National Organization for Marriage Says Louisiana Marriage Decision Proves That It Is Perfectly Legal For States to Define Marriage As The Union of One Man and One Woman
"This is a great win for the cause of marriage, coming as it does on the heels of other pro-marriage court victories, that puts the lie to the claim that it is inevitable the US Supreme Court will redefine marriage. To the contrary, we believe they will leave this issue with the states." — Brian Brown, NOM president
News Release from National Organization for Marriage September 3, 2014
Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today praised federal court Judge Martin Feldman for ruling today that the US Constitution does not preclude the state of Louisiana from defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and that voters made a rational decision in doing so when they adopted the state's marriage amendment. Feldman becomes the third federal judge to have ruled that traditional marriage laws are not unconstitutional, and the first since the US Supreme Court issued their decision invalidating a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. A state judge in Tennessee has also ruled that the US constitution does not prohibit states from defining marriage a one man and one woman.
"Here we see the house of cards collapsing that supported the myth that redefining marriage is inevitable," said Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "This decision by Judge Feldman in Louisiana is a great win for the cause of marriage, coming as it does on the heels of other pro-marriage court victories, that puts the lie to the claim that it is inevitable the US Supreme Court will redefine marriage. To the contrary, we believe they will leave this issue with the states."
In his ruling issued today, Judge Feldman wrote that "Louisiana's definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and the limitation on recognition of same-sex marriages permitted by law in other states ... do not infringe the guarantees of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the United States Constitution... The defendants have shown that Louisiana's decision to neither permit nor recognize same-sex marriage, formed in the arena of the democratic process, is supported by a rational basis."
"Judge Feldman has authored a powerful opinion that points the US Supreme Court in the direction of upholding state marriage laws and constitutional amendments," Brown said. "He finds what should be obvious to everyone, that states have a legitimate concern in 'linking marriage to children with intact families.' It is perfectly appropriate for voters to determine if they wish to decide for themselves whether they wish to redefine this age-old institution that has served society so well. Overwhelmingly, voters have rejected redefining marriage, and we expect the US Supreme Court to do so as well."
Feldman becomes the third federal judge to uphold traditional marriage laws, joining judges in Nevada and Hawaii. Last month a judge in Tennessee ruled that the US Constitution does not prohibit Tennessee from adopting a marriage amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman.
LINK: Jackson v Abercrombie
A Major Victory
by Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage September 5, 2014
Earlier this week, a federal district judge in Louisiana issued a key decision finding that the marriage amendment passed in 2004 by 78% of the voters of that state does not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process. Accordingly, Judge Feldman ruled against the several plaintiffs' claims that the amendment is unconstitutional.
This is a major victory for marriage that should be celebrated.
Of course, if you've been depending on the major media outlets for your news, you'll have found precious little attention paid to this pivotal decision. The media has chosen instead to focus on a very poorly reasoned decision by a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that was basically lifted from the template of so many such rulings since the Windsor decision in 2012.
In the 7th Circuit case, Judge Richard Posner crafted one of the most ideologically-driven and personally invested rulings I've ever read from a federal justice—and that's saying something!
Garrett Epps, writing for The Atlantic, put the matter quite colorfully—and accurately—in his article contrasting the decision with the Louisiana case [emphasis added]:
Posner finds the states' justifications so irrational that he almost becomes unhinged himself.
It is a roaring steam engine of an opinion, at times exhilarating and at other times puzzling. Is it likely to change minds? No. Its flip dismissal of the political process argument makes it less persuasive than it could have been....
In contrast to this decision, Judge Martin Feldman of Louisiana crafted a lucid and careful legal argument for why the State of Louisiana not only has a rational basis for regulating marriage by defining it as the union of one man and one woman, but also in doing so is acting precisely the way that Justice Kennedy in Windsor said States can and should act!
In his analysis of Feldman's decision for The Daily Signal, Ryan Anderson explains:
Feldman ruled that, consistent with the U.S. Constitution, citizens and their elected officials should get to define marriage, and they can define it as the union of man and woman if they choose to.
Feldman cites the Supreme Court's decision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, U.S. v. Windsor, as support that Louisiana has the right to define marriage for itself. Feldman writes: "Windsor repeatedly and emphatically reaffirmed the longstanding principle that the authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations belongs to the states, subject to indistinct future constitutional guarantees that in Windsor were, by its expressed limits, left open and rather inexact."
Feldman's decision is a far cry from Posner's, as the former looks carefully at the cases with binding precedent and reasons from the Constitution and rational analysis of facts; whereas the latter is a shameful display of animus and hostility toward anyone who dares agree with nearly all of human civilization throughout all of history and throughout most of the world today that there's something special about the conjugal union of husband and wife.
Indeed, the craziest moments of Posner's decision are not merely ludicrous and poorly reasoned, they're scandalously offensive.
For example, he insinuates that the people of Indiana and Wisconsin—whose marriage laws his decision strikes down—were acting against children's welfare by instantiating in law the ideal that kids have both a mother and a father!
But it gets even worse than that.
