Supreme Court justices today "delegitimized" the highest bench in the nation by their rulings on two controversial marriage cases, according to a key critic who is explaining now that the issue is not settled, nor is the fight over.
The high court today said the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional because it treats homosexual duos differently from married heterosexuals. And the judges refused to address the fight over Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment through which voters in California defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, because of their technical interpretation of "standing."
"Today, the United States Supreme Court has lost its legitimacy as an arbiter of the Constitution and the rule of law," said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel. "Today is the death of the court's legacy, because the decision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act case defies logic and is a pure invention of a handful of justices."
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Analysts say the rulings today did not create a constitutional "right" to homosexual marriage, but inflicted great damage on America by mainstreaming what for millennia has been considered by society a perversion of the marriage standard set by the Bible.
WND reported earlier that even before the court opinions, Staver was one part of a massive coalition of Christian organizations and faith traditions that simply told the court members they don't have it within their power to redefine marriage.
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The coalition released a statement that left no doubt about the intention of its members.
"Make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the true common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross," said the coalition of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant clergy and leaders.
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Staver pointed out that the "delegitimization" idea comes not from him, but from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, known for her left-leaning and progressive ideas.
In 1992, in the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Penn. v. Casey, O'Connor rwrote, "The root of American governmental power is revealed most clearly in the instance of the power conferred by the Constitution upon the judiciary of the United States and specifically upon this court. As Americans of each succeeding generation are rightly told, the court cannot buy support for its decisions by spending money and, except to a minor degree, it cannot independently coerce obedience to its decrees. The court's power lies, rather, in its legitimacy, a product of substance and perception that shows itself in the people's acceptance of the judiciary as fit to determine what the nation’s law means and to declare what it demands.
"The underlying substance of this legitimacy is of course the warrant for the court's decisions in the Constitution and the lesser sources of legal principle on which the court draws," O'Connor continued. "The court must take care to speak and act in ways that allow people to accept its decisions on the terms the court claims for them, as grounded truly in principle, not as compromises with social and political pressures having, as such, no bearing on the principled choices that the Court is obliged to make. Thus, the court's legitimacy depends on making legally principled decisions under circumstances in which their principled character is sufficiently plausible to be accepted by the nation."
"Marriage predates government and civil authorities," explained Staver. "No civil authority, including the Supreme Court, has the authority to redefine marriage. Marriage was not created by religion or government and is ontologically a union of one man and one woman. For any court or civil authority to think it has the authority to redefine marriage is the height of hubris."
He continued, "Deconstructing marriage will hurt children and society. While today's decision on DOMA did not redefine marriage, it has provided the foundation on which to do so. Today's decision is the equivalent of the 1972 contraception decision involving unmarried couples and the so-called right to privacy on which the 1973 abortion decision in Roe v. Wade was constructed. Today, the Supreme Court has damaged its image, lost legitimacy, and set in motion considerable harm to society and to the state of the union."
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Members of the marriage solidarity statement rallied behind the document drafted by Deacon Keith Fournier, editor of Catholic Online, and chairman of Common Good Alliance, as well as Staver.
While they candidly admit they have differences on matters of doctrine and religious practice, they proclaimed solidarity on the issue of marriage.
"Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the state," it says. "The Supreme Court has no authority to redefine marriage."
The statement continues, "We pledge to stand together to defend marriage as what it is, a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children."
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"The institutions of civil government should defend marriage and not seek to undermine it," the statement continues. "Government has long regulated marriage for the true common good. Examples, such as the age of consent, demonstrate such a proper regulation to ensure the free and voluntary basis of the marriage bond. Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the state.
"As Christian citizens united together, we will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love. The Sacred Scriptures and unbroken teaching of the church confirm that marriage is between one man and one woman.
"Religious freedom is the first freedom in the American experiment for good reason."
Staver's concern was just a small drop in the flood of negative reaction directed toward the activist court after its marriage decisions:
- The Alliance Defending Freedom was part of the team that fought on behalf of marriage in the Prop 8 fight, and Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks said, "The court's decision does not silence the voices of Americans. Marriage – the union of husband and wife – will remain timeless, universal, and special, particularly because children need mothers and fathers. This has been the experience of diverse cultures and faiths throughout history, including the American experience, and that will not change. Americans will continue advancing the truth about marriage between a man and a woman and why it matters for children, civil society, and limited government."
