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Supreme Court Mandates Same-Sex Marriage

In a ruling sure to spark a wave of protests and civil disobediance, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a decision mandating same-sex marriage that upends millennia of history and guts the rule of law. The 5-4 decision redefines marriage and strips states of their authority to define marriage as between one man and one woman. More on this developing story will be posted as the implications of the decision become clearer.

Our friends at The National Organization for Marriage were among the first to react, releasing the following statement:

Though expected, today’s decision is completely illegitimate. We reject it and so will the American people. It represents nothing but judicial activism, legislating from the bench, with a bare majority of the Justices on the Supreme Court exercising raw political power to impose their own preferences on marriage when they have no constitutional authority to do so. It is a lawless ruling that contravenes the decisions of over 50 million voters and their elected representatives. It is a decision that is reminiscent of other illegitimate Court rulings such as Dred Scott and Roe v Wade and will further plunge the Supreme Court into public disrepute.

Make no mistake about it: The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and countless millions of Americans do not accept this ruling. Instead, we will work at every turn to reverse it.

The US Supreme Court does not have the authority to redefine something it did not create. Marriage was created long before the United States and our constitution came into existence. Our constitution says nothing about marriage. The majority who issued today’s ruling have simply made it up out of thin air with no constitutional authority. 

In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King discussed the moral importance of disobeying unjust laws, which we submit applies equally to unjust Supreme Court decisions. Dr. King evoked the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas that an unjust law or decision is one that is “a human law that is not rooted in eternal law or natural law.”

Today’s decision of the Supreme Court lacks both constitutional and moral authority. 

There is no eternal or natural law that allows for marriage to be redefined. 

This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has issued an immoral and unjust ruling. In 1857, the Court ruled in the infamous Dred Scott v Sandford case that African Americans could not become citizens of the United States and determined that the government was powerless to reject slavery. In 1927 the Court effectively endorsed eugenics by ruling that people with mental illness and other “defectives” could be sterilized against their will, saying “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” And in Roe v Wade, the Court invented a constitutional right to abortion by claiming it was an integral element of the right to privacy. Over 55 million unborn babies have died as a result.

We urge the American people and future presidents to regard today’s decision just as President Abraham Lincoln regarded the Dred Scott ruling when he said in his first inaugural address that “if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made…the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”

Today’s decision is by no means the final word concerning the definition of marriage; indeed it is only the beginning of the next phase in the struggle. NOM is committed to reversing this ruling over the long term and ameliorating it over the short term. 

Specifically:

1. We call on Congress and state governments to move immediately to protect the rights of people who believe in the truth of marriage from being discriminated against by passing the First Amendment Defense Act through Congress, and similar legislation in the various states. 

2. We also call on Congress to advance to the states for consideration a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage in the law as it has existed in reality for the entirety of our nation’s existence – the union of one man and one woman.

3. We call on the American people to make the definition of marriage a pivotal issue in the 2016 presidential contest and to elect a president who will be a true champion for marriage, one who is committed to taking specific steps to restoring true marriage in the law including appointing new justices to the Supreme Court who will have the opportunity to reverse this decision.

4. NOM will work tirelessly along with allies to help change the culture so that Americans have a better understanding of the importance of marriage to children, families and society as a whole.

While today’s decision of the Supreme Court is certainly disappointing, it is not demoralizing to those of us who fervently believe in the truth of marriage and its importance to societal flourishing. Indeed, the decision will be energizing. Just as the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade infused the pro-life movement with new energy and commitment, so too will the decision today reawaken the American people to join the marriage movement.

Our prayer for America is that today’s injustice can be corrected quickly, sparing the nation decades of anguish of the kind that has followed the Court’s decision in Roe.

The American Family Association says the ruling is a blatant rejection of the rule of law and a direct threat to religious freedom.

“This morning’s ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation’s highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people.

“There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. But to the Court, we send this unequivocal message: We will continue to uphold God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman, and we call on all Christians to continue to pray for the nation, and for those whose religious liberties will be directly impacted by this ruling.”

In the years leading up to the landmark SCOTUS case, voters in 31 states had acted through the democratic process to uphold marriage and the family. Yet, same-sex marriage was legalized in 36 states, due in large part to overreaching judges who chose to disregard the will of the people and cater to those who advocate for homosexuality.  

Nationwide, according to the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, just over 3.3 million individuals voted for same-sex marriage in three states—Maine, Maryland and Washington State—compared to more than 41 million who voted for marriage protection amendments or bans on same-sex marriage in 31 states—a ratio of more than 12 to 1.

The Heritage Foundation's Ryan T. Anderson issued the following statement:

Today is a significant setback for all Americans who believe in the Constitution, the rule of law, democratic self-government, and marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court got it wrong: it should not have mandated all 50 states to redefine marriage.

This is judicial activism: nothing in the Constitution requires the redefinition of marriage, and the Court imposed its judgment about a policy matter that should be decided by the American people and their elected representatives. The Court got marriage and the Constitution wrong today just like they got abortion and the Constitution wrong 42 years ago with Roe v. Wade. Five unelected judges do not have the power to change the truth about marriage or the truth about the Constitution.

The Court summarized its ruling in this way—which highlights that they have redefined marriage, substituting their own opinion for that of the citizens:

The limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples may long have seemed natural and just, but its inconsistency with the central mean­ing of the fundamental right to marry is now manifest.

