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Gay Marriage Issue Isn't Settled, Both Sides Claim

Published: 05.26.09| Updated: 05.26.09

By Amanda Winters (Contact)

Redding Searchlight Record


      While the California Supreme Court voted to uphold the state's gay marriage ban on Tuesday, people on both sides of the argument say the issue isn't settled.

Bill Griffin, assistant professor of ministry and Bible at Simpson University in Redding, said he was surprised but pleased with the ruling. Griffin said he believes it is good for the state to stick to the biblical definition of marriage - between a man and a woman - but also thinks this isn't the end of the battle over gay marriage.

The justices voted 6-1 to reject the argument by gay rights activists that, as a constitutional amendment, the proposition needed to pass the state Legislature before it could be legal. Voters approved Proposition 8 in November, with 52 percent voting in favor.

"It's going to be an ongoing struggle from a lot of different sides," Griffin said. "I don't see anything as settled or over. I think as a state we have to really decide what is a marriage, what constitutes a marriage and, on the other hand, what rights do people have? What are our true civil rights given we have this incredible diversity in the culture we live in?"

Meg Whitman, a Republican gubernatorial hopeful campaigning in Redding on Tuesday, said she expects another ballot initiative to appear soon in support of gay marriage.

"I think this will be a decisive issue for a long time," she said. "We'll hear more about it."

Whitman, who supported the proposition, lauded the judges for upholding it. Opponents, however, found the ruling bittersweet.

George Wilkins, coordinator of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays in Redding, said he was disappointed in the ruling but was glad the courts decided to keep valid the 18,000 same-sex weddings that took place before the prohibition. His daughter's marriage was one of them, he said.

"This is a great country," he said. "We had the 14th Amendment, which got African-Americans out of slavery, the 19th Amendment, which allowed women to vote, and those were great steps for our country. Proposition 8 is a baby step back."

Wilkins said he thinks Christians who pushed for Proposition 8 weren't acting like Jesus, who taught love and compassion.

Some Christians, like Barney Grubbs of Redding, believe the Bible teaches all things are of God and are good.

"(Christians) want to say they are better (than gays), but God said, 'There is nothing that is not of me,' " he said. "Black, white, yellow, homosexual, straight, we are all of God."

Grubbs said he thinks the ruling is unjust and denies gay people their rights.

" 'What you do to the least of others you do unto me,' " he said, quoting the Bible.

Margaret Dominici, chair of Shasta County Republican Central Committee, said she thought the ruling was a good decision that reflects the will of Californians.

"It's an issue that can be decided by the validation of the people," she said. "I think there are other kinds of legal arrangements and protections that can be given to other groups."

Dominici said she believes marriage should be only between a man and a woman, as it has traditionally been defined.

Mary St. John, regional director of community services and education for Planned Parenthood, said she will continue to educate the community on gay rights in an effort to promote respect about sexual orientation. St. John said Planned Parenthood has a belief clause, which states "we believe all people should have an equal place at life's table," that extends to the right to choose whom to marry.

"I think that we all need to respect each other's religious and moral views, but we need to respect others' rights to choose," she said.

Reporter Amanda Winters can be reached at 225-8372 or at awinters@redding.com.

 

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