The Family Foundation: Effect of Recent Court Decisions on Marriage

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Chris Freund, Director of Communications
Monday, July 24, 2006

Information Alert: Effect of Recent Court Decisions on Marriage

Recent court decisions in New York, Georgia, Massachusetts and Nebraska upholding traditional marriage laws have caused opponents to Virginia's marriage amendment to claim that Virginia's proposed amendment is unnecessary. A complete understanding of the issue, however, makes a clear and convincing case in favor of the amendment.

Same-sex marriage advocates fail to mention the sixteen other court cases in seven states that are pending regarding state defense of marriage acts. Those who wish to redefine marriage must be asked: "In light of these recent court decisions, will you stop going to court around the nation to litigate DOMAs?" The fact is that same-sex marriage advocates are not going to stop because a couple of courts throw roadblocks in their way.

Virginians must protect our current laws defining marriage by passing the Constitutional Amendment in November. You can bet that those who oppose this amendment are not going to close their doors because another state's court rejects same-sex marriage.

Currently, homosexual advocacy groups seeking to redefine marriage are challenging defense of marriage acts in seven states. They have gone to court to stop marriage amendments in numerous states, most recently losing their case in Tennessee. New Jersey and Washington are waiting for court decisions that could make them the second and third states to legalize homosexual marriage.

In addition, the Democratic National Committee has recently announced a five-point plan to defeat efforts to defend traditional marriage in states like Virginia. An official with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force recently said, "[O]ur collective goal is to win marriage equality - either through legislative or judicial action - in 10 states in 10 years," Foreman said. "There is no question that if our movement is resourced to scale, this is an achievable goal, and the New York court decision has no impact on that."

The activities of same-sex marriage advocates don't indicate that they are going to give up their fight anytime soon. Virginians must anticipate that same-sex marriage advocates will continue to pursue their goal of redefining marriage regardless of what has happened recently with these court decisions. We must ensure that Virginia's current laws are safe by passing the marriage amendment on November 7.

I don’t know about you but I am not comforted by the “assurances” of same-sex “marriage” advocates that, due to two recent court rulings supporting marriage, we need not worry or pursue democratic efforts to protect the definition of marriage (such as the VA Marriage Amendment). Keep in mind that the special interest backers of the anti-Marriage Amendment coalition (those telling Virginians that they need not worry about activist judges and that the Marriage Amendment will shatter all contract rights between unmarried individuals) are just shopping for red-herring excuses to leave us vulnerable so to litigation intended to radically redefine marriage.

Virginians have nothing to lose and everything to gain in protecting marriage with the well-worded Marriage Amendment, which elevates existing principles beyond the reach of activist judges and activist litigation. “Equality Virginia” and other same-sex “marriage” special interest groups realize this and thus their overzealous rush to spew misinformation.

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10 Comments

Great post! Thank you for all you are doing to pass this amendment!

Gnossis said:

Virginians have nothing to lose and everything to gain... “Equality Virginia” and other same-sex “marriage” special interest groups realize this and thus their overzealous rush to spew misinformation.

Ok, Soph, enlighten me.

What do I (a straight, married man without kids) have to gain from this amendment?

How is it not equally overzealous of the amendment proponents to push for an amendment that duplicates an already-existing state statute (and with more restrictive language than that statute, to boot)?

Rick Sincere said:

Since when is equal treatment under the law a "special interest?" Isn't it everybody's interest?

charles said:

Rick, everybody is treated equally under this law. Any male, no matter what his sexual proclivities, can marry any woman that will have him.

Special interest is wanting the same rights as those who follow the rules, without having to follow the rules -- like wanting to be called married and get all the benefits of "marraige", without actually having married a person of the opposite sex.

Sophrosyne said:

Well said Charles.

Sophrosyne said:

What do I (a straight, married man without kids) have to gain from this amendment?

How is it not equally overzealous of the amendment proponents to push for an amendment that duplicates an already-existing state statute (and with more restrictive language than that statute, to boot)?

Well… first I am glad that you agree that this amendment is merely elevating existing principles into the constitution… no substantive change in law/policy will occur as a result of this amendment, despite the baseless red-herring claims otherwise. As to what exactly we gain from this amendment… We protect the right of the people to define marriage via the democratic process (in this case via the most democratic process available- direct referendum) rather than some unelected Virginia judge defining it for us. The Marriage Amendment protects the Virginia’s definition of marriage from any potential judicial attack (as we have seen in other states- with many more coming if you read the above) and keeps the issue of defining marriage within the control of the people (so we’re not scrambling to restore the definition of marriage as they now are in MA, rather the people will be in the driver’s seat). As I said: nothing to lose (b/c this changes no law) and everything to gain (b/c this protects existing law/marriage from undemocratic, interest-group driven litigation appealing to activist judges).

The people will get to decide what marriage IS this November, and that’s the way it should be. I know I’ll be voting YES for marriage.

Gnossis said:

first I am glad that you agree that this amendment is merely elevating existing principles into the constitution…

No, Soph. Did you read my entire post? That parenthetical bit "(and with more restrictive language than that statute, to boot)," is key. Actually, I should have written "than those statues."

We protect the right of the people to define marriage via the democratic process...

You seem to be equating the opinion of the majority with what is "right." Funny that you didn't seem to have a problem with our president issuing his only veto to date to strike down what was otherwise a very popular bit of legislation. From what I've read it sounds like most Americans believed federally-funded stem cell research was the "right" thing to do. I, for one, don't want any Activist President undoing my will!

The Marriage Amendment protects the Virginia’s definition of marriage from any potential judicial attack...b/c this protects existing law/marriage from undemocratic, interest-group driven litigation appealing to activist judges

Talk about your logical fallacies, specifically, an appeal to probability (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_probability)...

