In the Washington Post opinion pages, former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III and his Heritage colleague Ryan Anderson have penned an important piece highlighting some too-little reported legal opinions from federal court judges that make the case for leaving determinations about marriage policy to the states and the democratic process.
The two scholars write:
This month, in a widely celebrated opinion written by Judge Richard Posner, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit declared that it had “no reason to think [the governments of Indiana and Wisconsin] have a ‘reasonable basis’ for forbidding same-sex marriage.”
This is remarkable. According to this court, the millions of citizens who passed marriage amendments in more than 30 states were all bigots acting on no reasonable basis when they supported marriage as the union of a man and woman — just as President Obama, Vice President Biden, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and most members of Congress all did when these laws were passed.
While generating less fanfare, the day before Posner’s opinion was released, U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman upheld Louisiana’s marriage law — a constitutional amendment passed by 78 percent of the voters. Two federal appellate judges — Paul V. Niemeyer of the 4th Circuit and Paul J. Kelly Jr. of the 10th Circuit — issued strong dissenting opinions this summer on why state laws defining marriage as a male-female union are constitutional. As these marriage cases make their way to the Supreme Court, very likely during the term about to begin, the justices should heed the reasoning of these judges.
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