Features

California schemin'

"California schemin'" Continued...

Issue: "Survivors," Sept. 29, 2007

In a Washington Post story published that same month, Rodriguez blasted groups such as the Christian Coalition and Eagle Forum for coming down "in favor exclusively of enforcement, without any mention of the compassionate side, without any mention of Christian moral imperatives," Rodriguez said. "So, down the road, when the white evangelical community calls us and says, 'We want to partner with you on marriage'-my first question will be, 'Where were you when 12 million of our brothers and sisters were about to be deported?'"

Ron Prentice, who was at the San Diego City Hall showdown, said California Family Council has stayed completely away from the immigration issue in order to focus on the assault on the traditional family in California. "Mr. Rodriguez has a perspective that those outside the Hispanic community will struggle to understand," Prentice said. "When some evangelicals harp on the rule of law, Hispanics see 12 million people, many of whom are in their own churches, doing their very best to build strong families."

Prentice himself struggles to "make sense of the gap" between the law and compassion. Still, he said, "I can understand how Mr. Rodriguez feels offended by some evangelical organizations."

Daniels said it has been a mistake for some evangelical leaders, operating under the banner of marriage and family, to take hard-line positions on immigration and alienate their most natural ally. "Marriage, the union of male and female, is the preeminent natural law or 'common grace' institution," he said. "It is not the private property of Americans or evangelicals or conservatives. I believe the marriage and family debate in this country is even more important than the immigration debate. Woe to us if we do not mobilize a coalition for marriage that reflects its transcendence across social and racial barriers."

Battle lines

As in California, the battle over traditional marriage continues across the nation

By Kristin Chapman

  • In a divided decision, Maryland's Court of Appeals on Sept. 18 upheld a state law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The ruling ends a lawsuit filed by same-sex couples who claimed the state's 1973 ban on gay marriage denied them fundamental rights. Maryland's legislature could still take action on the issue in the future.
  • A New York Supreme Court judge on Sept. 5 dismissed an Alliance Defense Fund lawsuit that sought to halt the state from providing benefits to same-sex partners of government employees legally married in Canada. According to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the dismissal clears the way for him to extend pension benefits to any married, same-sex partners of state and local government personnel.
  • Rhode Island's Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on Oct. 9 regarding whether a lesbian couple, who were married in Massachusetts, can get a divorce in Rhode Island. The court is weighing the question of whether a lower family court, in order to consider a divorce petition, can recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.
  • An Iowa judge's Aug. 30 ruling that a same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional temporarily paved the way for several same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses in Polk County. One couple even obtained a waiver of Iowa's three-day waiting period and wed in Des Moines. A day after his ruling, Judge Robert Hanson issued a stay while the Iowa Supreme Court decides whether to hear an appeal of the case.
  • A New Jersey Methodist organization, which accepts federal funding but refused to allow a civil union to be conducted at its Ocean Grove pavilion, lost its tax-exempt status on the location after the state ruled it didn't meet the requirements of a place open to all members of the public. The state did renew, however, the tax-exempt status of the rest of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association's property.

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