Statement on the Supreme Court Ruling

June 26, 2013

Adventists Against Prop 8 welcomes the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry. The Court’s decision effectively invalidates California’s unjust vote in favor of Proposition 8 of 2008 against same-sex marriage.

In the fall of 2008, more than 1,300 Seventh-day Adventists and friends of Adventists expressed their conviction that all Californians—straight and gay—who desire to live in a committed monogamous relationship should have access to the same recognition of marital rights, benefits, and privileges that heterosexual individuals enjoy. This expression arose out of our distinctly Adventist commitment to cherish the dignity of each human being as a child of God and to safeguard the liberty and conscience of all people. Today, some four years and seven months later, we celebrate an important milestone in the restoration of marriage equality in California.

We also welcome the Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This decision prevents the federal government from restricting the definition of marriage—and its benefits—to opposite-sex couples. The federal government will now recognize and award benefits to individuals in legal marriages, such as those now available once again to same-sex couples in California. Like the nullification of Prop 8, the Court’s invalidation of DOMA is a major landmark in the journey of justice. We rejoice that righteousness has visited this land.

The movement for marriage equality and justice for individuals of all sexual orientations, however, is far from over in the United States. While applauding the legalization of same-sex marriage now in twelve states and legal civil unions in seven states, we urge Adventists and people of faith in all states to champion marriage equality. We encourage our brothers and sisters to join the struggle for dignity, liberty, and humanity so that our nation can be made more whole.

As Adventists, we also recognize that our church continues to promote an attitude and a theology that views gays and lesbians as second-class members of God’s family. We must stop promoting a “shut door” theology of ignorance and prejudice. We must revisit and re-envision our theology of humanity, sex, family, and gender identity, in light of Scripture, history, culture, science, and the reality of human relationships. We must make neither moral nor theological judgment based on sexual orientation and affirm the truth that God is no respecter of persons, including their sexual orientations. We must not allow individuals to use church resources to promote a message of exclusion and discrimination. Adventists everywhere must, for Jesus’ sake, champion full recognition of gay and lesbian Adventists as members in good and regular standing in their congregations and as pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, and spiritual leaders, as they are called by God. With hope that burns within our hearts, we pray that the moral arc continue to bend toward justice in our beloved church, as it has in our nation today.

—Daneen Akers, Ryan Bell, Alexander Carpenter, Stephen Eyer, Jared Wright, et al.

This statement represents the views of the undersigned but not necessarily everyone who signed the Adventists Against Prop 8 petition. 

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9th Circuit: Prop 8 is Unconstitutional

February 8, 2012

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ invalidation of 2008’s Proposition 8 is a just, moral, and righteous decision. This is a decision that all Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to religious liberty and the gospel of Jesus Christ can celebrate. It points out unjust and immoral discrimination by its right name. It sets the nation further in the trajectory of recognizing full equality of gays and lesbians in all areas of life. This decision affirms the truth that the moral arc of the universe indeed bends toward justice.

We concur with the majority decision which said, in part…

Although the Constitution permits communities to enact laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 should have been enacted. … Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort. –Judge Stephen Reinhardt, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Prop 8 Deemed Unconstitutional

August 4, 2010

Today, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violates the constitutional right to equal protection and that California “has no interest in differentiating between same-sex and opposite-sex unions” in a 136-page decision. The ruling comes after nearly six months of arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Judge Walker wrote: “The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples.”

Adventists Against Prop 8 affirm the court’s ruling. We note that in this decision, Judge Walker has ruled that the only basis for objecting to same-sex marriage is religious, and while religious officials are free to either marry or not marry same-sex couples, the state—because we believe in the separation of church and state—has no right to discriminate based solely on religious grounds.

We reiterate the statement made on this site in advance of the November, 2008 vote on Proposition 8:

Adventists in the United States have historically defended the concerns of minority groups (even when they have disagreed with them on specific positions and practices) and have strongly objected to the use of religious arguments and means for establishing even what they consider to be public good (such the establishment of “blue laws” to fight widespread alcohol consumption on Sundays or the institution of prayer time in public schools). Adventists, as a people of faith and prophecy who have given special attention to apocalyptic events outlined in Revelation 13 and 14, have always advocated the safeguarding of rights of individuals and groups — even when we have disagreed with them — and the non-intrusion of overtly religious language and rationale in the formation or alteration of public policy.

Today’s ruling is an important step for proponents of religious liberty and equality as this case advances toward an eventual, inevitable decision from the United States Supreme Court.


Prop 8 Results

November 5, 2008

It is with great disappointment that we acknowledge the results of Californians’ vote in favor of Proposition 8 to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. For the past 57 days, Adventists Against Prop 8 have endeavored to bring to attention the challenges that this Proposition brings not only to the historic Adventist principle of church-state separation, but also to our prophetic witness as a people of fairness, freedom and compassion. We still believe that it was inadvisable for the Seventh-day Adventist Church State Council to be on record providing support for this Proposition. We also believe that this Proposition represents a misguided attempt at codifying Christian mores and values. Thus, we commit to standing firm with 48% of Californians who have registered their disapproval of this Proposition.

