The Supreme Court ruling requiring states to recognize “same-sex marriage” not only failed to resolve the controversy, it has triggered a wave of vows to ignore the court, caused respect for its opinions to plummet and put momentum behind a bar federal judges from ruling on the issue.
“This ruling by the five lawyers is no law at all,” said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, a prominent legal defender of biblical marriage. “It is lawless and must be treated as such.”
Multitudes of Americans joined in pledging to not submit to the decision, and Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion described it as “five lawyers” shutting down debate and enacting “their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law.”
Roberts pointed out the Constitution doesn’t refer to marriage.
“Just who do we think we are?” he asked.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants to remove the government from marriage completely.
“Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do – taxed it, regulated it and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right,” he said.
Paul pointed out that some states are “beginning to understand this as they begin to get out of the marriage licensing business altogether.”
Vote to limit
Some want Congress to limit the courts’ jurisdiction over marriage issues.
A recent iteration of that idea comes from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, whose plan was announced just weeks ago.
“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution,” he said then. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control and abortion. These unenumerated, so-called constitutionally protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”
The bill stipulates that federal courts wouldn’t have jurisdiction over marriage, which is not mentioned in the Constitution.
In Alabama, the state Supreme Court, which already has challenged the authority of a federal judge regarding marriage, noted Monday there is a 25-day period in which case participants can petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a rehearing.
The Alabama court is accepting comments on its own orders against same-sex marriage in a case brought by the Alabama Policy Institute and Alabama Citizens Action Program against a federal judge’s ruling that the state must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Friday said states cannot refuse to issue licenses to same-sex duos, nor can they refuse to recognize licenses from other states.
‘We must not pretend’ opinion ‘should be respected’
“We must not pretend that the opinion of five lawyers should be respected as the rule of law,” Staver said. “The marriage decision is so far removed from the Constitution that it is merely the opinion of five people. The only authority the justices of the Supreme Court have is the Constitution of the United States. But five lawyers violated their oath by disregarding the Constitution and seeking to impose their own opinion.
“These five lawyers are entitled to their own opinion, however wrong it may be, but they have no authority to impose their personal opinion on the rest of the country.”
At Conservative Review, Daniel Horowitz said the Supreme Court has threatened the nation’s foundational principle.
“We have seen the court redefine statutes. We have seen the court redefine the Constitution like they did with Obamacare and in Roe v. Wade. But now we witness the court go a step further and void out natural law, the very foundation on which the Declaration of Independence was constructed – the document that asserts fundamental rights and liberties.”
The decision, he said, was based on “indefensible” assertions and “is not just immoral.”
“It is irrational and illegal,” he said of the majority opinion written by Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Exclusive province of the states
Horowitz pointed out that in a previous case, Kennedy acknowledged, “Regulation of domestic relations is an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the states.”
Horowitz noted Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has a plan to protect religious liberty, and Sen. Ted Cruz is on board with a plan to “strip the courts of their jurisdiction over marriage.”
“They say there is a fundamental right to abrogate the laws of nature that God has established as fundamental rights in the first place,” Horowitz wrote.
Two years ago, WND reported on the movement to remove government from marriage.
David Boaz of the Cato Institute asked in a 1997 Slate commentary why government should be in the business of “decreeing” who can and cannot be married.
Conservative talk host Larry Elder told WND readers in 2004 that marriage licenses made as much sense as licensing barbers or taxi-cab drivers. The state should “leave marriage to non-governmental institutions like churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship or private institutions.”
Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul said in 2012 that he “would like the state to stay out of marriage.”
“A voluntary association shouldn’t be interfered with by the state, so I’d just as soon that the state not issue licenses or define marriage,” he said.
Paul wanted to “let the individual, let two people define marriage,” arguing it “would get rid of this whole debate and we wouldn’t be arguing over the definition of marriage.”
But Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, said marriage deserves a privileged place in the law because it brings benefits “that are important to the well-being of society as a whole and not just a couple.”
Chief among those benefits is children “for the continuance of the human race.” Marriage is “the only type of relationship that results in the [natural generation of children] and provides children with both a mother and father,” he said.
‘Marriage can exist without the state’
“Marriage can exist without the state and in fact the institution predates the state,” said Sprigg. Even so, “there is value in having the state recognize marriage, because without that recognition it would be much more difficult to protect the rights and obligations of spouses and to distribute the benefits that the state gives.”
Herbert W. Titus, former dean of the Regent University School of Law and Government, pointed out that marriage licenses actually serve a useful purpose because they “screen out those people who were violating the rules the Bible laid down as to who could be married and who could not be married.”
He cited Leviticus 18, which forbids sexual relations between close relations, family members and individuals of the same sex.
But once the law allows same-sex marriage, Titus said, “then it’s very difficult to see that there are any … barriers to marriage,” and that opens the door to sodomy and polygamy.
WND reported shortly after last week’s decision some state legislators and judges are considering getting out of the marriage business entirely, refusing to offer licenses to anyone.
Mississippi State House Judiciary Chairman Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, told the Jackson Clarion Ledger one possibility could be for the state to quit issuing licenses.
“One of the options that other states have looked at is removing the state marriage license requirement,” Gipson said. “We will be researching what options there are. I personally can see pros and cons to that. I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not. But it’s an option out there to be considered.”
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he’s reviewing the state’s options.
The idea also surfaced in Oklahoma this year, where the House passed a bill that would remove state judges and county clerks from the whole process, leaving clergy and notaries to sign marriage papers.
Pull the plug
And in Alabama, two probate judges have pulled the plug on weddings altogether.
Probate Judge Wes Allen, who issues marriage licenses in Pike County, Alabama, said in a statement: “My office discontinued issuing marriage licenses in February, and I have no plans to put Pike County back into the marriage business. The policy of my office regarding marriage is no different today than it was yesterday.”
Friday’s Supreme Court’s decision, Judge Allen argued, didn’t void the Alabama law that says “marriage licenses may be issued by the judges of probate” in the state.
Also, in Geneva County, Alabama, Judge Fred Hamic declared, “I will not be doing any more ceremonies.”
As WND reported in October, Idaho state Sen. Steve Vick told Radio America’s Greg Corombos he was seriously considering legislation to get the state government out of marriage entirely because he fears churches will be the next target in the aggressive homosexual agenda.
Similar proposals were developing in Texas and Louisiana.