A defiant Canadian who received a marriage license in Massachusetts yesterday, despite the governor’s orders, reinforced the assertion of critics that homosexuals are far more likely than heterosexuals to openly reject the foundational concept of marriage as a commitment to one person for life.
T-shirt sold at Provincetown, Mass., store. (Photo: Cape Cod Times)
Jonathan Yarbrough, 30 – who came to Provincetown, Mass., to reaffirm his legal Canadian marriage – told the Boston Herald the concept of forever is “overrated.”
As a bisexual, he and his partner of seven years, Cody Rogahn, 55, who is homosexual, have chosen to enjoy an “open marriage.”
“I think it’s possible to love more than one person and have more than one partner, not in the polygamist sense,” he told the Boston paper. “In our case, it is, we have, an open marriage.”
As the Bay State became the first in the country to issue valid marriage licenses yesterday, traditional marriage defenders urged passage of a federal marriage amendment and some held out hope that court challenges will reverse course.
In Provincetown, a resort area that attracts many homosexuals, officials said they would not abide by Gov. Mitt Romney’s order to have applicants show proof of in-state residency or intention to live in the state.
Yarbrough said he and his partner, a retired school superindentent, called in January to reserve the top spot in Provincetown, where up to 110 same-sex couples were expected to seek a license yesterday.
“I don’t care about what the governor has to say,” he told the Herald. “What the governor is doing is shameful in itself.”
After acquiring their license, Yarbrough and Rogahn were to be married in their hotel room by Unitarian Universalist Rev. Alison Hyder. They hoped to obtain a waiver from the legally required three-day wait.
Yarbrough, a part-time bartender, planned to wear leather pants, a tuxedo shirt and a leather vest during the half-hour ceremony, the Boston paper said. He was hitched to Rogahn first in a civil commitment in Minnesota, then in Canada before coming to Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts high court decided Nov. 18 homosexual couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution and should be allowed to apply for marriage licenses, overturning a ruling by a lower court in May 2002.
However, the 4-3 ruling stopped short of declaring homosexual couples should be granted the licenses and ordered the state legislature to come up with a solution, delaying enactment until yesterday.
‘Death certificates’ for marriage
A leading proponent of traditional marriage, Dr. James Dobson, called yesterday’s development in Massachusetts a day Americans will long remember as the “death” of marriage.
“We will look back 20, 30, 50 years from now and recall this as the day marriage ceased to have any real meaning in our country,” said Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family. “The documents being issued all across Massachusetts may say ‘marriage license’ at the top, but they are really death certificates for the institution of marriage as it has served society for thousands of years.”
Dobson, who spoke at a recent “rally for marriage” in Seattle attended by tens of thousands, said he’s distressed the decision to legalize marriage for same-sex couples was fueled by a politically correct agenda with “no regard for the rule of law or the historical evidence and social-science data that prove one- man, one-woman marriage is the bedrock of civilized society.”
“This is not the first time a tyrannical court – in this case the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court – has force-fed the people a liberal agenda disguised as the rule of law,” he said. “But it may be the most devastating example of that kind of judicial activism.
“Saying there’s a constitutional guarantee for two homosexuals to marry is just a few steps away from saying there’s a constitutional guarantee to marry more than one person, or for relatives to marry, or even for people to marry their pets,” he continued. “What makes this a truly dark day is that gay marriage is only the beginning.”
Dobson asserts there is “overwhelming scientific evidence” finding boys and girls not raised by both of their biological parents are much more likely to, among other things, suffer abuse, perform poorly in school, abuse drugs and alcohol and wind up in trouble with the law.
If there is a silver lining in today’s developments, Dobson said, it may be that millions of Americans might finally be ready to say, “Enough is enough.”
“For so long, this has been a hypothetical issue to many people, something to worry about in the future,” he said. “But today, that’s changed. There is no denying that our values are under assault. There’s no more time for thinking about whether to join the fight – we are in it. It has been brought to us.”
Dobson was among many many like-minded leaders yesterday urging passage of a federal marriage amendment, which would define marriage in the U.S. Constitution as solely the union of one man and one woman.
“It has never been clearer,” Dobson said, “that the [amendment] is our last, best chance to preserve marriage for future generations.”
Yesterday the American Center for Law and Justice, which specializes in constitutional law, called on Congress to pass the amendment without delay and send it to the states for ratification.
Last week, the group’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution urging members to approve House Joint Resolution 56, which affirms in law marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.
He told members of the subcommittee more than 230,000 Americans have signed his group’s “Petition to Preserve Marriage,” which urges Congress to pass the amendment without delay.
In its testimony, the ACLJ contended the amendment “serves to resolve the uncertainties that have been artificially interjected into what would otherwise be fairly described as an entirely and clearly settled question of law.”
The ACLJ has been involved in legal challenges over marriage in Massachusetts, California and New Jersey.
Court battle in Massachusetts not over
Mathew Staver, whose group Liberty Counsel has fought the Massachusetts ruling in court, insists the legal fight in the state is not over.
As WorldNetDaily reported, last week, Liberty Counsel and several other constitutional-law organizations, along with 11 legislators, filed a lawsuit arguing the Supreme Judicial Court overstepped its bounds by establishing same-sex marriage.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals denied Liberty’s request for an immediate injunction pending appeal, allowing Massachusetts officials to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
But the court granted an expedited hearing, which enables Staver to argue the case during the week of June 7 in Boston.
After the appeals court ruling, either side could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, he said.
Staver also believes action can be taken by Gov. Romney and the state legislature. The Massachusetts constitution specifically gives the executive branch authority over marriage, he noted, with the provision that the legislative branch can delegate authority over marriage to other branches.
The legislature has delegated only four such matters to the judiciary – divorce, alimony, annulment and affirmation.
He argues that in the November case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court usurped the power of the legislative and executive branches when it redefined marriage from “union of one man and one woman” to the “union of two persons.”
The executive branch, through the governor, is empowered to issue an executive order refusing to implement the ruling, Staver contends. The Massachusetts legislature also is empowered to pass a law stating that courts have no authority to redefine marriage.
Since Feb. 12, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom began issuing marriage licenses in defiance of state law, Liberty Counsel has been involved in 15 of the 17 legal cases that have arisen.
A suit in New Paltz, N.Y., stopped Mayor Jason West from performing same-sex marriages.