Californians need to keep a careful eye on future ballot initiatives following the California Supreme Court's upholding of Proposition 8.
California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, is not a strictly religious or church-state separation issue. However, the ruling of the courts to uphold the will of the majority, even when that majority removes the rights of a minority, is a troubling sign.
American Atheists California State Director Michael Doss said, "Same-sex couples lost the right to marry via a citizen-driven ballot initiative. If one minority group can lose rights this way, there's very good reason to believe that any other, including atheists, could be next."
Doss added, "As long as California has an initiative system like the one in place, atheists and others who care about the issue of church-state separation need to keep a careful eye on laws being passed by the Christian majority. The same court that ruled today struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage in 2008, which shows that the initiative process can and will overturn even civil rights issues".
The campaign supporting Proposition 8 was largely bankrolled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, although a number of other churches and religious groups in California and beyond also supported the measure.
Ed Buckner, American Atheists president, added "While American Atheists, Inc. does not take a position on gay rights and its related issues, there appears to be little doubt that campaigns like the one in California are in fact attempts by religionists to impose their beliefs through the political process. That is unconstitutional and unacceptable. The lack of religious approval for a legally sanctioned union between two people has no business being considered in anything except the internal affairs of the religious group that disapproves. Church business is already supported outrageously and unconstitutionally by our national tax laws. Churches and other religious entities have no right to impose their backward ideas on the rest of us."