What Should Church Response Be to Prop 8 Rejection?

William May knows a thing or two about the voter-approved Proposition 8. He was asked by the California Catholic Conference to lead the Catholic campaign on Prop. 8. While subpoenaed, he wasn’t called to testify in the California case, which Judge Vaughn Walker declared unconstitutional today. The Chairman of Catholics for the Common Good spoke with me immediately after Judge Walker’s ruling.

Were you surprised by the judge’s ruling?

WM: No, I wasn’t surprised, but definitely disappointed – disappointed in the fact that another judge has overturned the will of over 7 million voters who made a rational decision. His decision is that the voters defined marriage between one man and one woman out of animus and bigotry.

What does this mean?

WM: To the effect that this stands, it shuts off debate. If we move this direction and it goes to the Supreme Court, this will be the Roe v. Wade of marriage, and could force every state to recognize same-sex marriage, including the 44 that already have laws to the contrary.

How can we fight this?

WM: We need to go on offense.

Marriage is a reality that predates religion. When the state, or religion recognizes that reality, it creates an institution. The state cannot change a reality. As Catholics, we understand marriage to be a sacrament and understand that with regard to Christ’s relationship to the Church.

We’re calling on Catholics to unite to promote the centrality and profundity of marriage in society. This requires a new way of thinking. Things aren’t true because they’re in the Bible or the Church teaches them. They’re in the Bible because they are true. Reality precedes revelation.

What’s next?

WM: I hope that what’s happened in California will help people recognize the way that marriage is being redefined, especially among young people. Marriage unites a man and woman to each other and to any children that come from the relationship. It’s not merely a committed relationship between adults.

We plan to appeal this to the 9th Circuit Court. Our attorneys have built a very strong case and we’re confident this will be overturned.