In fact, we are heartened by the marked increase in the percentage of Californians opposing the language of this Proposition. In 2000, Proposition 22 which first introduced an exclusively heterosexual definition of marriage to the California Family Code, passed with 61.4% voting yes and 38.6% voting no. In just eight years, popular objection to the same language has risen to nearly the 50:50 level. With voters under 45 voting decidedly against the Proposition, it may be only a matter of time that this Proposition will be stricken from the California state constitution. It is toward that end that we will continue to work.

To the 1,000+ individuals who have signed our petition, and the almost 700 who joined our Facebook group, we thank you for partnering with us in this ministry of advocacy and reconciliation. We hope that you will turn your disappointment and frustration into acts of compassionate advocacy. We look forward to working with you in promoting justice and religious liberty from a distinctly Adventist perspective.

At the same time, we recognize that the disagreement over Proposition 8 has deeply divided many religious groups, including our beloved Adventist community. What binds us as a people of God and followers of Jesus Christ is greater than any dispute we may have. Good and faithful servants of God’s kingdom can have honest differences in their interpretations of Scripture and in their specific applications of great biblical principles. Though we object to many of the arguments given in favor of this Proposition by the CSC and the spirit with which some Adventists have expressed the same arguments, we do not wish to disrespect the CSC’s ministry, but affirm its significance to the Adventist community. We also respect the conviction and passion that supporters of Proposition 8 have displayed. We join them in the desire to lift up the sacred institution of marriage. We also invite them to work with us in leading the Adventist church toward establishing a more compassionate culture that affirms the God-given dignity of each of us, straight, gay and lesbian.

As we press ahead with prayer and humble re-assessment of our thoughts, feelings and actions, we trust that the Spirt of truth and grace will lead all of us to a deeper understanding of God’s will and courage and wisdom to act upon that will.


The Final 2 Days

November 2, 2008

We are down to the wire on this election. Proposition 8 is still one of the most important decisions Californians will make on Tuesday. Happily, our website, Adventists Against Prop 8, has generated 1036 signatures as of this posting and our Facebook group has grown to 682 members. But there is more work to do. The race is very close (50% NO, 47% YES, 3% UNDECIDED) You can see the most recent polling numbers here.

There have been massive amounts of money and effort spent to convince you to vote one way or the other. So, as you are making your final decisions, here are a couple of things to consider and share with your family and friends.

1. The YES on 8 campaign has used fear and misinformation to convince you to vote YES, amending the California State Constitution to eliminate the rights of same sex couples to marry. The Los Angeles Times had a great editorial this morning detailing these lies and slight of hand. You can read it here.

2. Many conservatives are voting NO on Prop 8, so if you know people who lean conservative in their politics, arguments like this one, might make a difference.

3. Prominent Republicans have change their mind, including the Mayor of San Diego. Watch this very emotional press conference and pass it along to others you know.

4. Finally, for a review of how events have transpired for Adventists for and against Prop 8, check out this summary from Julius Nam’s blog.


Adventists Against Prop 8 PSA–See Why These Adventists are Voting “NO”

October 13, 2008

Hundreds of Adventists from a broad range of backgrounds and professions have now signed on to the Adventists Against Prop 8 petition. Here are a few Adventist leaders talking about why they’re choosing to vote “no” on Prop 8. Please share this PSA widely. We’d love to hear from you too. Post your own 30 second (or longer) clip on our YouTube channel about why you’re voting “no” on Prop 8.


Defend Religious Liberty – Vote NO on Prop 8

September 19, 2008
We urge Seventh-day Adventists in the State of California to vote “no” on Proposition 8, a ballot initiative titled “Eliminates Right of Same-sex Couples to Marry,” on November 4. We also urge the Seventh-day Adventist Church State Council to rescind its support for this Proposition.

We believe that this Proposition, which would amend the California State Constitution to define marriage as only “between a man and a woman,” breaches the spirit of religious liberty, separation of church and state, and non-establishment of religion that Adventists have long cherished.  By supporting this Proposition to define marriage from a religious perspective, many, including the Church State Council, are in danger of imposing their particular religious, theological convictions upon the general public.

Adventists in the United States have historically defended the concerns of minority groups (even when they have disagreed with them on specific positions and practices) and have strongly objected to the use of religious arguments and means for establishing even what they consider to be public good (such the establishment of “blue laws” to fight widespread alcohol consumption on Sundays or the institution of prayer time in public schools). Adventists, as a people of faith and prophecy who have given special attention to apocalyptic events outlined in Revelation 13 and 14, have always advocated the safeguarding of rights of individuals and groups — even when we have disagreed with them — and the non-intrusion of overtly religious language and rationale in the formation or alteration of public policy.

We believe that Proposition 8 can lead California — and the rest of the nation because of the significance of the state — down a highly troublesome and dangerous road toward religious definitions and arguments becoming a key part in shaping public policy, especially in matters that deal with private practices and rights of individuals.

While individual Adventists will hold a diversity of views on same-sex marriage and the role of religion in public life, all Adventists ought to consider carefully the serious religious liberty and church-state implications that Proposition 8 presents.  We urge the Church State Council to rescind its support for Proposition 8.  We encourage Adventists in California to vote “NO” on Proposition 8.

SIGN THE CHURCH STATE PETITION NOW!

Please share this with your family and friends too. Non-California endorsers are welcome!

(We encourage all the signers to provide their full names.)

To learn more visit our Frequently Asked Questions about Prop 8.

You can also watch (and share) our new Adventists Against Prop 8 PSA.