The Lamp

Where truth can be shared.

Judges Suddenly Making Sense on Marriage

Posted by thelamp on July 14, 2006

Three times within the past week, state courts have issued rulings favorable to efforts to define marriage the way God does – as the union of one man and one woman. It’s about time!

Monday the Massachusetts Supreme Court – the same group of judges who found a “right” to gay marriage in that state’s constitution in 2003 – ruled that a citizens’ initiative to define marriage is permissible. Gay-rights supporters had argued that state attorney general Tom Reilly was wrong to approve the initiative because it would overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage. The court unanimously ruled that wasn’t the case. The court correctly asserted that the people had the right to define marriage in their constitution.

Now the hard part begins for marriage supporters in Massachusetts – the state legislature must approve the ballot question in two consecutive legislative sessions before voters can face the question. The legislature has its first opportunity to approve the initiative this week (and supporters are cautiously optimistic that they will), so the issue wouldn’t be put before Massachusetts voters until 2008 at the earliest. Still, the court’s ruling is the best possible news from a most unexpected source.

Last week, the New York Court of Appeals, that state’s highest court, affirmed that the state constitution “does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex.” The ruling addressed four different lawsuits from 44 same-sex couples, who argued that the state’s failure to permit them to marry violated their due-process and equal-protection rights. Importantly the court also described homosexuality, correctly, as a preference rather than an orientation.

The court did, however, leave the door open for the state legislature to allow same-sex marriages. So it’s likely that gay-rights advocates will press New York legislators for the rights they couldn’t get through the courts.

Also last week, Georgia’s Supreme Court affirmed the right of its citizens to amend their constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A lower court ruled in May that the amendment was invalid because it addressed more than one issue. In 2004, 76 percent of Georgia voters approved the state’s marriage amendment.

The rulings are welcome news, although they’re out of character with recent examples of judicial activism on the marriage issue. Marriage is 20-for-20 when voters have the opportunity to express their opinion. Perhaps the results of the last week are simply recognition of that fact.


What do you think?  Post your comments below.


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