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FIRST-PERSON: San Francisco & Judge Roy Moore

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–It has been just over a week since San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered city officials to begin issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples. In spite of the fact the mayor and his minions are violating California law by issuing fraudulent documents, at the time of this writing precious little has been done by state officials.

To date, approximately 3,000 homosexual “marriages” have been approved.

Those opposed to the civil disobedience taking place in the City by the Bay took their case to court in an effort to halt the issuance of the bogus licenses. Thus far, judges have refused to put a stop to it.

One magistrate rejected the plaintiff’s petition because it contained a “misplaced semicolon.” The judge commented, “I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal,” he told the group’s attorneys, concluding, “I don’t have the authority to issue it under these circumstances.”

A misplaced semicolon? Petty? Now who would think that was petty?

Not only are judges missing-in-action over Mayor Newsom’s flouting of California law, but recently-elected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has done nothing more than issue a statement that “vigorously defends” the state in a suit filed by San Francisco. Yes, San Francisco is suing the state.

The governor could bring an end to San Francisco’s three-ring circus by arresting the mayor. However, it appears that “Arnold the Terminator” is only a celluloid character and not an enforcer of the law.

Ironic, isn’t it? A misplaced semicolon is significant enough to keep a judge from issuing a legal decision, but an elected official’s blatant disregard for the law is not meaningful enough to warrant intervention by law enforcement.

It is worth noting that a couple of arrests have been made. Two individuals protesting the lawlessness taking place at the courthouse were taken into custody for trespassing. A spokesperson from the San Francisco sheriff’s office said, “They were singled out for arrest because they were the only ones who did not obey sheriff’s deputies’ requests to leave the interior of city hall.”

Again, the irony is amazing. Those breaking the law are ignored and allowed to operate unabated while those protesting the situation are incarcerated. Should the protestors have been jailed for refusing to obey the orders of sheriff’s deputies? Absolutely. Should Newsom and San Francisco city officials be treated in similar fashion for violating California law? Yes.

Since I am pointing out the ironies of the San Francisco situation, I might as well pile on. The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, has been strangely silent on Newsom’s civil disobedience. However, this past summer the Gray Lady had much to say about another high-profile case involving similar behavior.

When Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore defied a federal court order to remove a memorial to the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building’s rotunda, The New York Times had much to say. In four separate editorials, Judge Moore’s civil disobedience was described as: “lack of respect for the rule of law,” “disregard for constitutional and federal sovereignty,” “embarrassing defiance” and “demagoguery about the Ten Commandments.”

Contrast The Times’ assessment of Judge Moore’s behavior with that of the mayor of San Francisco. In the week since Newsom began to defy state law, The New York Times has not uttered a single solitary editorial comment about the civil disobedience taking place in California.

Practice civil disobedience over an issue like separation of church and state and The New York Times will vilify you. However, defy state law in order to affirm homosexual behavior and The Times will give you a pass. In reality, the editors of the Gray Lady are giving Newsom a “thumbs up” by their silence.

A final irony could be that Mayor Newsom’s desire to promote homosexual “marriage” by defying California law could backfire. “I was sorry to see the San Francisco thing go forward,” said Barney Frank, an openly gay congressman from Massachusetts.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Frank expressed concern that the image of lawlessness and civil disobedience in San Francisco would lead some in Congress to support a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

If the lack of response to Mayor Newsom’s civil disobedience has done nothing else, it has placed on display for the nation the ultimate desire of homosexual activists. They want their lifestyle not just tolerated, they want homosexuality celebrated as natural, normal and healthy. They want gay relationships to be accepted as equal with heterosexual matrimony.

It appears that the only way to prevent the current situation in San Francisco from one day legally repeating itself in your town is by an amendment to the United States Constitution.
Kelly Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore., and chairman of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Committee of the Northwest Baptist Convention. His column appears in Baptist Press each Friday.
For more information on the debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit BP’s story collection at:

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  • Kelly Boggs