Opponents Challenge Gay Marriage Ruling

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Gay couples in California are singing for joy, thanks to a 4-3 decision by the California Supreme Court to overturn the state's gay marriage ban.

The court's ruling nullifies a law approved by the voters of California in 2000 that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

As a result, the state is expecting a flood of new marriage applications from gay couples.

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom--a longtime advocate of gay marriage-- says the court's decision will spark a nationwide trend.

"As California goes, so goes the rest of the nation. It's inevitable," he said. "This door is wide open now. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. This is the future, and it's now."

But opponents of gay marriage are not laying down without a fight.

Pro-family groups are trying to add an amendment to the state's constitution that would ban gay marriage.

Californians would vote on the law in November, potentially rendering the court's decision null and void.

"Marriage is distinctly exclusive and special, and it has just been assaulted," Randy Thompson of the Campaign for Children and Families said.

There's been some concern that California pastors may face lawsuits if they refuse to marry gays.

But Sarah Seitz of the Washington-based liberty counsel says that won't happen.

"Pastors will continue to be protected as they were prior to this decision--based on the free exercise clause--due to the nature of their job and because of their sincerely held religious beliefs," she explained. "So they will not be forced to perform marriage ceremonies for same sex couples."

California's secretary of state is expected to rule by the end of June whether the traditional marriage initiative will be on the ballot in the fall.

All of the presidential candidates say they are against gay marriage.

But they seem to agree that states, not judges, should decide how to treat same-sex couples.

Pope Benedict weighed in Friday, calling traditional marriage between a man and a woman "the natural cradle of human life" that "cannot be substituted by, confused with, or compared to other types of unions."

*Original broadcast May 16, 2008.

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News

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