It’s full-steam ahead for homosexual marriage in Massachusetts next week, after the United States Supreme Court refused today to block America’s first state-sanctioned same-sex ceremonies from taking place there.
Since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s revolutionary Goodridge v. Department of Public Health ruling last November – in which the state’s highest court fundamentally re-defined marriage – opponents have sought to stop the same-sex marriage juggernaut the Massachusetts jurists put in motion.
In the intervening six months, a wildfire of thousands of same-sex marriage ceremonies, starting in San Francisco, were conducted across the nation, in open defiance of the law.
Today, without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court justices declined to intervene in the case by prohibiting clerks from issuing marriage licenses to homosexual couples in Massachusetts. November’s decision mandated same-sex couples be allowed to marry beginning Monday.
However, the decision by the nation’s highest court was narrow, and didn’t actually address the merits of the claims, put forth by same-sex marriage opponents, that the Bay State’s Supreme Judicial Court overstepped its bounds in changing thousands of years of marriage law and tradition.
The action was brought by several public interest law firms including, Liberty Counsel. It’s president and general counsel, Mathew Staver, told the Associated Press he was disappointed, but still looks forward to arguing the case – on its merits – in June before a federal appeals court, and later in the year before the U.S. Supreme Court.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Liberty Counsel and several other constitutional-law organizations, along with 11 legislators, filed the lawsuit Monday, arguing the court overstepped its bounds by establishing same-sex marriage in its highly controversial decision. The suit asks the court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the enforcement of the ruling and to stop the issuance and recording of marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples. In their lawsuit, the groups say marriage is an issue for the legislative and executive branches in Massachusetts to define, not the judiciary.
Staver has asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case, saying, “We will appeal this case as far as necessary to ensure that the separation of powers principal is upheld in Massachusetts. The republican representative form of government must be restored so the people can have a chance to define marriage.”
In its November ruling, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court admitted: “We are mindful that our decision marks a change in the history of our marriage law.”
It stayed its decision for 180 days to allow the Massachusetts Legislature time to respond to the decision. The Legislature then passed an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman only. But under Massachusetts law, the earliest the voters can vote to approve the amendment is 2006.
According to a statement from the Liberty Counsel, the lawsuit argues that the court’s decision violates Article 4, Section 4, of the United States Constitution, which is called the Guarantee Clause. That clause guarantees that every state in the union will have a republican form of government. The Guarantee Clause, which was a requirement for states to be admitted into the union, places the federal government in the position of a referee over the states to ensure that the states follow a republican form of government.
The lawsuit claims the clause is violated in this case because the Massachusetts court usurped the power of the Legislature and the governor in hearing the Goodridge case and in redefining marriage.
“This is a setback,” Staver said today after the Supreme Court’s action, according to the Associated Press, but “certainly not the end of the road. We’re going to continue to the next step, and after that, we look forward to arguing the case before the Supreme Court, whether we win or lose – that’s where the case will ultimately end.”
Predictably, those favoring homosexual marriage were elated. “Couples who aren’t tied in to the recent legal and legislative actions have been nervous wrecks about whether they could marry starting Monday,” Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, told the Associated Press. “Now they can all breathe a sigh of relief.”