Dear Marriage Supporter,
We've seen a very eventful beginning to the year in the marriage movement. There are a lot of news stories to catch up on. What is most shocking is that I can honestly say, in spite of everything we've seen in the radical attacks over the years from the marriage redefinition movement, some of the events of the past two weeks still stand out for their sheer brazenness and arrogance.
Indeed, when the history of the marriage debate comes to be written, the events of the beginning of 2014 may become the chapter entitled, "The Same-sex 'Marriage' Lobby's Boldest Overreaching."
This chapter begins with a single federal judge...
'Twas a Few Nights Before Christmas...
The ruling from District Court Judge Robert Shelby in Utah handed down December 20th was an unexpected shock for marriage supporters around the nation.
Coming, as it did, hot on the heels of another federal court decision in Utah that ruled to de-criminalize religious plural marriages (i.e., polygamous unions), Shelby's ruling added insult to an already injured state legislature and citizenry. Utah's voters and lawmakers alike probably found themselves wondering whether they had any say in their State's values at all anymore.
Then came yet another unexpected plot twist. Following failed applications for a stay of Shelby's decision both in the District court and in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Utah appealed to the United States Supreme Court — and the request was granted! And accordingly, now it was same-sex 'marriage' activists' turn to be surprised and shocked. Along with Shelby, these activists had presumed (unwisely) that the Supreme Court would allow this decision to stand during its appeal because that presumption fits in with the tired "inevitability" narrative.
But the Supreme Court had made clear in its Windsor decision last summer that the States do retain the right to define marriage and to have their determinations upheld by the federal government. The same-sex 'marriage' activists, eager to write their own ending to the story, had failed to read carefully enough the pages coming before, like the pages of the majority's opinion in Windsor. Unfortunately, Shelby wasn't the last to misread that key decision.
Another Federal Judge, Another Flawed Ruling.
Just this week, yet another federal Judge — Terence Kern of Oklahoma — ruled that Oklahoma's amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman was unconstitutional as well. In doing so, he applied the same kind of flawed reasoning as Shelby had done in Utah.
But Kern wasn't prepared to make another of Shelby's mistakes: he at least immediately stayed the effects of his own decision, to leave the status quo on marriage in Oklahoma intact while the State's inevitable appeal of his decision could proceed.
Kern's introduction into the story gives us a clearer picture of who or what is the antagonist in this story: the nemesis that marriage defenders face is in fact a system, a philosophy about how the law should work: and its name is judicial activism.
As I said on the day Kern's decision was announced, this was merely "the latest in a string of examples of the dangers posed to state marriage laws when the avenue of debate is the federal court system."
The problem surfacing in this latest chapter in the debate over marriage in our country is a change of scene. Rather than being debated in the public square in a fair-minded way, or in the legislative branch where the will and interest of the people are most directly represented, the marriage battle is being fought in the courts. And the upshot of that is that ordinary people like you and me are further cut off from and crowded out of the argument.
We need to reclaim our rights: marriage must be the American people's to decide, not dependent on the whimsy of an elitist court system, a decree handed down from on high with no regard for any constituency.
And if it is true to say that the judiciary's role in this story has become exaggerated, how much more truly can it be said of the executive branch!
The Department of 'Justice'?
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is taking heat this week from Congress because of the Department of Justice's refusal to conduct a reasonable investigation into the alleged criminal misdeeds of IRS officials — as well as for the DOJ's lack of cooperation with Congress's effort to get to the bottom of the matter.
Here's just a snippet of the strongly-worded letter to Holder from Representatives Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee:
Anonymous — and apparently politically motivated — leaks from unnamed law enforcement officials further undermine the public assurances by the current and former FBI directors that this is a legitimate investigation. These leaks come after the Justice Department, citing the confidential nature of the investigation, refused to brief Congress on its progress...
These revelations further undermine the credibility of the Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department under his leadership. Given the circumstances, there is little reason for the American people to have confidence in this investigation.
Sadly, this isn't the first example of the DOJ doing something that loses our confidence.
An article in Slate this week is trying to defend Holder against in recent malfeasance on his part: his response to the marriage case in Utah. The Slate piece glibly opines:
This is how the sausage of civil rights gets made — with slicing and dicing and a sprinkling of carpe diem.
While there may be some fairness in that old adage about laws and sausages, the analogy only fits only insofar as it relates to political corruption — and I personally think it rather cynical and offensive to impugn the great and beautiful legacy of Civil Rights in this way.
But the sausage-making imagery of corruption does relate fairly enough to the way Attorney General Holder seems to be sweeping up all the scraps from the shredding of the Constitution and stuffing them into a nice sleeve to serve up to an unwilling public.
The outrage that Slate defends, you see, is the recent announcement from the Department of Justice that the federal Government will recognize the 1,300 or so same-sex 'marriages' that had taken place in Utah between December 20th and January 6th (when the Supreme Court's stay was ordered). This comes after the State of Utah itself determined that it would not recognize those marriages!
In doing this, Holder is acting not only in express violation of the constitutional right of States to make determinations in this matter, but also in violation of the Windsor decision's reiteration of that right!
It certainly is difficult to have confidence in the federal justice system in light of these kinds of gross violations.
But I'll tell you what I still do have confidence in: you! The American people! And that's what I'll end with today...
The Next Chapter of Marriage is Ours to Write
Ordinary folks like you and I can make a difference when we stand up in unison and demand our voices be heard.
So today I'm asking you to do just that, and to take an important action to try to stop the reckless attacks on marriage and the constitution that I've written about above.
The action involves a new proposed law, the State Marriage Defense Act, which is in committee right now in the House of Representatives.
I need you to write your Representative today and express your support for this crucial bill. This bill will solidify the right we've been talking about today: the right of states to make their own determinations regarding marriage and to have those determinations respected and upheld (rather than surreptitiously undermined) by the federal government.
This is how we fight back, and this is how we secure the future of marriage in America: we stand up, we speak out, and — most important of all — we do it together.
Thank you, as always, for continuing to stand firm for marriage and for our constitution. It is an honor to stand with you in this fight.
Brian S. Brown