Chakra Discussions

Gay Vaishnavas Welcome CA Supreme Court Ruling

by Amara dasa

Posted May 17, 2008

Gay Vaishnavas and their supporters were pleased with Thursday's ruling from the California Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage. Until one has suffered discrimination under the law it is difficult to understand just how oppressive such legalized discrimination can be to the human psyche. With this unnecessary burden now lifted, it will be much easier for gay and lesbian Californians, including those who are Hare Krsna devotees, to establish the committed, monogamous relationships so important to personal, societal and religious development.

The California Supreme Court ruled that "in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation and, more generally, that an individual's sexual orientation--like a person's race or gender--does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.... We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."

Amicus Briefs were filed by over forty religious organizations in support of the plaintiffs right to marry as same-sex couples. These included Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu organizations, churches and leaders. GALVA (The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Organization) was pleased to sign on to the California Amicus Brief as a Hindu and Vaishnava organization in support of the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Below are a few samples of the Amicus statements filed:

The United Church of Christ: "Throughout our nation's history, the UCC's congregations and their members have often stood in solidarity with the marginalized and oppressed--calling for the abolition of slavery, for recognizing women's rights, for honoring mixed-race marriage, and for the full civil rights of all persons. Thus, a 1996 resolution of the Directorate of the United Church of Christ Office for Church in Society called for affirming 'equal marriage rights for same-sex couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of legally recognized marriage."

The Union for Reform Judaism: "As Jews, we are taught in the very beginning of the Torah that God created humans in the Divine Image, and therefore diversity of creation represents the vastness of the Eternal. We oppose discrimination against all individuals, including gays and lesbians, for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every human being. Thus, the Union unequivocally supports equal rights for all people, including the right to a civil marriage license."

The Soka Gakkai International - USA (one of the largest Buddhist organizations in America): "The Buddha's teaching begins with the recognition of human diversity and in this spirit, the SGI-USA embraced conducting Buddhist wedding ceremonies for lesbian and gay couples in May 1995.... Showing such consideration for individuals clearly reflects the Daishonin's [Reverend Teacher's] spirit of non-discrimination and equality."

The Unitarian Universalists: "Because Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and because marriage is held in honor among the blessings of life, the denomination's General Assembly resolved overwhelmingly in 1996 the 'support of legal recognition for marriage between members of the same sex,' urging its 'member congregations to proclaim the worth of marriage between any two committed persons and to make this position known in their home communities."

The California Council of Churches: "Our commitment to religious liberty for all and equal protection under the law leads us to assert that the State may not rely on the views of particular religious sects as a basis for denying civil marriage licenses to same-gender couples."

The Al-Fatiha Foundation: "For the past four years, leaders within Al-Fatiha have performed marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Consistent with these Islamic principles, Al-Fatiha supports the rights of same-sex couples in the State of California and the United States to enter into marital relationships. Al-Fatiha supports this cause in the hopes of enlightening the world that Islam is a religion of tolerance and not hate, and that Allah loves his creation, no matter what their sexual orientation might be.