Hello there -- Theo here -- I'm CR's administrative assistant here on CR's Range. Boy, isn't this a real pickle with the Supreme Court ruling that sodomy is OK -- maybe CR is right when he says that among the most surprised people when it comes time to stand in the presence of God will be judges and lawyers (with competition from preachers and theologians) -- maybe for the first time ever, this bunch will have to face up to the fact that their rulings do not supersede the moral laws of the Creator of the universe!
Anyway, below are a few more reactions or "fall out" if you want to use that term. There are three in this area and if you want to go to a particular one, they are listed by subject and you can click on that subject and go immediately to that topic. Enjoy
- 115 United Methodist preachers in Cal-Nev Conference applaud Supreme Court striking down sodomy law!
- Affirmation (unofficial caucus in the United Methodist Church) expresses delight in the decision
- Remarks and ramifications of the Supreme Court ruling on sodomy
PRESS RELEASE June 28, 2003
The California-Nevada Annual Conference Reconciling Ministries Clergy of the United Methodist Church expresses our strong affirmation of the historic decision of the Supreme Court in striking down the Texas sodomy law as well as in rendering unconstitutional the same law in the other 12 states. We applaud this decision as a major step forward for the equal rights and protection of the Lesbian Bisexual Gay and Transgender (LBGT) community, without fear of being criminalized.
We affirm with our sisters and brothers of the LBGT community that sexuality is a good gift from God that can be expressed responsibly in the privacy of our lives.
We further call on our United Methodist Church to follow the lead of the Supreme Court in granting equal rights to all members of our denomination regardless of sexual orientation and to affirm their full humanity in carrying out their ministries for the church of Jesus Christ.
The California-Nevada Annual Conference Reconciling Ministries Clergy of the United Methodist Church is a body of 115 California-Nevada United Methodist pastors. Names available upon request.
Contact: Brandon Austin, Chair: Pastor of the North Sacramento United Methodist Church 916-922-6571 or 916-649-9744
From Affirmation: United Methodists for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns
For Immediate Release: July 2, 2003
Affirmation Gives Thanks for Supreme Court Decision
Affirmation joins in celebrating the Supreme Court's decision last week overturning the Texas law prohibiting intimate same-gender relations.
The Rev. Kenneth I. Rowe, male co-spokesperson for Affirmation responded to the news, "This decision, coming at a time when many cities and states are celebrating Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Pride Month, is an important witness to the rights of individuals in our society. Many of our members have been working on this and similar cases around the country, and it is a powerful reminder that the lenses with which we look at the world can change, and that drops of water can wear down the hardest barriers. This weekend is the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration under the theme 'You Gotta Give Them Hope' [a reference to a saying of slain gay city supervisor Harvey Milk.] This ruling gives us hope. Not just in the secular arena, but if the highest court in the land can change its views, God only knows what's possible at General Conference or within the UM Judicial Council."
Affirmation joined with the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN) and Northaven UMC, Dallas, TX, as United Methodist voices submitting amicus briefs in support of overturning the Texas law. The National Council, the governing body of Affirmation, signed on with the amicus brief as a clear witness to the language of the Book of Discipline, which supports human and civil rights for lesbian and gay people.
Affirmation is an unofficial caucus supporting changes in the UMC, with most members being United Methodists.
On the subject of how this ruling affects the denomination, Rowe said "obviously, the ruling is directed toward a state law that has a domino effect on other state laws. It is further evidence that the church while supporting broad human and civil rights for L/G/B/T folk, the church has failed to keep up with society on the specifics. The General Conference of 2004 will be an important time in our church's history. We will decide to join the mainstream of society or end up part of the radical conservative fringe of society."
For more information contact:
Kenneth I. Rowe
July 2, 2003
Supreme Court 'sodomy' ruling already causing repercussions
By Robert Marus
Associated Baptist Press
WASHINGTON (ABP) -- It's difficult to overstate how upset most conservatives are at the Supreme Court's recent decision to overturn state bans on "sodomy."
"It is clear from this that the court has taken sides in the culture war," said Justice Antonin Scalia, summarizing from the bench his dissent in the Lawrence and Garner vs. Texas case June 26. "This effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation."
Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, said, "Once again judicial activists have used their fertile imagination to create rights that simply don't exist in the Constitution. In doing so, they have imposed their own moral judgments in place of state legislatures and have thereby undermined the democratic process."
Connor went on to warn that the "radical homosexual lobby" will use the decision to extend "a blanket privacy protection over one's choice of sexual partner to one's choice of marital partner as well -- regardless of sex."
While gay-rights activists and civil libertarians have denounced such blanket statements as hyperbole, some of the conservatives' nightmares may already be coming true.
In the recent decision, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn a Texas law that banned "sodomy" -- a term for any kind of non-vaginal sexual intercourse -- for homosexuals but not for heterosexuals. Five of the six justices in the majority claimed the law violated the 14th Amendment's guarantees of due process and privacy and implied that the law also violated that amendment's equal-protection clause.
The court's ruling was unexpectedly broad, explicitly embracing the right-to-privacy argument and implicitly embracing the equal- protection argument.
The decision means all bans on consensual, adult sodomy -- for gays and heterosexuals alike -- violate the right to privacy that the majority of the court believes exists in the 14th Amendment.
In the case, two Houston men were arrested, convicted and fined in 1998. The men appealed, claiming the statute under which they were convicted violated their rights to privacy and equal protection.
The recent decision has already had legal ramifications. On June 27, the day after the Lawrence decision was announced, the Supreme Court invalidated a sodomy conviction that a Kansas teenager received for having sex with a younger boy. Kansas law imposed a harsher penalty on same-sex violators of the state's age-of-consent law than it did on opposite-sex violators.
On the same day, a New Jersey judge asked for additional written arguments, in light of the new court decision, on a case in which seven gay couples are suing the state for the right to marry.
And a Massachusetts court is hearing arguments in a case many experts believe will expand that state's marriage laws to include homosexual marriage, given the Supreme Court's new ruling.
"Our victory last week was just the beginning," said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, in a July 2 press release. "We're on stronger ground than ever before to fight for gay couples, parents, employees and students -- to win fairness in every area of life."
But conservatives are already fighting back on the issue of gay marriage. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) announced June 29 he will support a constitutional amendment, already pending in Congress, that would not only ban recognition of same-sex marriage on the federal level but also invalidate any state or municipal law that confers either marriage or its corresponding benefits on gay couples.
"I very much feel that marriage is a sacrament and that sacrament should extend and can extend to that legal entity of a union between what is traditionally in our Western values been defined as between a man and a woman," Frist said on ABC's "This Week" program.
But White House spokesman Ari Fleischer declined to say June 30 if President Bush supports the proposed amendment, which has been introduced in the House but not yet in the Senate.
Where the Lawrence decision may have its most immediate effect is in custody battles and other day-to-day struggles in the lives of gay and lesbian Americans. According to several gay-rights groups, courts and government agencies have repeatedly cited sodomy laws in denying homosexuals custody rights, state certifications and other legal advantages. The laws are often cited in states with sodomy statutes because the court assumes that homosexuals are, by their nature, lawbreakers.
Cathcart said in the four days since the ruling, Lambda Legal's help desks around the country "have received scores of calls and e-mails from people who were fired from their jobs, lost custody of their children or otherwise faced discrimination because they're gay.
"We have a long road ahead of us, and this ruling will help propel us forward," he added.