Sometimes, the Proposition 8 battle seems surreal. But then, so do other serious, emotional and intense conflicts playing out in the nation’s courts and city halls and classrooms and media, over what we knew not long ago as core Judeo-Christian traditional values.

The closing argument by Prop 8 backers is that the marriage of a man and a woman has been the institution at the center of civilization.

Winding up a historic trial over same-sex marriage in California, the lawyer for Proposition 8’s sponsors told a federal judge Wednesday that allowing only men and women to wed promotes responsible sex and child-rearing, and ultimately ensures the future of humanity.

During more than two hours of intense and sometimes skeptical questioning by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, attorney Charles Cooper maintained that society is entitled to reserve its approval of marriage for those who can naturally conceive children.

“The marital relationship is fundamental to the existence and survival of the race,” Cooper said in closing arguments before a packed San Francisco courtroom. The reason the state regulates marriage, he said, is to steer “procreative sexual relationships” into a stable family environment so that children can be raised by their biological parents.

Other federal courts have relied on that argument to uphold measures such as Prop. 8, a November 2008 initiative that prohibited same-sex marriages in California less than six months after the state Supreme Court had legalized them.

The judge was skeptical.

But Walker, who presided over the nation’s first federal trial on the issue, sounded dubious. He note[d] that the state allows couples unable or unwilling to have children to marry, suggesting that the institution has a broader purpose that same-sex partners might equally fulfill.

“Marriage is a right which extends fundamentally to all persons, whether they’re capable of producing children, incarcerated or behind in their child-support…”

So is life. In fact, it’s the first fundamental right defined in the Declaration of Independence. Which is why abortion backers had to resort to the tortured logic of non-existent privacy rights somehow covering the freedom to tend the life of pre-born life….which they conveniently redefined as non-persons until some arbitrary point.

But back to Prop 8

If a judge or a court rules that “marriage is a right which extends fundamentally to all persons” regardless of their circumstances, they’d better be prepared for what will necessarily follow once that precedent is set. Because nothing will stop all sorts of (what we believe are) unimaginable scenarios of pairings or groupings challening why they can be denied the same rights that have now been thrown open “to all”.

Furthermore, the citizens of California voted against same-sex marriage repeatedly.

Cooper said the male-female definition of marriage has been accepted “across cultures, across time,” and that the plaintiffs’ claim that Prop. 8 was rooted in prejudice is “a slur on 7 million Californians” who voted for the measure.

Any way you look at it, this case and the question at the core of it is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Which is only one reason Court watchers are scrutinizing the writings and socio-political ideology of Elena Kagan, on matters that once were settled law.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....