Over the last couple of days, we have been treated by the plaintiffs to astonishing intrusions into areas supposedly protected by the First Amendment, including religious freedoms and the political rights of free speech and association.
It started Wednesday when a Stanford political science professor testified that, in his opinion, organized religion in the United States is such an overwhelming threat to gays and lesbians that they should be declared a vulnerable “minority” entitled to extraordinary legal protections under the US Constitution. In short, he concluded, “religion is the problem.”
As a result of this “problem,” the witness testified, gays and lesbians in the United States are “politically powerless,” a legal term of art meaning that they are at such a disadvantage so as to be incapable of defending themselves in the political process. Of course, the notion that the gay and lesbian community is politically feeble should sound backward to anyone, especially living in California. Common knowledge tells us that gays and lesbians wield substantial political power in our state, both in passing major gay rights legislation and in amassing opposition to Prop 8. Just one example: While the California Teachers Association and other labor unions gave millions to the No on 8 campaign, not a single labor union ever contributed to the Yes on 8 campaign.
Of particular concern to the witness was the “breathtaking” numbers of people who volunteered their time in the campaign to help carry Prop 8 to victory. The volunteer effort was so strong, he said, that it was impossible for gays and lesbians to defeat Prop 8. And so Prop 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. Really? So let me get this straight. If you lose a campaign because you can’t persuade the majority of people to rally behind you, then you have a constitutional right to nullify the votes of the majority. Hmm.
It boggles the mind, truly.
Later Wednesday, lawyers for the plaintiffs started submitting evidence of the “improper” influence of Catholics, Baptists, and other major religious communities in support of the traditional definition of marriage. As though the First Amendment itself had disappeared, the court allowed their lawyers—over the strenuous objections of our legal defense team—to pry into the internal records of churches, communications between church members and church leaders, and other similar documents revealing these religious organizations’ commitment to protecting traditional marriage.
For anyone who values the right to associate with others in a church community and freely exercise the tenants of their faith without fear of being dragged into court because of their beliefs, yesterday afternoon’s blitzkrieg by the plaintiffs into our previously protected religious and political freedoms was terrifying to behold.
Then Thursday, for the first time (we believe) ever in a court of law, a proponent of a voter initiative was put on the stand to be interrogated under oath about his own political, moral and religious views. Not only was the Prop 8 supporter forced to reveal his political and religious views under penalty of perjury, but he was further forced to defend and substantiate his views so the court can decide whether his views are “improper.”
Clearly the plaintiffs will go to any lengths—even if it means sacrificing the precious protections of the First Amendment—to achieve their goal of invalidating the vote of the people.