- Randy Thomasson of SaveCalifornia.com said, "Sexual behavior does not constitute a civil right, but the Supreme Court has done vast damage to man-woman marriage, the foundation of the natural family. … The high court's refusal to correct the unconstitutional rulings of lower court judges and the dereliction of duty by constitution-bound state officials demonstrates that not only is natural, man-woman marriage no longer respected but neither is our republic and system of written laws. Because the high court didn't care about protecting natural marriage or even the initiative process, they have allowed unnatural, homosexual 'marriages' to resume in California as role models for children. Today, marriage, children, and the rule of law all suffer."
- According to the Family Policy Institute of Washington, "The Supreme Court got it wrong when it said that the state can tell the federal government how it must define marriage. The federal government, on behalf of those who elected them, should be able to recognize the unique value of relationships that provide children a mother and father. However, those who want to redefine marriage suffered an important defeat today. The Supreme Court refused to declare a constitutional right to same-sex 'marriage,' and rejected their request to impose a redefinition of marriage on all fifty states."
- The American Family Association of Michigan said, "We regret that the court upheld the decision of one openly homosexual judge to overturn the vote of millions of California voters, including 70 percent of black voters in that state, to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. We also regret the court's opinion on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted with overwhelming bipartisan majorities and signed into law by President Clinton. … Unless Congress exercises its constitutional authority to ignore the court's opinion, American taxpayers will be forced to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in increased federal spending to give spousal-type government benefits to the new category of beneficiaries the court thinks it has the power to force Congress to legally recognize."
- The American Family Association of Pennsylvania said, "Today's United States Supreme Court split decision gives legitimacy to the oxymoronic idea of a man and man or a woman and woman being able to marry." Spokeswoman Diane Gramley continued, "Children will now believe marriage is however the courts want to define it. The idea of marriage as uniquely for the possibility of procreation is lost with this decision. No matter what homosexual activists say, placing their relationships on the same plane as real marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage."
- Dr. David Stevens, chief of the Christian Medical Association, added, "The Supreme Court failed to recognize that 'We the people' should decide marriage policy. Activist judges with an agenda have been foisting their views on the people – based not on the original Constitution or the duly registered will of the people – but on what these judges imagine their progressive society should look like. Yet 38 states have affirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman. Regardless of this court's decision, the debate on marriage will continue."
- Traditional Values Coalition founder and chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon and TVC president Andrea Lafferty said in a statement, "Some days our civilization erodes slightly in feet and inches, other days it drops a mile at a time. Today is one of those days when our culture's decline is widely felt. The climate in America has changed because America has become a blur. Our government is a scandal-ridden, ominous force operating outside the U.S. Constitution. There is no long any 'Unum' to which the many can rally."
- Penny Nancy of Concerned Women for America said, "These rulings will continue to divide our Republic just as Roe continues to do 40 years later. The Supreme Court continues to lose credibility at an alarming rate with today's decision. … While the justices sit in their high chairs, these decisions will have very real-life consequences for American families, especially as it relates to our religious liberties. Those who hold a biblical view of marriage can expect much persecution from the government in the years to come. In addition the 38 states that have affirmed the traditional definition of marriage can expect to be dragged into future courts."
- Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, "While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the court today did not impose the sweeping nationwide redefinition of natural marriage that was sought. Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex 'marriage.' As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify. … What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father."
- Maggie Gallagher, a fellow at the American Principles Project and a leading architect of the movement to protect marriage, said, "Kennedy’s decision is the Roe v. Wade of this generation, not this generation’s Brown v. the Board of Education. Like Roe, Kennedy stepped in to disenfranchise millions of voters’ concerns to tilt unfairly the scale of justice [on a] controversial moral issue trending in a liberal direction. But like Roe the deep questions involved in marriage will not simply go away: At the heart of the gay marriage argument is an untruth: unions of two men or women are not the same as unions of husband and wife. The law cannot make it so, it can only require us to paint pretty pictures to cover up deep truths embedded in human nature."
- The Pennsylvania Pastors' Network said, "We are stunned at this decision today to take a 360-degree turn away from the biblical definition of marriage."