To take another—and perhaps the most egregious—example: We know that the tradition of marriage as the union of husband and wife is nearly universal to the human experience; it is a tradition honorably celebrated and sincerely believed in by nearly every religious tradition and philosophy, throughout history and in our own day. It constitutes a deeply held belief for literally billions of people worldwide.
Well, Posner compares that tradition to cannibalism and ritualistic suicide!
Mr. Epps says Judge Posner comes almost unhinged. I might question whether he's not underestimating things somewhat.
Marriage Supporter, you should be outraged, as I am, that the deeply held beliefs of millions of Americans like us can be subjected to such calumny by high-level judiciary official in our land. We should be disgusted to find the votes of millions of Americans to protect marriage and the interests of children in having a mom and a dad compared libelously to something as grotesque as cannibalism!
But, in light of this insidious attack, we should also be grateful and all the more thrilled for the cool-headed common sense of judges like Martin Feldman whose decision is like a breath of fresh air let into a dank and stale cellar.
Please share this decision with your family and friends, and read it yourself today, and be encouraged!
The redefinition of marriage is not inevitable—not by a long shot.
Even a writer like Epps, who admits he is on the side of redefining marriage, admitted of Feldman's decision that it was clearly and closely based on Justice Kennedy's reasoning in Windsor.
Epps recognizes as much because it is hard not to do so—just as it is not hard to recognize, as Epps does, that Posner's decision by contrast is "puzzling," to use perhaps the politest applicable term.
When the Supreme Court considers this matter again—as they will certainly do—they won't miss what anyone can plainly see. They won't miss that decisions like Feldman's are based in a careful and discerning reading of the law, without a personal agenda to push or axe to grind; and that decisions like Posner's are ideological screeds frankly unworthy of the very institution of the Judiciary.
So, take heart. And read the wonderful and victorious decision from Louisiana. It will be a wonderful resource and encouragement to you as, with us at NOM and with so many of your fellow citizens, you continue to stand up bravely and speak out boldly about what marriage is and why marriage matters!
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Federal Judge: U.S. Constitution Doesn’t Require Redefinition of Marriage
by Ryan T Anderson, Heritage Foundation, September 3, 2014
Does the U.S. Constitution require the states to redefine marriage? Earlier today a federal judge said no. Judge Martin L.C. Feldman upheld Louisiana’s constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman—as 78 percent of Louisiana voters did in 2004.
Feldman noted that Louisiana’s marriage law furthers two important interests: “linking children to an intact family formed by their biological parents, as specifically underscored by Justice Kennedy in Windsor” and “safeguarding that fundamental social change … is better cultivated through democratic consensus.” That is, Feldman noted the two central issues in this debate—the policy question: What is marriage, and the legal question: Who gets to define marriage.
Feldman ruled that, consistent with the U.S. Constitution, citizens and their elected officials should get to define marriage, and they can define it as the union of man and woman if they choose to. In response to those who argue that there is no rational basis for such marriage laws, Feldman writes: “The Court is persuaded that a meaning of what is marriage that has endured in history for thousands of years, and prevails in a majority of states today, is not universally irrational.”
Feldman cites the Supreme Court’s decision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, U.S. v. Windsor, as support that Louisiana has the right to define marriage for itself. Feldman writes: “Windsor repeatedly and emphatically reaffirmed the longstanding principle that the authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations belongs to the states, subject to indistinct future constitutional guarantees that in Windsor were, by its expressed limits, left open and rather inexact.”
When the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA, Justice Anthony Kennedy explained, “The significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning.” Taking Kennedy at his word, Feldman emphasizes the basic equality of state citizens and the vital importance of democratic debate. Just as citizens are free to redefine marriage to include same-sex relationships, so too are citizens free to retain the historic definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman—as citizens in a majority of states have done.
Our federal Constitution is silent on what marriage is. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution. As Feldman notes, “it is not for this Court to resolve the wisdom of same-sex marriage.The nation is witness to a strong conversation about what is marriage.” The courts should uphold the freedom of the American people and their elected representatives to make marriage policy.
Feldman accepts that Louisiana’s voters had a rational basis to define marriage as the union of a man and woman:
Louisiana’s laws and Constitution are directly related to achieving marriage’s historically preeminent purpose of linking children to their biological parents. Louisiana’s regime pays respect to the democratic process; to vigorous debate….The fact that marriage has many differing, even perhaps unproved dimensions, does not render Louisiana’s decision irrational.
Feldman rightly questions where the re-definition of marriage will lead:
Must the states permit or recognize a marriage between an aunt and niece? Aunt and nephew? Brother/brother? Father and child? May minors marry? Must marriage be limited to only two people? What about a transgender spouse? Is such a union same-gender or male-female? All such unions would undeniably be equally committed to love and caring for one another, just like the plaintiffs.
This again highlights the importance of respecting the authority of citizens and their elected officials to make policy about marriage. As Feldman emphasizes, marriage policy should be worked out by the people in the states: “Federalism is not extinct. Federalism remains a vibrant and essential component of our nation’s constitutional structure.” The debate about marriage cannot be put to rest by a court-imposed 50-state solution. This is the people’s decision.