If I'm understanding this argument correctly, we need to pass this amendment because of the mere threat of "activist judges" letting those darned homosexuals get hitched. What other laws are on the books that you fear might be over-turned, leading to the downfall of society? Will you actively seek to amendment-ize those too?

And when did judicial rulings become "undemocratic?" The role of all branches of government is ultimately to protect the rights of all the people. This amendment quite unabashedly denies even civil unions. To what end?

Isn't all litigation "interest-group driven" in some sense of the term? It appears that you find it distasteful in this instance because it opposes your own interest. Some may even say yours is a "special interest."

I see the va4marriage site frequently quoted or linked to. Part of its "Rationale" for this amendment reads: "Any judge at any time can redefine marriage with the stroke of a pen...va4marriage.org supports a state constitutional amendment that will protect marriage from activist judges, and from a homosexual lobby that cannot win in legislatures.

The any judge/any time line is pure bunk. If a bored judge could take his/her pen to the constitution at his/her whim, we wouldn't have a stable society. And if the homosexual lobby can't win in legislatures, why are amendment proponents so threatened by it?

Sophrosyne said:

You seem to be equating the opinion of the majority with what is "right." Funny that you didn't seem to have a problem with our president issuing his only veto to date to strike down what was otherwise a very popular bit of legislation. From what I've read it sounds like most Americans believed federally-funded stem cell research was the "right" thing to do. I, for one, don't want any Activist President undoing my will!

I am sure you realize the difference between the legislature and president exercising their responsibility to enact/modify public policy/law and the judiciary enacting new policy/law by judicial fiat. The former is the right and proper function of good, balanced government and the latter is a vast distortion of said government and an alteration of the court’s role as neutral arbitrator of disputes into that of lawmaker. I do not universally equate the majority opinion with what is right (in fact I often believe the opposite is the case)… but when we’re talking about the very definition of marriage (an institution which everyone currently has equal access to as it is defined- the union of the two complementary parts of the full human organism- male and female) I do believe the people should have a say. Anyways… I find your attempt to equate a Presidential veto with a judge creating new law/policy fairly ridiculous.

If I'm understanding this argument correctly, we need to pass this amendment because of the mere threat of "activist judges" letting those darned homosexuals get hitched. What other laws are on the books that you fear might be over-turned, leading to the downfall of society? Will you actively seek to amendment-ize those too?...

…The any judge/any time line is pure bunk. If a bored judge could take his/her pen to the constitution at his/her whim, we wouldn't have a stable society. And if the homosexual lobby can't win in legislatures, why are amendment proponents so threatened by it?

I’ve delved into this in detail in prior posts/comments (examining the “sweet mystery of life” rubbish asserted by the Supreme Court… the Goodridge decision in Massachusetts, and the many other cases coming down the pipe-- referenced above in the FF update). If no state had shot down the definition of marriage and there was no wishy-washy judicial precedent laying the groundwork for same-sex “marriage” via judicial decree (see Justice Scalia’s excellent dissenting opinion in the Lawrence case)… then your argument would be sound. But the fact is this isn’t a mere probability with no real basis in fact (as are the red-herring “Appeals to Probability” being put out by the anti-Marriage Amendment coalition)… rather it is only a matter of time before this litigation comes to Virginia. While I hope and pray our judges understand their role is not to make law or policy and redefine marriage- a real possibility remains that they will not and thus the need to further protect existing law with the Marriage Amendment. As I said above, having you and other same-sex “marriage” activists reassure me that this won’t happen as the litigation simultaneously spreads across the US seems less than credible. I’ll be voting YES for Marriage this November.

Gnossis said:

I am sure you realize the difference between the legislature and president exercising their responsibility to enact/modify public policy/law and the judiciary enacting new policy/law by judicial fiat. The former is the right and proper function of good, balanced government and the latter is a vast distortion of said government and an alteration of the court’s role as neutral arbitrator of disputes into that of lawmaker.

Soph, I find your zeal amusing. You're mis-stating (or maybe mis-understanding) the role of the judiciary. As far as I know, no sitting judge has enacted any new law(s) by fiat. You're essentially neutering the courts if you're alleging that they should not be able to rule that a law is illegitimate based on precedent or constitutional grounds.

If no state had shot down the definition of marriage and there was no wishy-washy judicial precedent laying the groundwork for same-sex “marriage” via judicial decree

Who/what is the final arbiter in determining the "wishy-washiness" of a judicial precedent? Couldn't one also argue that the NY Sup. Ct's decision to uphold current statutes based (at least partially) on the notion that the legislature "may find" that 2 hetero parents are preferable to 2 gay parents, is "wishy-washy?" Isn't the majority of legal precedent on this matter on your side of the ideological spectrum?

And, again, judges don't issue "decrees"; that's left to kings and emperors, of which we have none. Judges make rulings based on litigation brought by individuals or parties. It seems that you take issue with the fact that "the homosexual lobby" seems to be behind such litigation. Well, duh; who else would support homosexuals seeking equal rights under the law?

You also never addressed my question re: what, specifically, I would gain were this amendment to pass. You re-hashed the tired line about "letting the people decide rather than judges," but did not (could not?) explain exactly what benefit(s) I - a married, childless, hetero man - would see. Care to tackle that one? As far as I can tell, my life and marriage wouldn't be affected one iota if this amendment passed or failed, but I've yet to see a compelling reason to shackle a small minority of our society that's already facing an overwhelming amount of adversity.

Blake said:

If the fear is activist judges then why aren't we advocating some form of election of our judges/supreme court in VA? 40 other states do...if you don't like their "activist" decisions... vote them out. Now THAT'S an amendment worthy of discussing and voting on....

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