- The American Family Association said, "We are deeply saddened by today’s decision to not only allow but encourage same-sex marriage in our country – a country that was founded on biblical principles. We mourn for America’s future, but we are not without hope. Our next line of defense is to vigorously protect our religious liberty. The homosexual lobby and agenda is running rampant across America, and is even pervading our elementary schools. The judicial activism that is being demonstrated is deplorable as the Supreme Court is imposing its will on the people and legislatures of the 50 states in our United States of America. Now, we must warn against the coming persecution, the barrage of criticism and the aggressive action of the homosexual agenda to indoctrinate and change the thoughts and convictions of Americans to accept this lifestyle as the new normal. In addition, the trend of classifying statements that have a biblical foundation as ‘hate speech’ is one that AFA will do everything in its power to prevent."
- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann said, ""Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted. For thousands of years of recorded human history, no society has defended the legal standard of marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Only since 2000 have we seen a redefinition of this foundational unit of society in various nations. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to join the trend, despite the clear will of the people’s representatives through DOMA. What the Court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States."
- The Pacific Justice Institute's Brad Dacus said, "The decision by the United States Supreme Court not to rule in favor of proposition 8 is a slap in the face to the entire democratic process by which the will and voice of the people are respected by our courts. This is a terrible setback for not just the proper definition of marriage, but even more importantly to have the voice of the voters of California respected by their courts."
- The Coalition of African-American Pastors said, "We are devastated that the Supreme Court succumbed to political pressure by voting to weaken the sacred institution. They neglected our most precious children who need a mother and a father united in marriage for healthy development. The African-American community has already been plagued with problems related to children growing up in single parent households. This ruling will only accelerate the further erosion of our communities and society."
- Homosexual congressman Jared Polis of Colorado said, "We must gain strength from this tremendous triumph and take action now to ensure that members of the LGBT community are treated equally and have the same protections under the law as every other American."
- M.V. Lee Badgett, an official at the Williams Institute, said, "By lifting the legal, economic and social burdens previously imposed on same-sex couples by DOMA, the court's ruling provides same-sex couples with access to the federal benefits that are designed to strengthen families.
- Barack Obama applauded the decision, "We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better. "
- Marriage Equality USA said, "California will once again be 'the happiest place on earth' with wedding bells ringing in every corner of our state – from the redwoods to the beaches to the Sierra. Proposition 8 divided our state into marriage haves and have-nots, and wrote exclusion into our state constitution. Today, our state is finally whole again."
- George W. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, said, "It is especially disturbing that Justice Kennedy, in his majority opinion, identified 'animus' against homosexuals as one motivating factor in the adoption of the congressional Defense of Marriage Act. To apply the word 'animus' to those who hold to the view that marriage is reserved for a man and woman is an inflammatory accusation that ignores our principled arguments and demeans our motives. You see this animus in Christians being labeled as haters, homophobes and bigots when the reverse is true. … If the culture can dehumanize followers of Christ by attaching hateful labels to them, then it's only a matter of time until Christians are first marginalized for their faith, deprived of their 1st amendment rights, and ultimately persecuted."
- John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, said, "Marriage – the union of husband and wife – is timeless, universal, and special, particularly because children flourish best with a mother and a father. A total of 38 states and 94 percent of countries worldwide affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In addition every major world religion affirms marriage as the union of a man and a woman. No court decision or public opinion poll can affect that which is evident in biology, logic, common sense and the collective wisdom of human history.
- Ted Baehr, world-renowned speaker and scholar, said, "Neither the court, the state, the president, the Congress, nor even the voters have the right to legalize same-sex marriage. It violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that Congress can't deny anyone the freedom to worship. Marriage and family are religious institutions ordained by God, and the civil government owes its existence the consent of the governed, not the other way around, in the tradition of the Magna Carte. Furthermore, since Samuel Rutherford wrote LEX, REX, which clarified the rule of law posited by the Magna Carte, all of these forms of government have been under God's Law in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. When king or ruler is above the law, he often acts in imperious and dictatorial ways, for the very nature of power is to corrupt the powerful, unless it is restrained by God’s Law. Constitutionally, therefore, the courts can’t tell any Jew, any Christian, or any church or synagogue who can and cannot be married."
- Robert Tyler, general counsel of Advocates for Faith & Freedom, said, "Marriage has always been more than just a 'civil relationship.' It has always been an institution intended to promote the optimal setting in which to raise children -- one that includes both a mother and father. Though not every marriage between male and female is perfect and some may end in divorce, public policy has always recognized the need to encourage marriage as the building block of society."