For Immediate Release
Americans United Criticizes California Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Ban on Same-Sex Marriage to Stand
WASHINGTON - Americans United for Separation of Church and State today expressed
disappointment with the California Supreme Court ruling upholding
Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the state.
"Marriage is a civil right and should not be subject to
majority rule or a religious litmus test," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn,
executive director of Americans United.
"It is a decision at odds with both the Constitution and
basic decency," Lynn continued. "History will judge that this was a
step backward for religious freedom and civil rights."
After a divisive campaign led largely by conservative religious
groups, California voters narrow approved Proposition 8 in November of
2008. The vote had the effect of nullifying a May 2008 ruling by the
state high court legalizing same-sex marriage.
Gay-rights groups subsequently challenged the vote in court, arguing
that fundamental changes to the California Constitution can be made
only through a deliberative process that begins in the legislature, not
Americans United, the Anti-Defamation League and 30 other civil
rights and civil liberties groups joined the effort, filing a
friend-of-the-court brief asserting that a bare majority of voters
should not be permitted to remove fundamental rights from a minority
"If Proposition 8 can strip fundamental rights from gay and lesbian
people by a 52 percent majority, future amendments can strip away
fundamental rights from other disfavored groups based on race, national
origin, gender or religion," read the brief.
"Today's ruling is unfortunate, but it's not the end of the fight,"
Lynn said. "I'm confident that Californians will rise up and reject the
divisive agenda of the Religious Right."
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in
Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans
about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.