Valley Church Responds to Gay Marriage Decision

5/18/2008 Fresno, CA Jim Franklin with Fresno's cornerstone church says the court hijacked the will of the people, but another Fresno church says it's an issue of human rights.

Franklin told his congregation Sunday, "If we allow this to happen we are going to open Pandora's Box." Franklin told church-goers if the California Supreme Court's ban on gay marriage is upheld, their free speech and religious rights could be taken.

At Cornerstone, many believe the court overstepped its boundaries when it overturned a statute approved by voters back in 2000 that defined marriage between a man and a woman. Franklin called the decision a travesty. "In reality, the will of the people has been railroaded," said Franklin.

Manuel Sanchez of Clovis agrees. "California people voted that we want to keep it as husband and wife, male and female, and the courts have no right to do this," said Sanchez.

At northeast Fresno's Wesley United Methodist church the court's decision is being hailed as a positive step. Pastor Vicky Healy said, "The majority is not always right. And because the majority said they want something, it doesn't make it right… especially when it comes to human rights."

David Chambers said the court's decision now gives him the rights of every other citizen in California. "I was born gay. It wasn't my choice to be this way. And I should have the rights given to me by the California constitution and the United States constitution," said Chambers.

Still, both sides agree the fight isn't over yet. Back at Cornerstone, church-goers were urged to register to vote so they can vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

The decision of the California Supreme Court will take effect in about four weeks. But gay marriage opponents are asking for a stay until the fall election.

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