To all Manhattan Declaration signers:
The outrageous decision overturning California's Proposition 8 appears to be a terrible set-back for the historic understanding of marriage as the union of husband and wife; but it may turn out to be a great opportunity for us. Let us explain.
We weren't surprised that Judge Vaughn Walker, whose extremely liberal views about sexuality and marriage were scarcely concealed, would strike down the California law defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.
The real surprise is the language he used, describing the "ability to marry" as a fundamental right that cannot be denied gays and lesbians. This is devastating language for the cause of marriage. And it is complete nonsense. Every human society in history has placed restrictions on the "ability to marry." You can't marry your sister or seven people at once. Please read Professor Robert George's critique of Judge Walker's ruling. And share it with your contacts!
What happens next is clear: The case goes to the Ninth Circuit (the most liberal circuit in the country) and then on to the Supreme Court of the United States.
But here is where we come in and where we have an opportunity for a great victory. The history of the Supreme Court shows that the justices are unwilling to usurp the authority of the people to exercise their constitutional right to set public policy when the people themselves make clear to the justices that they will not accept their judicial activism as legitimate. Where liberal justices have unconstitutionally acted against the will of the people (as in Roe v. Wade, Roemer v. Evans, Lawrence v. Texas), they have done so on the belief that the people were prepared to accept their usurpations. (Of course, in the case of Roe, they got a surprise: the people have refused to accept it, which is why abortion and the right to life remain potent issues to this very day.)
Even the most liberal justices have declined to expand "lifestyle liberties" where it was clear that public opinion opposed the expansion. For example, in 1997, the Supreme Court upheld Washington State's ban on physician-assisted suicide. The decision was unanimous-even the most liberal justices joined it. Why? Precisely because the Court perceived that the public was not prepared to support physician-assisted suicide! Writing for the Court in Washington v. Glucksberg, Chief Justice Rehnquist said:
"Throughout the nation, Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality and practicality of physician-assisted suicide. Our holding permits this debate to continue, as it should in a democratic society."
This is why Judge Walker's gives us a golden opportunity. The battleground now shifts to public opinion. And the public debate over the redefinition of marriage is a debate we can and must win. Remember that in no state have the people popularly supported "gay" marriage. In every one of the thirty-one states that have put the issue before the people for a vote, true marriage has prevailed.
If the Supreme Court is faced with powerful public opposition to redefining marriage, they will be in the same position the justices found themselves in with assisted suicide.
This is why we're convinced God raised up the Manhattan Declaration---for this moment. So we can mobilize more public support. We need a million signatures. Please, get everyone you know to sign it. And we must mobilize, educate ourselves, our neighbors, and everyone within our own spheres of influence.
And then we want you to prepare to get involved in a critically important campaign coming up this fall. It is called the Pray and ACT campaign. The goal is to get Christians across America in every denomination and confession fasting and praying for 40 days, September 20 through October 30. This is not political. This is a time to cry out to God with repentance and ask for His mercy.
In the darkest moments of his battle to abolish slavery, William Wilberforce wrote that he believed God would still heed the prayers of His people. God did. Against all odds, slavery was abolished. Similarly, we believe that God will hear our prayers and will act again.
In His service,
Dr. Robert George
Dr. Timothy George
A Call to 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting.
Proposition 8 Decision: An Assault on Marriage and Democracy, by Dr. Robert George.
The Manhattan Declaration is a non-partisan statement of conscience in defense of human life, traditional marriage and religious freedom