1140.