Opponents React To Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Ruling

Melissa Block talks to Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative legal group, about a federal judge's ruling that California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

We're joined now by one of the lawyers on the legal team which ended up on the losing side before Judge Walker. Jim Campbell is with the Alliance Defense Fund, the group of same-sex marriage opponents which Karen mentioned in her report. Welcome to the program.

Mr. JIM CAMPBELL (Alliance Defense Fund): It's good to be here. Thanks for having me.

BLOCK: And, Mr. Campbell, are you surprised, first of all, by the ruling today from Judge Walker?

Mr. CAMPBELL: I think we're disappointed by the ruling. We were hopeful that the judge would look at Proposition 8 and see that all the people of California did was affirm marriage as it has existed before the founding of our country and find that that was entirely constitutional. However, you know, we are prepared to move forward.

BLOCK: And by move forward, you mean appeal?

Mr. CAMPBELL: That is correct. We are prepared to file an appeal.

BLOCK: Let me ask you about some of Judge Walker's language in his ruling. He said Proposition 8, which you were supporting, is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters. He said it played on a fear that exposure to homosexuality would turn children into homosexuals. He went on to say conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough.

Mr. CAMPBELL: And the portion of the opinion that you're talking about is really something that courts just typically don't do and that is looking at a ballot initiative that was enacted by over seven million voters and he's attempting to divine out of thin air what the people intended - over seven million people. And that's just a very dangerous - it's, frankly, it's an impossible thing to do.

And courts typically, the Ninth Circuit, the court of appeals in which we are in, has said that the courts shouldn't be trying to determine what millions and millions of voters did because it's simply impractical.

BLOCK: But what about his broader argument, though, which is that Prop 8 denied equal protection to a whole class of people in California, those people seeking the right to gay marriage?

Mr. CAMPBELL: Well, what Proposition 8 did was affirm the right of the people of California to exercise their fundamental right to decide important issues of social policy. Using the court system to accomplish their end was really just an illegitimate use of the process.

BLOCK: But of course, what Judge Walker here is saying what Prop 8 did was to upend the U.S. Constitution.

Mr. CAMPBELL: That is Judge Walker's conclusion. And what it needs to be emphasized is the ramifications of that conclusion. And essentially, this case is much bigger than just one activist court decision out of San Francisco, a decision that ignored the law, from a court that put itself above the people of California. You know, this case has the potential to affect marriage laws all around the country.

BLOCK: Okay. Jim Campbell, thanks for talking with us.

Mr. CAMPBELL: Hey, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

BLOCK: Jim Campbell is litigation staff counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, an opponent of gay marriage.

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