Judges Redefine Marriage

Ask anyone today what he or she thinks about “marriage” and you are bound to get an earful about homosexuals and equal rights.

Since the gay lobby has utterly failed to convince the majority of Americans as well as our elected representatives that traditional marriage between a man and a woman should be abolished, they have turned their attention to the ever so active judicial system.  Tired of those citizens who decry the destruction of marriage and the two-parent family, homosexuals are now relying on activist judges to grant them access to tax breaks, educational incentives, and even the right to parent.

The first victory for homosexuals came in 1993 when the Hawaii Supreme Court declared same-sex couples had a right to obtain a marriage license, and the state’s Equal Rights Amendment was therefore unconstitutional.  The voters, however, responded in force, and in 1998 passed a constitutional amendment overturning the Baehr v. Lewin decision.  Other states have responded in-kind by rebuking their state courts for clearly ruling against morality and the will of the people.

Some states, however, have fallen to the pressures of the gay lobby, and in 2000, then Governor Howard Dean of Vermont signed the nation’s first “civil union” law, which has been a model for gay activists across the country.  Thankfully they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to persuade other states to pass similar laws, or even to recognize Vermont’s statute.

The most troubling act by any state court, nevertheless, was in Massachusetts in 2003, when the State Supreme Court mandated same-sex marriage licenses and then instructed the state legislature on exactly how to write it into law (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health).  Ignoring the legal definition of marriage, countless social science statistics against same-sex marriage, and judicial precedent supporting traditional marriage, the court re-wrote the law…for the legislature.  In the majority opinion, the court points out, “Certainly our decision today marks a significant change in the definition of marriage as it has been inherited from the common law, and understood by many societies for centuries.”  These judges had no authority to change the definition of marriage. They simply convinced themselves that they alone could change social policy and make new law.

However, we cannot simply blame the state courts for tearing apart the American family; the U.S. Supreme Court is just as responsible.  It was in 1996, in Romer v. Evans, that the Supreme Court decided it was clearly more educated (and powerful) than the people of Colorado who overwhelmingly voted in favor of a referendum prohibiting local municipalities from granting special protected status to homosexuals.  Mistakenly, the Court claimed such a referendum was without a rational basis and was “born of animosity” towards homosexuals …perhaps instead it is the Court that is showing animosity towards traditional marriage and the citizens of Colorado.

States across the country have responded, nevertheless, and more and more are passing constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage every year.  Efforts to further strengthen the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are also gaining steam as states work to ensure they will not have to recognize civil unions or same-sex marriage licenses from states like Massachusetts.  With your continued involvement to protect and strengthen marriage between a man and a woman, the institution of marriage will survive, but your elected officials must be empowered by your support because these decisions should not be made by judges.

Whether it is gay-marriage today or multiple marriages tomorrow, the bedrock of the American society, the family, is in jeopardy, and as President Lyndon B. Johnson rightly noted, “When the family collapses, it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale, the community itself is crippled.”

Lecture 3 Quiz