Manifest to five unelected judges that is. Not to the majority of American citizens who voted to define marriage correctly. As Chief Justice Roberts pointed out in dissent:

If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex mar­riage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the oppor­tunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.

That’s exactly right. When it comes to the majority opinion, the Constitution “had nothing to do with it.”

We must work to restore the constitutional authority of citizens and their elected officials to make marriage policy that reflects the truth about marriage. We the People must explain what marriage is, why marriage matters, and why redefining marriage is bad for society.

For marriage policy to serve the common good it must reflect the truth that marriage unites a man and a woman as husband and wife so that children will have both a mother and a father. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and woman are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father.

The government is not in the marriage business because it’s a sucker for adult romance. No, marriage isn’t just a private affair; marriage is a matter of public policy because marriage is society’s best way to ensure the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage acts as a powerful social norm that encourages men and women to commit to each other so they will take responsibility for any children that follow.

Redefining marriage to make it a genderless institution fundamentally changes marriage: It makes the relationship more about the desires of adults than about the needs—or rights—of children. It teaches the lie that mothers and fathers are interchangeable.

Because the Court has inappropriately redefined marriage everywhere, there is urgent need for policy to ensure that the government never penalizes anyone for standing up for marriage. As discussed in my new book, Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom, we must work to protect the freedom of speech, association, and religion of those who continue to abide by the truth of marriage as union of man and woman.

At the federal level, the First Amendment Defense Act is a good place to start. It says that the federal government cannot discriminate against people and institutions that speak and act according to their belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. States need similar policies.

Recognizing the truth about marriage is good public policy. Today’s decision is a significant set-back to achieving that goal. We must work to reverse it and recommit ourselves to building a strong marriage culture because so much of our future depends upon it.

Our friend John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council issued this statement shortly after the Supreme Court's decision was announced:

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on marriage, Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger issued the following statement:

"This sad day in history will forever reflect the that highest court of our land ignored the rule of law and the will of 51 million people in over 38 states in an illegitimate act of raw judicial power and arrogance.

Though countless millions of U.S. voters have defined marriage as between a man and a woman through the legitimate democratic process, a handful of judges in one decision today have disenfranchised them.  The court deliberately ignored the plain meaning and legal history behind the Constitution and foolishly disregarded what is self-evident in biology, logic and the collective wisdom of human history. 

Regardless of how it appears, today’s decision is not the final word on marriage.  The U.S. Supreme Court has been wrong before, as in the case of Dredd Scott when the court attempted to declare that black people were not persons. The court was also wrong in Roe vs. Wade when it effectively declared that unborn children were not persons.  Once again, the court is wrong today in its attempt to force all 50 states and all U.S. citizens to legally declare that marriage is something other than the union of one man and one woman. 

Marriage, and the children and families created by them, is not merely a legal or political issue.  These institutions are matters which define the human experience and are necessary to the building of a civil society. 

Today’s ‘redefinition of marriage’ by the U.S. Supreme Court not only affects the institution of marriage and states’ rights, it also represents a frontal assault on religious liberty and free speech. 

Core First Amendment rights that Americans for centuries have bled and died for are being trampled in just a matter of years and is now beginning to occur on a regular basis.  Our morally declining society together with judicial activism in our courts, is opening the flood gates for legal attacks and discrimination against U.S. citizens who hold those rights dear.  Pastors and churches, Christians and those of other conservative faiths, non-profits, grant recipients, religious schools, businesses providing wedding services, and clerks of courts will become the next targets for attack as a result of the decision today.  The weapon used in these attacks are deceptively called ‘non-discrimination ordinances’. 

Our response to this is that we double down on our efforts to rebuild a culture of marriage.  We will never concede and we will never give up.  Whether it takes decades or multiple generations, we will rebuild a culture of marriage.  It may even get worse in the short-term before it gets better, but in order for this civil society to flourish once again, we must have a clear understanding of what marriage is and why it is important to our culture, society and social order.

We have only to watch the evening news to see the results of the breakdown of marriage and the family unit in our society.  The tragic riots and mass illegal behavior that took place recently in Baltimore and other U.S. cities are examples of the consequences in a society when marriage and family structures break down or fail to form. 

Homosexual rights activists love to accuse people who believe in marriage as being “on the wrong side of history?  However, the reality of what marriage is, will never be on the wrong side of history.   

The little boy in the inner city who longs to have a father in his life-- that longing, will never be on the wrong side of history.

The little girl with two dads who wishes she had a mother to help her understand the changes in her body--- that wish, will never be in the wrong side of history. 

The unique and complimentary design and beauty of a man and a woman’s body will never be on the wrong side of history.

The teachings and books of every major world religion will never be on the wrong side of history. 

Natural marriage celebrates true diversity and gender inclusively when the two great parts of humanity come together and life springs forth and the next generation is born.  These truths will never be on the wrong side of history. 

In the midst of this moral and legal madness we still should still have great hope for the future.  Our country has recovered before from times of social, legal and political division and I believe we can again.  After the Civil War, the civil rights movement, and other times, our country returned to its foundational principles of human dignity deeply rooted in the Christian tradition.  Even in the case of Roe vs. Wade, while the loss of human life has been absolutely devastating, the good news is that America is turning back to her roots, finding her way home as it were, and is more “pro-life” today than it has been in recent decades.  Americans and Floridians have corrected their course before, and we will do it again."

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