HISTORIC ALABAMA RULING REAFFIRMS NATURAL MARRIAGE AND THE RULE OF LAW

A Message from Mat Staver, our Founder and Chairman

The Alabama Supreme Court recently issued an historic ruling that reaffirmed natural marriage and ordered Alabama’s probate judges to immediately stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The ruling represents a significant shift of momentum in the same-sex marriage agenda and is a direct challenge to the opinions of a federal judge regarding Alabama’s marriage laws. The Alabama Supreme Court decision is the most forceful and clearly arti­culated rebuttal to date of the fanciful argu­ments for same-sex “marriage” being employed by many activist courts.

Lawlessness erupted in Alabama after federal Judge Callie Granade (pronounced like “grenade”) issued a twisted opinion purporting to find a new right to same-sex “marriage” in the Constitution. She said that the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, passed by 82 percent of the voters in 2006, was unconstitutional. But, how can some­thing that merely affirms the natural created order of male and female united in marriage be in conflict with the Constitution? Marriage can no more be contrary to the Constitution than can gravity, which is also part of the natural created order.

Several Alabama probate judges, acting out of fear or just acting out, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on Granade’s ruling. Liberty Counsel then filed suit against these probate judges. We bypassed the trial and appellate courts and went directly to the Alabama Supreme Court because of the pressing emergency and the need for immediate statewide relief.

The Alabama Supreme Court issued a decision that stunned the radical supporters of same-sex marriage and the lawless probate judges. That decision instantly stopped same-sex marriage in Alabama and presented an unassailable defense of natural marriage. The nearly 150-page opinion (which is posted at www.LC.org) was filled with strong statements designed to dissuade pro-homosexual activists, including:

  • Marriage, as a union between one man and one woman, is the fundamental unit of society.
  • Marriage has always been between members of the opposite sex. The obvious reason for this immutable characteristic is nature. Men and women complement each other biologically and socially.
  • One legitimate interest behind the laws (among others) is recognizing and encouraging the ties between children and their biological parents.
  • Government is concerned with public effects, not private wishes. The new definition of marriage centers on the private concerns of adults, while the traditional definition focuses on the benefits to society from the special relationship that exists between a man and a woman.

It is not often in this age of lawless­ness and judicial activism that judges issue well-reasoned opinions on marriage that remain faithful to the Constitution and natural law. But this decision by the Alabama Supreme Court is both profound and historic. I encourage you to read it, especially the last half of the opinion in which it focuses on marriage (the ruling can be found on our website at LC.org).

One does not get the impression that the Alabama Supreme Court is waiting for crumbs of wisdom to fall from the table of five Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court about marriage in June of this year, either. No, the distinct impression is that the Alabama Supreme Court will remain firm even if the U.S. Supreme Court invents a so-called “right” to same-sex “marriage.”

The time has come to call laws or judicial opinions that conflict with higher law unjust and lawless! The highest respect we can give to the rule of law is to not respect unjust or lawless opinions. Rather than wait nervously on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on marriage expected in late June, we should warn the High Court, “Do not cross this line!”

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing in the Court’s 1992 abortion decision, candidly acknowledged that “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…”

Justice O’Connor went on write that, “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… 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.”

If the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision inventing a so-called right to same-sex marriage, that decision will cause tens of millions of Americans to lose confidence in the Court. Such a decision by the Supreme Court, or by any court, is as far removed from the Constitution as the east is from the west.

Personal opinions of Justices or judges are not automatically the rule of law. Any opinion purporting to interpret the Constitution must be faithful to the text of the document and must not be contrary to the natural law. Marriage predates religion and all civil authorities. It is ontologically a union of a man and a woman and is part of the natural created order.

Courts do not have unlimited authority. Just like a corporate act cannot operate ultra vires (beyond its authority), the people may determine that a lawless decision on marriage is beyond the authority of this Court or any court. If that happens, courts will lose their authority. The legitimate authority of courts rests in the confid­ence of the people, and if the people lose confidence, the courts lose their authority. The U.S. Supreme Court and all courts should hear this loud and clear: Be warned! Your authority is hanging in the balance.

These are critical days. We face many threats to religious freedom, life, and the family, but God is in control. Jesus said the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church. Stand with Liberty Counsel as we stand for truth. We need your prayers and your financial support during this historic struggle for the soul of America!

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