Faith-based groups that sponsored Proposition 8, the state’s 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, are pleased with the California Supreme Court’s decision Nov. 17 granting the initiative’s official proponents the right to appeal a federal judge’s ruling last year that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional.
“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has clearly reaffirmed our right, as the official proponents of Prop. 8, to defend over seven million Californians who amended their own State Constitution to restore traditional marriage,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com. “This victory is an enormous boost for Prop. 8 as well as the integrity of the initiative process itself.”
In a statement, the California Catholic Conference said it welcomed the unanimous (7-0) ruling by the justices of the California Supreme Court that “the official proponents of a voter-passed initiative have standing to ‘appear and assert the state’s interest in the initiative’s validity and to appeal a judgment invalidating the measure when the public officials who ordinarily defend the measure or appeal such a judgment decline to do so.’”
The state’s previous governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Attorney General-turned-Governor Jerry Brown and the current Attorney General Kamala Harris have all declined to defend the proposition.
“The CCC supports the decision of the voters of California to pass Prop. 8 in November 2008, thereby placing in our state’s constitution the definition of marriage as the union of a woman and a man. By their vote, they recognized that marriage is good for children and best for our state,” said the bishops in their statement on the California Supreme Court Ruling in the Perry v. Brown (Prop. 8) “Standing” Case.
In their statement released Nov. 17, ProtectMarriage.com officials wrote: “Today’s decision is a critical step in our three-year battle to uphold marriage between a man and a woman. Now we can return our focus to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and our appeal to reverse the lower court’s decision declaring Prop. 8 and traditional marriage itself ‘unconstitutional.’”
“It was a big setback for those challenging Prop. 8 because they didn’t want the case to go forward,” said Bill May, a spokesperson for ProtectMarriage.com and founder of Catholics for the Common Good who attended the Supreme Court’s oral arguments sessions in San Francisco early this fall.
“The justices were pretty clear that it would be giving veto power to the governor and attorney general for nobody to represent the initiative,” said Carol Hogan, CCC’s director of pastoral projects and communication. She added that the justices were careful to point out that their decision had nothing at all to do with the underlying issue of the case.
The case will now continue in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Many anticipate that whatever the Court of Appeals decides will be appealed by the losing side to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bishops launch new website for promotion, protection of marriage
Catholics seeking information on what the Catholic Church teaches about marriage will now be able to visit www.marriageuniqueforareason.org, a website featuring resources such as an extensive FAQ section on the meaning of marriage, a compilation of Catholic teaching on marriage, a blog, and videos, “Made for Each Other” and “Made for Life.”
The site, which was launched by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, also invites visitors to subscribe to the blog. Portions of the site will be translated into Spanish.
“The launch of the ‘Marriage: Unique for a Reason’ website demonstrates the continued efforts of the bishops to educate the faithful on the unique meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and on marriage’s foundational place for the flourishing of any society,” said Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the Subcommittee.
“The website will establish an online presence for the Subcommittee’s work, and will serve as a reliable place where inquiring Catholics and others can find authentic teaching about marriage. I encourage all those working to educate others about marriage’s meaning to take advantage of the site, especially priests, deacons, catechists and teachers.”
The “Marriage: Unique for a Reason” website is the latest phase in the USCCB’s ongoing catechetical and educational work on marriage. The initiative began in June 2010 with the release of “Made for Each Other,” and continued in June 2011 with the release of “Made for Life.” Future video resources include a Spanish-language video, and videos about marriage and the common good and marriage and religious liberty, due out next year.
Catholic websites are encouraged to include a web banner linking to the new site, which can be found at www.marriageuniqueforareason.org/media-toolkit. “Marriage: Unique for a Reason” joins the bishops’ initiatives “For Your Marriage” (foryourmarriage.org) and “Por Tu Matrimonio” (www.portumatrimonio.org) in providing web resources for the strengthening, promotion, and protection of marriage.
At their recent annual meeting, the bishops heard a report that a series of advertisements for their campaign to strengthen marriage have been successful in the numbers of people they have reached and the awards they have garnered from professional advertising organizations.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, said the public service announcements with messages about marriage had been measured as having 1.3 billion "audience impressions" since they began several years ago.
He said the campaign "which won a national public relations award in 2009, has been the most successful of its kind ever sponsored by the USCCB."
A series of public service announcements with the theme of "a good marriage goes a long way," was released in September to 1,600 television stations and 7,000 radio stations, he said.
Bishop Rhoades reported that a series of ads for the "For Your Marriage" campaign that began in July 2007 had nearly a quarter of a million broadcasts.