Over the past 30 years, virtually every Supreme Court case involving sexual freedom – whether it’s been abortion or gay rights – has been decided in favor of the expanded liberties, noted prominent Christian conservative leader Chuck Colson on Monday.
But when the case of same-sex marriage reaches the high court, the battle can be won, asserted Colson in a commentary that aired Monday.
Last Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California released the long-awaited ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker, who concluded that people of the same sex do have the right to marry and that the decision of the majority to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman – as California’s Prop. 8 had done - violates that right.
"Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians," the judge wrote in the 136-page ruling released Wednesday.
"The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples," he added, effectively overturning Prop. 8.
Following the ruling, Colson said his first reaction was, “Our worst nightmare has come true.”
“But my first reaction was wrong,” he later stated.
After spending the days following the ruling in the Prop. 8 case praying, reading, and thinking, the ministry leader concluded that the issue is far from settled.
As Colson noted Monday, in every Supreme Court case that involved sexual freedom and that resulted in a decision in favor of expanded liberties, public opinion was on the side of the expanded liberties.
“But the same cannot be said about same-sex marriage,” asserted the ministry leader, who served for four years as special counsel for then-President Richard Nixon. “Every time the issue has been placed on a state ballot, the people, usually by large margins, have rejected the idea. And the polls show that the American people still do not accept gay marriage.”
And that matters, continued Colson, because the court is reluctant to go against strong public opinion to the contrary.
In the 1997 Washington v. Glucksberge case, for example, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against affirming a Ninth Circuit holding that would have made assisted suicide constitutional.
In the opinion of the court, then-Chief Justice Rehnquist noted how “Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality” of the practice and said the court should “permit the debate to continue.”
“So, can we win this in the court of public opinion? Yes we can!” Colson said.
“If the polls show a year from now when this case makes its way to the Supreme Court that the public is against gay marriage, we will win,” the ministry leader asserted.
Thus, last week’s decision - which was criticized by pro-family leaders nationwide - could turn out to be a blessing in disguise, Colson added.
The conservative leader said he believes the ruling can help to awaken people and get them mobilized in the effort to protect traditional marriage.
“A federal judge declaring that the ‘ability to marry’ is a fundamental right that cannot be denied to gays and lesbians. What nonsense,” Colson remarked. “Societies throughout history have restricted the ability to marry (which is why, for instance, you’re not allowed to marry your sister.)”
“Folks, there is still hope – but only if we get to work now,” he added.
Colson is encouraging supporters of traditional marriage to get educated and to start informing their neighbors on the issue as well as join in a campaign of prayer and fasting this coming fall.
“I know a lot of people are saying these days that Christians should take a vacation from politics, that only the elites can change the culture. Baloney! We can move public opinion,” Colson stated.
“Enough of saying to ourselves let somebody else do it: We’ve got to wake up and get busy. Not only traditional marriage, but our religious and personal liberties depend on it,” he concluded.
Before heading to the Supreme Court, the case over Prop. 8 must first pass through the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which Colson referred to as “the most liberal court in America.”
After that, the case, which has been followed closely by people on both sides of the marriage debate, could lead to a precedent for whether gay marriage becomes legal nationwide and – as traditional marriage advocates say – whether the nation’s democratic principles will be upheld.
If California’s Prop. 8 is overturned, marriage laws in 45 states and the federal Defense of Marriage Act may ultimately be nullified, law experts say.
Prop. 8, which California voters passed in 2008, effectively defined marriage in the state’s constitution as the union of one man and one woman. The amendment was passed by 52 percent of California voters.