Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
Proposition 8 stands. The California Supreme Court has generously allowed the voters to protect marriage’s definition in the state. That makes two weeks in a row of good news for marriage.
The court insists, though, that the state’s 18,000 new homosexual “marriages” since last spring also stand.
Marriage activists were expecting this decision, Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut told me. The court knew that to decide otherwise would have been a disaster for California,
“Essentially,” he said, “even a court as crazy as the Supreme Court of California isn’t that crazy, that they would directly negate the will of the people expressed in opposition to that very court.”
If the decision had gone the other way, it would have been the end of the initiative system in California, said Wolfgang. Direct initiative has been a cornerstone of the democratic accountability in California since 1978, when Proposition 13’s “taxpayer revolt” was successful.
“If the court had gone the other way,” said Wolfgang, “they would have been saying definitively that the state of California is a polity ruled by judges, not by the people. If you don’t even have the right to overturn your state Supreme Court—if you don’t even have that remedy—that really and truly is the end of democracy.”
If opponents can stop a constitutional amendment on a technicality, then we really are a nation ruled by judges.
“Even a court so crazy that it doesn’t understand that marriage is between a man and a woman isn’t that crazy that they will overturn representative government altogether,” said Wolfgang.
He also didn’t despair about the 18,000 homosexual couplings that remain “marriages.”
“It doesn’t take away from the fact that marriage and truth and the people of California won a major victory last November,” he said.