Update 5/17/2008: California decision does not affect prohibitions against polygamy and marriage of close relatives. Why not?
Government should not sanction same-sex marriages for the same reason that it should not sanction heterosexual adultery--such activities tend to be destructive to the family as the fundamental unit of society.
Before you get too far into reading into my words, let me echo and agree with something that Madeleine Albright wrote in her recent book, The Mighty & The Almighty (one of the better books that I have read in a long time):
I oppose discrimination against gays and lesbians and am convinced that heterosexual adultery is a greater danger to the institution of marriage than homsexuality ever will be.I also think that, although the best family situation is one where children have a loving father and mother, the absolute worst family environment is one in which the father is abusive (mother being abusive is not much better).
The Mighty & The Almighty, p. 80
That still doesn't change my perspective on how government should treat homosexuality. I don't support government 'going into people's bedrooms' to find out what lasciviousness might be there. But I do support laws banning adultery, sodomy, and so forth, because such activities should not be allowed in public, as they violate others' rights.
One thing that I appreciate about the California decision is that it is a state decision and not a federal decision--as I think many other decisions, including whether a woman has a right to abortion, should be. Utah has a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, which I think is proper, and the US constitution requires all states to give full faith and credit to the laws of every other state, so even if two homosexuals were to get married in California, Utah would not legally have to recognize that union.
Discrimination is a broad term, but be it known that I discriminated against all other forms of cold cereal (and any kind of breakfast) when I ate Honeycombs this morning. With regard to homosexuality, the kind of discrimination that is wrong is for people to belittle others because of their sexual orientation/preference. I have written on SUMP before that I support laws in Utah banning workplace discrimination against homosexuality and the right for homosexual couples to adopt children under appropriate circumstances.
In a nutshell, California has every right as a state to decide whether or not it should recognize same-sex marriages. Morally, however, I think the wrong decision was made yesterday. Legally, I think the California supreme court is completely up in the night on this one.
Update 5/17/2008: The New American reports that
...while homosexual relationships have often been accepted in various pagan cultures, I don't know of one that instituted homosexual "marriage." The court ignored this, however, and redefined marriage to suit its agenda.
This is especially obvious given that Chief Justice Ronald M. George, according to Adam Liptak writing at the New York Times, said: "… the decision did 'not affect the constitutional validity of the existing prohibitions against polygamy and the marriage of close relatives.' "
Well, why not? According to Justice George's reasoning (again, reported in the Times): " ''Tradition alone' … does not justify the denial of a fundamental constitutional right."
Are we to assume that a stroke of a chief justice's pen does?
If same-sex "marriage" is a fundamental constitutional right, on what basis does the justice deny the right to marry to polygamists and others? Does he suddenly defer to Christendom's traditions when settling on a definition limiting marriage to two individuals?