Do you think the courts have been busy with marriage cases? Wait until you see what happens as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision establishing a right to “same-sex marriage.”
That’s the opinion of several outspoken leaders who have been legally engaged with the issue, from a judge to an attorney and even a sitting state attorney general.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Ken Connelly told WND on Wednesday that the old maxim about conflicting rights applies to the dispute over same-sex marriage: Person A has a right to swing a fist, but that right ends where person B’s nose starts.
“It is unassailable that by redefining marriage, the Supreme Court has set up a clash between the asserted right to same-sex marriage and religious liberty,” he said.
In the ongoing conflict prompted by same-sex couples who demand wedding-related services from Christian business owners, he believes it’s clear which right should prevail.
“I can’t think of a situation where this invented right should trump religious liberty, whether they be a public official or a private individual,” Connelly said.
He anticipates, however, that many courts will not respect First Amendment religious rights, even with additional federal and state laws protecting them.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has recused himself from some marriage cases in his state because of his public stance on the issue, pointed, in an interview with WND, to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent last week.
Thomas warned of the wide range of implications for religious liberty as a result of the court’s endorsement of same-sex marriage.
He said it’s inevitable that the two rights will come into conflict.
And Thomas noted that the majority appeared “unmoved” by the looming clash.
Moore said the opinion from “five lawyers” on the court, as Chief Justice John Roberts described the majority, is dangerous because it calls same-sex marriage a fundamental right.
“People have no idea what the future holds with regards to same-sex marriage,” he said.
It was Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton who released an opinion that county clerks in his state can choose not to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
He cited the clerks’ religious freedom.
“County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses,” he said. “The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”
He was immediately blasted by the left. At Think Progress, attorney Neel Lane, who has represented same-sex duos, said Paxton’s advice was “legally deficient,” falsely suggesting citizens’ First Amendment religious rights will be bulldozed.
Nowhere is the marriage conflict more apparent than in Alabama, where traditional marriage long has had strong support. Last winter, U.S. District Judge Callie Granade ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriage. But the state Supreme Court ruled probate judges are not required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Granade has renewed her order that the state abrogate the will of its voters.
ABC reported on Wednesday that there still were a handful of counties in Alabama refusing to grant marriage license to same-sex partners.
The report said same-sex marriage advocates were considering seeking penalties for those who disagree with them, no matter if that person was exercising his or her First Amendment right to practice a religious faith.
Granade’s order doesn’t affect counties where officials simply stopped granting marriage licenses.
Shannon Minter of the special-rights group National Center for Lesbian Rights, called for contempt charges against officials who refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Some clerks in Arkansas and Mississippi have decided to resign rather than be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In an interview with Al.com, Moore compared the Supreme Court’s marriage decision to the court’s infamous Dred Scott ruling, which determined blacks are not equal to whites.
He pointed out the nation fought the Civil War to resolve that error.
Moore told the media outlet: “I’m not disputing that the Supreme Court ruling is not a precedent for the lower courts. But I am saying that it’s not in accordance with the Constitution.”
Moore argues the Supreme Court ruling on marriage is an “interpretation” of the Constitution, not the law itself. He said the law of the land is the U.S. Constitution.
“What we are talking about here is an interpretation of the Constitution,” he said.
“”In the Dred Scott case (1856 U.S. Supreme Court ruling) the Supreme Court ruled that blacks were property, not citizens of the U.S.,” said Moore. “That was the interpretation of the majority of the court. Were they right? Of course not.”
He continued: “Judges interpret the Constitution and if you interpret it as Justice Kennedy did (and four other justices) then same sex marriage is constitutional. But if you interpret it as justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito and Thomas did, it is not constitutional. And not only is it not constitutional … it contradicts the Constitution and as Justice Thomas said it is at odds with the Constitution and the principles on which this nation were founded.”
WND reported a day ago the negative reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision was surging, with clerks quitting, judges dropping all procedures to issue any marriage licenses and even one U.S. senator telling people it should be ignored.
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The report said Alabama laws specify that probate judges “may” issue marriage licenses, so they are not required to do anything.
AP also reported a county clerk in Arkansas announced her resignation because of her religious and moral opposition to the mandate for same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, several county clerks announced they would not issue marriage licenses to “gay” couples. In Rowan County, Clerk Kim Davis said her office has decided to stop issuing marriage certificates altogether to avoid discrimination lawsuits.
And Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a candidate for GOP nomination for president, told NPR that there are many across America who can just ignore it.
He said the case was brought by parties from four states, but that “does not mean that those who are not parties to a case are bound by a judicial order.”
He said it’s tragic that the Supreme Court justices decided in the case to rewrite the Constitution instead of doing their job, which was to interpret the law.
“It is a sad moment for the court when you have judges seizing authority that does not belong to them,” he said.
WND reported Monday that not only did the court’s mandate for same-sex marriage not resolve the controversy, it triggered a wave of rejection.
“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.”
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