California UM Bishops on Record as 'Prop 8' Seems Headed for Courts

November 14, 2008

With legal challenges filed and protests continuing, the future of the California Marriage Protection Amendment (Proposition 8), approved by voters on November 4, seems destined to be decided in the courts. "Prop 8" amends the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, in response to the State Supreme Court ruling in June of this year that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

A nationwide protest has been scheduled for this Saturday (November 15). Some United Methodists participated in a similar demonstration outside the state Capitol in Sacramento last week. Meanwhile, the resident bishops for California’s two United Methodist annual conferences (regions) are on record as opposing the amendment on the basis of equality under the law.

Both California-Pacific’s Bishop Mary Ann Swenson and Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of California-Nevada reference the official stance of The United Methodist Church, found in its Social Principles, that, “certain basic human rights and civil liberties are due all persons. We are committed to supporting those rights and liberties for homosexual persons.”
A news release quoting both bishops was issued by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
Bishop Brown’s statement reads, “United Methodists hold strong and diverse opinions regarding same-gender marriage …. but as United Methodists we support that same-gender couples receive the same treatment under the law as other California citizens.”
It also expresses concern about some arguments being raised in support of Proposition 8.
“Marriage is very important to people of faith and each faith tradition brings its own values to the understanding of marriage.… [but] Religious communities will not be impacted if Proposition 8 is defeated by California voters,” he said.
“The freedom to practice our particular religious convictions will not be constrained. Arguments to the contrary regarding tax-exempt status and education are simply not true.”
Link here to read Bishop Brown’s statement regarding Proposition 8 (A link is also located under "What's New" on the Home Page).
Link here to read GLAAD news release.