California court rules against “right” to redefinition of marriage

Sometimes, even in a time when judical activism often seems to be the norm, judges get one right. Today is such a day:

A state appeals court upheld California’s ban on gay marriage Thursday, a critical defeat for a movement hungry for a win after similar losses in two other states.

In reversing the March 2005 ruling of a San Francisco trial judge, the 1st District Court of Appeal agreed with the state’s attorney general, who argued it is up to the Legislature, not the courts, to change the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“We conclude California’s historical definition of marriage does not deprive individuals of a vested fundamental right or discriminate against a suspect class,” the court said in a 2-1 decision. “The time may come when California chooses to expand the definition of marriage to encompass same-sex unions. That change must come from democratic processes, however, not by judicial fiat.”

Exactly right. Of course the losers of this round will appeal to the California Supreme Court, which should follow the example of restraint set by the appeals court. It’s also up to the people of California to wise up and elect a far less radical legislature that will not so cavalierly try to toss aside our fundamental social institutions.

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