Quotes from Fed District Court Decision Overturning Prop 8

Quotes from Judge Vaughn Walker in Italics and editors notes in parentheses. 

Marriage general:

Marriage is nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.( Apparently, mothers and fathers are an artifact of little consequence also. See below.)

"Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples."

New Definition of Marriage Offered:

Marriage is the state recognition and approval of a couple’s choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one another and to form a household based on their own feelings about one another and to join in an economic partnership and support one another and any dependents.

Evolution of Equality in Marriage

Marriage between a man and a woman was traditionally organized based on presumptions of a division of labor along gender lines (bread earners/ home makers, heavy work/ light work, etc.)

The development of no-fault divorce laws made it simpler for spouses to end marriages and allowed spouses to define their own roles within a marriage.

California has eliminated marital obligations based on the gender of the spouse. Regardless of their sex or gender, marital partners share the same obligations to one another and to their dependants.

Eliminating gender and race restrictions in marriage has not deprived the institution of marriage of its vitality. (changes in obligations of spouses and interracial marriage assumed to be redefinitions – but in all cases still marriage between a man and a woman)

The fact that relations between men and women commonly create new life is not consequential:

California, like every other states, has never required that individuals entering a marriage be willing or able to procreate. (but only relationships between man and woman create new life)

Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners. Standardized measures of relationship satisfaction, relationship adjustment and love do not differ depending on whether a couple is same-sex or opposite-sex.

Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society.

Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment. Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents.

Mothers, Fathers and Children

Proposition 8 amends the California Constitution to codify distinct and unique roles for men and women in marriage. (refers to creating distinct mother and father roles)

The factors that affect whether a child is well-adjusted are: (1) the quality of a child’s relationship with his or her parents; (2) the quality of the relationship between a child’s parents or significant adults in the child’s life; and (3) the availability of economic and social resources.

The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.

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.

The genetic relationship between a parent and a child is not related to a child’s adjustment outcomes.

Religions responsible for discrimination against gays and lesbians

Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.

(Cites Catholic doctrine as example in the decision)

  • PX0770 Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons at 2: “Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts as ‘a serious depravity.’”;
  • jPX0301 Catholics for the Common Good, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, Excerpts from Vatican Document on Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions (Nov 22, 2009): There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be “in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”; “homosexual acts go against the natural moral law” and “[u]nder no circumstances can * * * be approved”; “[t]he homosexual inclination is * * * objectively disordered1and homosexual practices are sins gravely contrary to chastity2”; “[a]llowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children3”; and “legal recognition of homosexual unions * * * would mean * * * the approval of deviant behavior4.”;


1. "objectively disordered" means that the inclination is contrary to the natural order regarding attraction between man and woman, which as part of God's plan for creation is necessary for the continuation of humanity. It does not mean the person is disordered or has a disorder.

2. Chastity is a fundamental component of love that frees the person of attitudes of reducing another person to on object of use for the purpose of personal gratification. Utilitarian attitudes toward other people is a violation of the dignity of the person and makes love impossible. (Love and Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla)

3.In Church language "doing violence to these children" means causes a violation of the dignity of the child. The Church sometimes writes in ways that are unclear without the context of its doctrine. A child that loses his or her mother an father are in a state of privation of something that is common and good. When this happens the best possible accommodation is to have a married man and woman stand in and accept the responsibilities that the mother and father were not able to discharge. A man and a woman can only be replaced by a man and a woman. To intentionally deprive the child of the experience of being parented by a man and a woman is a second privation and a violation of the dignity of the child.

4. "deviant behavior" means deviates from the natural order for sexual relationships.

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