Speak Now or Forever Forfeit Marriage
By Tony Perkins
The Supreme Court may be running away from the marriage issue, but conservatives certainly aren’t. In the hours after yesterday’s non-decision decision, GOP leaders from governor’s mansions to senate seats filled the silence left by the SCOTUS’s justices with an indignation of their own.
Most were incensed that the high court turned down — not one, but five — state marriage cases, leaving voters to fend for themselves against out-of-control judges who seem quite content substituting their own view for that of the law and those elected to make it. “Because of the Court’s (actions) today,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fumed, “11 States will likely now be forced to legalize same-sex marriage: Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. And this action paves the way for laws prohibiting same-sex marriage to be overturned in any state. This is judicial activism at its worst.”
It was a grave betrayal — not just to the 41,020,548 Americans who’ve passed marriage referendums — but to the democratic process, which apparently now hinges on a handful of black-robed extremists. For state leaders like Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), the idea that her state’s legally-enacted laws could be wadded up on the whim of unelected judges and trashed is astonishing. “Today’s decision has been cast by the media as a victory for gay rights,” she told reporters. “What has been ignored, however, is the right of Oklahomans and Americans in every state, to write their own laws and govern themselves as they see fit. Those rights have once again been trampled by an arrogant, out-of-control federal government that wants to substitute Oklahoma values with Washington, D.C. values.”
Next door, in Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) was ready to push back against the judicial arrogance erasing American laws. “I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas,” Brownback said. “An overwhelming majority of Kansas voters amended the Constitution to include a definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Activist judges should not overrule the people of Kansas.” In Utah, where yesterday’s announcement threatens to start a statewide firestorm, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) shook his head in disbelief at the high court’s failure to act.
“Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges. The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right.”
Others, in states where leaders are desperately trying to protect the rule of law, the outrage is turning into a new resolve to act. “The Supreme Court should step in and stand up for the right of Americans to make their own marriage policies,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), whose Buckeyes are fending off a few of the 92 court cases threatening the people’s voice on marriage. Fortunately for conservatives, this isn’t a state issue but a party one. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus left little doubt where Republicans stand heading into the midterm elections.
“We’ve been pretty consistent and clear. We believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. I’m not running from that position.” Nor, based on the latest polls, should he. As more Americans learn that this is about liberty — not love — the honeymoon is over for some voters on same-sex “marriage.”
Support for the idea is actually dropping, a new survey shows, from 54% to 49% just in the last few months. More people share Sen. Cruz’s beliefs, which are that “traditional marriage is an institution whose integrity and vitality are critical to the health of any society. We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it.” He certainly intends to — not only with his State Marriage Defense Act, but by leading the effort to take the matter out of the courts’ hands and put it back into the people’s, where it belongs.
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.
(Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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