By Tony Perkins
While it appears that most state leaders are content to allow the federal courts to overturn state marriage laws and impose their own marriage policy on the nation, the elected judges of Alabama have said not on our watch! In a huge victory for the rule of law and the foundational principle of federalism, the Alabama Supreme Court, absent Chief Justice Roy Moore, ruled to reinstate the state’s marriage amendment in a stunning 150-page rebuke of U.S. District Court Judge Callie Granade.
With just one dissenter (whose objections were procedural), the Court put a freeze on the gay “weddings” that had been taking place over the last couple of weeks. “As it has done for approximately two centuries,” the judges wrote, “Alabama law allows for ‘marriage’ between only one man and one woman. Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty.”
In other words, state courts don’t take their orders from lower federal courts. Chief Justice Moore, who led the initial resistance to Granade’s order in the probate courts, recused himself from the case. In order to address the duty of probate judges, the state’s high court had to address the underlying issue of the definition of marriage.
“(M)arriage has always been between members of the opposite sex. The obvious reason for this immutable characteristic is nature. Men and women complement each other biologically and socially,” Alabama’s Supreme Court explained. Legal experts believe this may be the first time that a state supreme court has challenged a federal court in this way. And it’s easy to see why!
Unlike other states, these judges are elected by the people — whose opposition to same-sex “marriage” is growing by the day. New polls out by both Rasmussen and WPA Opinion show that Americans are getting cold feet on redefining marriage. Based on these numbers, support is dropping to its lowest level in over a year — leading more people to believe that the jury is still out on the issue, at least in the court of public opinion.
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.)
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.