Statement on 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling that Virginia’s Marriage Amendment is Unconstitutional
By Dr. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
July 28, 2014
The decision today by the three-judge-panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals declaring Virginia’s state constitutional marriage amendment as unconstitutional is disheartening, but not entirely unexpected. We’ve seen this trend by federal courts in more than 20 legal decisions on marriage around the country.
Nevertheless, regardless of how many times such rulings come down from the courts, they are fundamentally flawed and the worst form of judicial activism. Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote in the 4th Circuit’s opinion today that Virginia’s marriage amendment impermissibly infringes on a same-sex couple’s fundamental right to marry.
Granted, the 14th Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry. Still, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions that establish a fundamental right to marriage have always understood the institution as only the union of one man and one woman. The debate about marriage has never really been about who can marry, but what actually defines marriage. What justices like these of the 4th Circuit Court have done in ruling against state constitutional marriage amendments is to supply their own, new answer to the central legal question of how marriage is to be defined. Of course, the only way they can do this is to impose a view of marriage, which sees it as a genderless institution and then pronounces from on high that states must define marriage as the court declares it.
The point here is the courts, more specifically; in this case the 4th Circuit Court’s three-judge panel, has set themselves above the people, above the Constitution, and above Almighty God – the final authority who says marriage is and always legitimately shall be between one man and one woman.
Because North Carolina is a part of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, the ruling damages North Carolina’s own constitutional amendment to protect marriage. There are at least three different lawsuits against North Carolina’s state marriage amendment waiting in the wings.
After the 4th Circuit’s decision today, North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper announced he would not oppose these challenges to overturn North Carolina’s marriage laws. Cooper said, “After reviewing the Fourth Circuit decision, and consulting with attorneys here, I’ve concluded that the state of North Carolina will acknowledge the Fourth Circuit opinion that marriage is a fundamental right, and that our office believes that the judges in North Carolina are bound by the Fourth Circuit decision.”
Cooper’s decision is premature, surrenders to judicial activism, and abandons the will of the people of North Carolina. Even though Cooper has spoken out against our state’s marriage amendment, he promised that he would defend it. He now says that he will not. In fact, he says North Carolina will recognize the Fourth Circuit Court’s decision and that the state’s judges are bound by it. Like the 4th Circuit’s decision, Cooper’s own decision is not entirely unexpected, although no less reprehensible.
In Virginia, Fifty-seven percent of its citizens said via the ballot box they believed marriage should be legally defined exclusively as one man and one woman. In North Carolina the margin was even higher, sixty-one percent. But now two federal justices have overturned the will of the people and ruled marriage must be defined differently in all states under the Fourth Circuit of Appeals.
All Americans should tremble. If the courts can redefine the bed-rock institution of marriage, they can redefine anything. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people is disappearing, while a government of the courts, by the courts, and for the courts, is raising its tyrannical head to write it’s will for all of us.