FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 13, 2014
Contact: Elizabeth Ray or Matille Thebolt (703-683-5004)
"Governor Brownback should reject the idea that Kansas must abandon marriage because out of control federal judges say so." — Brian Brown, NOM president —
Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today sharply condemned the United States Supreme Court for refusing to grant a stay of a federal judge's order imposing same-sex marriage in Kansas, and called on Governor Sam Brownback to order local clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses that violate Kansas law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
"The United States Supreme Court is creating a constitutional confrontation by refusing to hear an appeal of lower court decisions imposing same-sex marriage," said Brian Brown, NOM's president. "These lower court decisions are illegitimate. They violate the overarching constitutional principle that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved to the states. The US Supreme Court has specifically recognized in the Windsor case that the regulation of marriage has always been a state function, and this remains so. Therefore, we call on Governor Sam Brownback to reject the idea that Kansas must abandon marriage because out of control federal judges say so."
The Kansas Supreme Court has previously issued an order blocking a lower state court judge from directing local clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in violation of state law. Local clerks who issue marriage licenses are considered judicial officers under Kansas Law.
"In blocking the issuance of marriage licenses that violate Kansas law, the Kansas Supreme Court has implicitly concluded that their marriage amendment does not violate the federal constitution, and rightly so," said Brown. "We urge Governor Brownback to use his authority to order local clerks to refuse to issue marriage licenses in violation of state law, as affirmed by the Supreme Court, in recognition that the state courts are not bound to reach the same judgment about the constitutionality of their laws as the lower federal courts. Although this obviously creates a lack of "harmony" between the state and federal courts on the subject, Kansas has every right to insist that this conflict be resolved by the Supreme Court, not an activist lower federal court. We encourage the Kansas Supreme Court to remain firm in upholding state laws, especially in light of the fact that numerous federal judges have upheld state marriage amendments like Kansas' including the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as district courts in Louisiana and Puerto Rico. We urge Governor Brownback and state Attorney General Schmidt to aggressively press their appeal to the US Supreme Court."
Kansas voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment in 2005 confirming the state's historic understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The amendment passed with 70% voter support. However, a federal judge in Utah ruled that Utah's marriage amendment was unconstitutional, and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. The US Supreme Court subsequently refused to hear Utah's appeal of that ruling. Since Kansas is also in the 10th Circuit, federal District Judge Daniel Crabtree recently issued an injunction against the state enforcing its marriage amendment. The ruling has created substantial legal confusion in the state.
"We are rapidly approaching the inevitable confrontation between the sovereign right of states and the limited powers granted to the federal government. It is absolutely the right of the states to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, especially in light of the fact that the US Supreme Court has never held that traditional marriage violates the US constitution," Brown said. "The question for the people of Kansas, and indeed the nation, is whether we are going to allow an illegitimate order by federal judges to trump state law and the vote of 70% of the Kansas electorate. Fifty million Americans in over thirty states have voted in support of traditional marriage and it's time that states fight back to protect the decision of those voters."
To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], or Matille Thebolt, [email protected], at 703-683-5004.
Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).