Tuesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions striking down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and dismissing California’s Proposition 8 appeal brought celebration to some Lodi-area residents — and disappointment to others.
The San Joaquin Pride Center conducted a celebration Wednesday night at Stockton’s Victory Park, while others lamented that the Supreme Court is striking down how God has instructed people to act.
“The repeal of DOMA means that federal government will recognize the validity of gay marriage,” said a happy Christopher Beach, an active member of the Lodi Rainbow Project.
Meanwhile, Pastor Bill Cummins of Bear Creek Community Church in southwest Lodi said that Wednesday was a sad day for America and the world.
“Marriage between a man and a woman has been the foundation that our entire civilization has been built upon since the beginning of time,” Cummins said.
Beach, along with Nicholas Hatten, executive director of the Stockton-based San Joaquin Pride Center, said they know several gay and lesbian couples who said they want to get married.
“People are going to need to get over this divisive issue,” Hatten said Wednesday. “We still need a lot of honest discussions about sexuality.”
Hatten said he’s been surprised, both at people not comfortable with same-sex marriage and others who support it.
“What I wasn’t expecting was how many of my friends are not supportive, but they’re willing to have a discussion,” Hatten said.
Here are some other reactions from area residents:
Pastor Frank Palmer, First Missionary Baptist Church of Woodbridge
“For a long time now, our nation (as a whole) has been moving farther and farther away from God and His Word. It’s not just the gay rights issue that’s in question — it’s anything that has to do with God.
“Whether it’s the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ on our money or the phrase ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance — mankind, in general, continues to rebel against the authority of Almighty God.
“As a child of God, I can’t change anyone, but I can introduce them to the One who can change them into what He desires them to be.”
Pastor Rick Keiser, Family Life Christian Church, Galt
“I don’t think this changes our role as Christ’s disciples; we hold accountable those in the church, and we love everyone. What I think doesn’t matter.”
Naheem “Nick” Qayyum, Lodi Muslim Mosque board member
“Allah the Almighty says in the Quran: ‘O Mankind: Be dutiful to your Lord, who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him He created his wife (Eve), and from him, He created many men and women. And fear Allah through whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an AllWatcher over you.’ (Surah an Nisa: Verse 1).
“Thomas Jefferson stated in regard to slavery, ‘Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.’ Verily, one of the many injustices of our time is the rise of homosexuality and the support of it by our governments. And that we give individuals the right to neglect their communal and societal obligation to help in the advancement and growth of this country of ours. It is one indecency to let man follow their lust desires that go against his natural inclination, but it is another to have the governments and leaders of a country support these desires.’
“Indeed, we need to return to our natural inclinations, and that is to please our Lord, do what he commanded us and refrain from what He made impermissible for us.”
Rev. Terri Miller, Valley Ministries Metropolitan Community Church, Stockton
“The Defense of Marriage (Act) ruling means that same-gender loving people in California will no longer have to file separate tax returns. I wish the Supreme Court would have taken this all the way and addressed the injustice still to come in states that discriminate.
“By dismissing the appeal to Proposition 8, the Supreme Court let stand the victory won before the Supreme Court of California, and same-gender marriages will resume in California. I do thank God for that.
“I know there are some who will say awful things and things that are simply not true about this ruling and about same-gender loving people. As a pastor and religious leader, I stand on the side of a loving God that created all of us in God’s image. We are blessed beyond measure as we make positive strides toward liberty and justice for all people.”
Pastor Frank Nolton, New Hope Community Church, Lodi
“In 1962, we snubbed our noses at God and outlawed prayer in schools. Strike one.
“Then in 1973, we again snubbed our noses at God by legalizing abortion. Strike two.
“Now in 2013, we snubbed our noses at God yet again by giving same-sex marriage federal government recognition and allowing a lower court overturn of Proposition 8 to stand. Strike three. We’re out.
“We have embarked on a frightfully destructive path, and I wonder if God’s patience has finally run out. You don’t continually and arrogantly rebel against our holy, righteous God and expect Him to be silent. I believe His judgment will come at some point. And we deserve it.”
Rabbi Raphael Pazo, Lodi
“Bottom line: This is not and should never be a religious matter. Social change behind the pulpit is never kosher. You can not hide behind the skirts of religion or get preferential tax status when trying to make social change. It doesn’t work.
“Separation of church and state is at the core of our democratic republic. Our society still clings to the idea that the government should and must rule on matters of morality and beliefs, even at the risk and sacrifice of our liberties.
“Our religious freedoms are wide and ample, but it should never be manipulated by a majority that perceives itself as morally superior. We must never impose our particular beliefs, mores, norms or conduct upon others.”
Pastor Bill Cummins, Bear Creek Community Church, Lodi
“I think its very sad that our country’s leaders have chosen to redefine the meaning of marriage. Any intelligent student of history knows that when any civilization embraces homosexual sodomy, that society self-destructs.”
Pastor Patrice MucCular, New Covenant Tabernacle, Lodi
"We are in trouble as a society. We no longer have a voice. Californians showed their hearts and the Supreme Court showed theirs. In the long run our children will bear the fallout."
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at email@example.com.