Religious Leaders Argue “Religious Freedom” Requires that Prop 8 Must Go.

Catholic Bishops are fond of arguing that “religious freedom” should require that they be granted exemptions from complying with laws on inclusion and equality with which they (but not most lay Catholics) disagree. However, some bishops conveniently ignore this principle when dealing with their own members who apply it to the right to dissent from Vatican doctrine on sexual ethics – or to the formulation of legislation in the first place. The Catholic  and Mormon churches made vigorous efforts in support of Proposition 8 to deny marriage equality. However, this is not a simple issue of civil rights in a tussle with religious principle.  People of faith disagree among themselves, and so some religious leaders argue that “as a matter of faith“,  Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that struck down Proposition 8 must stand.

Christian and Jewish clergy voice support for gay-marriage ruling

A dozen Christian and Jewish clergy offered support Wednesday for a U.S. District Court ruling in August that found California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The case is now before the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

At a Los Angeles news conference, the group said it planned to file an amicus brief in support of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to strike down Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that banned gay marriage.  The judge said the measure violated due process and equal protection for gays and lesbians.

Representatives from the Los Angeles Episcopal diocese, the United Church of Christ, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and other liberal religious groups spoke of marriage equality as part of religious freedom Wednesday in the gathering at the St. Paul Cathedral Center, the Episcopal diocese headquarters.

“It is not an issue of legal matters, it’s an issue of faith,” said the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, the Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles.

The Rev. Fernando Santillana, pastor of Norwalk United Methodist Church, called it a Christian responsibility to speak up for equality.

“We are all divine creations. Some are heterosexual and some are not.  But we are all God’s creatures,” Santillana said. “We have to be the voice that speaks for God in a society that is divided.”

Rick Rojas, LA Times



Progress to Marriage Equality (2): Costa Rica

In the US, he path to marriage has been bedevilled by tussles between courts, legislatures and citizens’ ballot initiatives.  The key question: is it fair or constitutionally acceptable to allow a majority to vote  away the rights of a minority? The high profile case here is that of California, with its protracted legal battle over Prop 8.

In Costa Rica, where the country was gearing up for a Prop 8 style referendum on gay marriage, there has been a new twist. Instead of waiting for the outcome and then trying to overturn it, a citizen has successfully petitioned the consitutional court to intervene and prevent the referendum going ahead. This is not a final decision –  this is just a restraining order while the constitutional court deliberates but there could be promise here.

From Inside Costa Rica:

Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court Orders A Stop To Same Sex Marriage Referendum

The Sala Constitucional (Constitutional Court) has ordered the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) to suspend the process of the referendum on same sex marriages that was to have been included in the December 2010 municipal elections.

The court order was based on an appeal filed against the referendum.

The Recurso Amparo (appeal) was presented by an individual identified only by the last names, Quirós Salazar, alleging that the referendum violates the rights and freedoms of individuals.

The referendum was to have let the population decide the fate of a proposal for law that would allow same sex marriages in Costa Rica

Opponents to the referendum have argued that leaving the allowing the majority of the population (93%) which is heterosexual would be a constitutional violation of the 7% of the homosexual population.

The Quirós Salazar action argues that there are international declarations that make it clear that there be a respect for the rights of minorities.

The Court order orders the TSE to not continue with its efforts for the referendum while the magistrates of the Sala Constitucional consider the appeal.

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