Same-sex marriage has democracy on the ropes


When Dr. Benjamin Franklin was leaving Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a lady asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got—a republic or a monarchy?"  He responded by saying, "A republic, if you can keep it."

"We the people" have been entrusted with a republic. A republic is a government where the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote. Article II of the California Constitution expressly entrusts Californians with the same form of government.

"All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require."

Can we keep the republic? Can we preserve the principle that every vote counts? In order to do so, the people must be willing to hold the courts accountable for abusing their power. This responsibility is especially important now that same-sex marriage has been concocted by the courts.

Did the California Supreme Court really have the power to create same-sex marriage out of thin air? After all, in 2000, the people of California voted overwhelmingly to preserve marriage between a man and woman when the citizens adopted Proposition 22. Rather than defend democracy, the Supreme Court sided with the radical mayor of San Francisco and rewarded the mayor's complete disregard for the principles that created this nation and this state. 

In May, four judges ignored their role and put on boxing gloves with reckless abandon, throwing a sucker punch at democracy. Think of it, 61.4 percent of the public voted in favor or Proposition 22. Eight years later, four out of seven judges on the California Supreme Court fabricated a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, blatantly disregarding the vote of the people. Did they forget that the Constitution also says that "all political power is inherent in the people" as opposed to the courts? In the end, the court gave us a political decision, ignored legal precedent, and ignored common sense.

What should the people do now that the California Supreme Court has democracy on the ropes? Now, more than ever, the people need to find the strength and courage to keep fighting. 

In the November election, the people will have the opportunity to vote for the Marriage Protection Act, Proposition 8. Proposition 8 uses the exact same language from Proposition 22. This time, however, Proposition 8 will amend the Constitution, whereas the vote on Proposition 22 only amended the family law code. An amendment to the Constitution will prevent the California Supreme Court from declaring the Marriage Protection Act unconstitutional.  

I have heard too many people sitting in their corner, dazed by the sucker punch, wondering why they should even vote. My response is simple. Here is your chance to overrule the California Supreme Court and to rebuke it for undermining democracy while waving the flag of "equality."

It's time to take a lesson from the boxer who, while pressed against the ropes, has to decide whether to fall to the ground or keep fighting. Bloodied, bruised, and one eye swollen shut, "we the people" must take control of our republic for our children's sake. We must rise to the challenge and go "toe to toe" with our opponents. Take a whiff of the smelling salts, tighten the laces on the gloves, and get into the middle of the ring.

Now is not the time to quit.

Tyler is general counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to protecting religious liberty in the courts. For information, visit

Published, August 2008