Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians,whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.
Where do I begin? If I was going to analyze this from a Catholic point of view, I would have to break down the relevant issues into a list--for there are several. Those issues do not form a single conglomerate, but belong to different major groups. The biggest questions would be those concerning:
- The relationship between morality, law, and public values.
- The origin and nature of the "right to privacy" and the role of government in legislating matters that have private dimensions and public ramifications.
- The precise reasons for special cultural and/or religious opposition to homosexual behavior.
- The public ramifications of homosexuality (a) as open and practiced, (b) as defining unions that become the center of a family in charge of raising children, and (c) as recognized on equal terms with heterosexuality as a basis for marriage.
- The role of the Supreme Court, and the instruments it uses, in determining the conformity of legislation to a constitution.
- How homosexuality fits within the context of civil rights, and whether it has distinctive characteristics in this context.
- The definition of marriage, the definition of the "right to marry", and the public qualities of marriage as distinct from concrete legal priviledges granted to couples as such.