Students respond to Proposition 8

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Robert Katz, Staff Writer

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled California’s 2008 ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, unconstitutional.

The proposition was an amendment to the California Constitution providing that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” It was passed by California voters 52 percent versus 48 percent.

The court, which ruled 2-1 against the prohibition, found that the proposition interfered with a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a majority cannot take away a minority’s rights without legitimate reasons.

Despite a victory for the bill’s enemies, Prop. 8’s supporters may appeal to the circuit court within the following two weeks and have 90 days in which they may petition for the Supreme Court to review the case. As a result, the decision will not take effect until the two weeks are over.

Sophomore Michael Simozar was pleased to hear the recent news, expressing strong opposition to the ideas presented by Proposition 8.

“This [decision] is very long overdue and has needed to happen for a long time,” said sophomore Simozar.

Sophomore Mehrzad Farnoosh disagreed with the religiously-inclined nature of the ban.

“You can’t force your own religious obligations onto a people. That doesn’t work. We have separation of Church and State,” said sophomore Farnoosh.

Social studies teacher Pete Van Rossum explained what may be the ruling’s historical significance and importance to the civil rights movement.

“It’s a sign of progress; it shows we’re becoming more tolerant and accepting of social fact. It’s going to be drawn out because it’s obviously a polarizing issue. There are a lot of social conservatives who are opposed to it, more on religious grounds in their view and they’re going to put obstacles towards it, but I think relative to the trend that we’re seeing in Western society, it’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. By the time you guys are 30 or 40 years old or you’re coming out of college, it’ll be a normal thing,” said Van Rossum.

Although some students had been supportive of the ban, they declined to comment.

The school’s Christian Club showed some disappointment with the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision. However, they did not express any majorly strong feelings regarding it.

“Some radical Christians take it the wrong way by saying that some homosexual people are really wrong…The Bible specifically states that you are supposed to love the sinner and not the sin,” said Christian Club President Joyce Hwang. “There has to be a separation between Church and State…If the court is against Prop. 8, we can’t really say anything about it. Ultimately, it’s us worshipping God in our own way. The United States was built upon a Christian focus and I’d just like to keep it like that.”

Other members expressed a similar sentiment, emphasizing peacefulness as opposed to forcefulness.

“I don’t know what to think about Prop 8. I would like to see it enforced because, in general, I really look up to the Ten Commandments in the Bible. In the Bible, marriage is specifically talked about as how a man and a woman is united and is one flesh, and I support that. I’m leaning more for the support [of Prop. 8], but when we’re supporting Prop. 8, if there is any supporter that is Christian, I believe that they should pursue it in a loving manner, not in a manner that is hateful to homosexuals. That sort of thing, we do not support whatsoever. If there’s any hate that’s going on, that should be eliminated,” said club member Eunjoo Cho.

The school’s Gay-Straight Alliance was very optimistic about the ruling’s significance.

“I am thrilled with the court’s decision, just as I am sure the rest of the L.G.B.T. community is. Although the ban on Prop 8 will be appealed by its supporters, the lifting of the ban is certainly a step in the right direction for human rights. Government progress concerning rights for same-sex couples has gained much more momentum. This summer New York lifted its ban and now, just a few short months later, California has as well, which could prompt states to follow. Society seems to have become much more accepting of the L.G.B.T. community and with the passage of same-sex marriage, hopefully those who are not as accepting can learn to abandon their prejudice,” said Gay-Straight Alliance member and junior Isabella Rosenberg.

On Monday, Feb. 13, New Jersey’s senate approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

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