More Judges. More Marriage Amendments Struck Down. More Confusion Over the 14th Amendment.
Marriage protection amendments voted upon by citizens of individual states are being struck down by judges that were not elected. In fact, even as LGBT activists celebrate the dozen or so states that have watched their will trampled by these federal judges, they don’t realize that another judge could come along and undo it all. That’s the problem.
The issue of marriage is a sensitive one, I get that. But to think that a federal judge imposing his political agenda on an entire state is a victory for freedom or even democracy is ludicrous. Such actions do little more than shred freedom and liberty and further create an environment hostile to the Constitution.
So here we are, reading the news that yet another judge has struck down another voter-approved marriage protection amendment. This time both Virginia and Florida watched as judges simply tossed the voters’ voice aside and decided for the entire state what the definition of marriage will be. And the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, another group of judges, has decided that Oklahoma’s marriage protection amendment is unconstitutional struck it down.
That’s three more traditionally conservative states where LGBT activists and politicians alike had little chance of getting a voter-approved measure legalizing gay “marriage” past the people. So, they circumvented the people, trampled both the Constitution and the voter-approved marriage protection amendments, and forced their will on the entire state.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council notes:
“The Left has long believed packing the federal courts with liberal jurists is the means of fulfilling a radical social agenda, as the American people refuse to endorse that agenda at the polls or through their elected representatives. However, by such a radical departure from natural law and human history, these activist judges are undermining the legitimacy of the courts in the eyes of a majority of Americans. These judges may want to take America over the cultural cliff, but don’t be surprised when more and more Americans refuse to follow.”
Many of these judges are using the 14th Amendment as the basis for their decision. They believe the 14th Amendment is being violated by defending traditional marriage and use it to justify their decidedly un-democratic, un-American actions. But as Ryan T. Anderson notes, using the 14th Amendment to justify marriage redefinition is improper and poor judicial exercise:
“The majority held that ‘the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry’ and that ‘a state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.’ The decision will almost certainly be appealed. Of course the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry—but the Supreme Court decisions that established a fundamental right to marry understood marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In issuing today’s ruling, the court implicitly supplied its own, new answer to the central question in this debate: what is marriage? The only way the 10th Circuit could reach its decision today was to smuggle in a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the States (re)define marriage in such a way.”
The truth that judges and politicians don’t want to pretend exists is that marriage has always been, inherently, understood as the union of one man and one woman. The reason this definition is not explicitly stated in any of our founding documents or in years of past jurisprudence records is that the definition was always understood and not needing any further clarification. Such is no longer the case. Judge Paul Kelly, the lone dissenting judge in the 10th Circuit Court’s decision to strike down the Oklahoma marriage protection amendment, made this clear:
“A strong dissent by Judge Paul Kelly notes that there is nothing in the ‘earlier cases suggesting that marriage has historically been defined as only an emotional union among willing adults.’ He writes that marriage between a man and woman is much more than that and benefits society through strengthening families and communities.
Now we are watching as a very small group of un-elected judicial bureaucrats single handedly seeks to alter our nation’s fundamental understanding of marriage and the Constitution. These activist judges are now going beyond the limits of their power, limits the Supreme Court made clear last year in their DOMA ruling.
In the Supreme Court’s decision against DOMA last year the court made sure to emphasize the right of every state to define marriage for itself. The court, though it had the opportunity, refused to define marriage for the entire country because it recognized that doing so would create another Roe V. Wade scenario – a disaster the court had no intention of creating. So the court respected the right of individual states and their citizens to define marriage for themselves, as they should have done. Unfortunately, activist judges care far less about the will and wishes of the people than the Supreme Court.
And though not every judge is willing to trample the limits of judicial authority; the ones doing so are causing a growing disdain for our court system among Americans. As Judge Kelly has said in his dissent, forcing marriage redefinition on the nation “turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.”
There is no doubt that this issue is heading for the Supreme Court once again. The court will be faced with the decision of either nullifying state marriage laws and defining marriage for the entire country, or, permanently upholding the right of states to define marriage without interference from judicial activists. The outcome, according to Ryan T. Anderson, depends on whether or not “we the people” are actively engaged in the process of defining marriage and defending that definition. Anderson said:
“If marriage ends up back at the Supreme Court again next year, the Court will be less likely to usurp the authority of citizens if it is obvious that citizens are engaged in this democratic debate and care about the future of marriage.”
You can’t sit this one out. We’re all witness to how this issue affects each and every one of us. You will either take action now to defend traditional marriage or you will be forced to act later at a far higher price. Your decision.