Thursday, July 13, 2006

‘Homosexual Marriage’ Finally Meets Judicial Restraint

By Andrea Lafferty
Executive Director, Traditional Values Coalition

July 12, 2006 - Defenders of the institution of traditional marriage were encouraged by three state court decisions in the past week. The Supreme Courts of Georgia and New York came down on the side of judicial restraint in legal challenges to bans on same-sex marriage. And, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court actually ruled correctly on a marriage amendment.

In Georgia, the court ruled that a marriage amendment passed by 77% of the voters in 2004 was constitutional and overturned a lower court decision violating the clearly expressed will of the people. Georgians have the right to amend their own constitution to define marriage as a one-man, one-woman union.

In New York, homosexual activists had challenged a ban on same-sex marriage, claiming that the New York Constitution mandated such marriages. The 4-2 decision declared that there is no constitutional right in New York for homosexuals to marry. The court also noted that such decisions should be in the hands of the legislature, not the courts. The New York Court of Appeals displayed judicial restraint, a welcome change from judicial activists who routinely impose their political agendas upon the American people.

In writing about the New York decision, Newsday described these judicial activists as individuals who view the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions and laws like Etch-A-Sketches. Noted Newsday, “These judges ignore what actually was intended and written, turn things upside down, shake and then write whatever they want.”

This is an apt description of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which found a “right” to homosexual marriage in the 1780 Constitution of that state. A review of history shows that sodomy was a criminal offense in Massachusetts in the 18th century (and elsewhere), so it is unlikely that the state Constitution mandates same-sex marriage. The Supreme Judicial Court obviously viewed the state Constitution as an Etch-A-Sketch and eagerly imposed homosexual marriage upon Massachusetts.

Fortunately, this same court recently ruled that the Massachusetts state legislature and the people could vote on a marriage amendment to overturn this tyrannical decision. It was good of them to acknowledge the democratic process. Perhaps, there is hope for Massachusetts after all.

Judicial restraint is an alien concept to many judges, who view themselves as the real rulers of our nation. Judge Robert Bork has described these judges as “our robed masters” and has warned against the dangerous anti-democratic values that motivate these men and women.

A decade ago, Bork warned about judicial activism on the Supreme Court, noting they are “… our masters in a way that no President, Congressman, governor, or other elected official is. They order our lives and we have no recourse, no means of resisting, no means of altering their ukases. They are, indeed, robed masters.”

This is why it is so important for the Senate to confirm judicial conservatives to the federal bench—including the next vacancy on the Supreme Court. We must have men and women on the bench who understand that their role is to interpret, not make the laws. We must confirm judges who believe in judicial restraint and are not motivated by a desire to impose their own wills upon the American people.

Our choice is clear: We will be ruled by the people and their representatives or by unaccountable robed masters. Americans must demand that the Senate confirm judicial conservatives to our courts—or we will continue to lose our democratic freedoms to judicial tyrants.

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