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Cardinal Roger Mahony Slams Prop. 8 Decision

On his blog on Wednesday, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who leads the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, slammed U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker for overturning Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that took away the existing right of gays and lesbians to legally marry in California.

In a post titled, "Judge Walker Got It Wrong," Mahony writes, "There is only one issue before each of us Californians: Is Marriage of Divine or of Human Origin?

"Judge Walker pays no attention to this fundamental issue, and relies solely upon how Prop. 8 made certain members of society 'feel' about themselves."

Mahony is often considered a "liberal" among the mainstream press, primarily because of his work on immigrant rights. The cardinal, though, championed Proposition 8 in 2008.

Mahony, for example, spoke in Spanish in radio ads that urged Latino voters to pass the anti-gay marriage ballot measure.

A month after Prop. 8 was passed, when the gay community was boycotting supporters of the initiative and marching in the streets of Los Angeles, the cardinal appeared to backtrack from his position, writing in The Tidings:

"Your intrinsic value as human beings and as brothers and sisters continues without change. If we had ever thought that the intent of this proposition was to harm you or anyone in the State of California, we would not have supported it. We are personally grateful for the witness and service of so many dedicated and generous homosexual Catholics. We pledge our commitment to safeguard your dignity."

Mahony, however, still doesn't seem to understand how Prop. 8 has harmed gay and lesbian Catholics as he railed against Walker's decision on Wednesday:

"Judge Walker assumes that the institution of marriage is of human and civil origin, and therefore, that 'marriage' can mean anything any person wishes to ascribe to the institution. Wrong.

"The union of a man and of a woman in a life-long loving and caring relationship is of divine origin. No human nor civil power can decree or declare otherwise.

"It is too bad that Judge Walker chose to listen to anguished voices about their perception of marriage rather than plumb the depths of the origin of this divinely inspired institution.

"For many of us, we will continue to believe that God is the origin of marriage, and we will follow God's constant revelation to that effect.

"We in the Roman Catholic Community are totally 'pro-marriage' and 'pro-family' precisely in the understanding God gave when the first human beings received the breath of God's spirit."

Mahony will leave the archdiocese next year and be replaced by Archbishop Jose Gomez, who's known for practicing a kind of orthodox Catholicism.

In recent months, Mahony has been dealing, once again, with an ongoing, years-long controversy over how he personally handled a sex abuse scandal in the L.A. archdiocese. In 2007, Mahony signed off on a huge, $660-million settlement for sex abuse victims.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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