By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
November 20, 2014
GASTONIA – Gaston County Commissioners have unanimously approved a resolution stating their support for traditional marriage. The resolution was approved at their meeting Thursday, November 13.
The Commissioners’ action comes on the heels of a ruling by federal Judge Max O. Coburn in Asheville, declaring North Carolina’s Marriage Amendment as unconstitutional. Judge William Osteen in Greensboro also ruled that the state’s Marriage Amendment didn’t meet constitutional muster, but Osteen granted legislative leaders, Speaker Thom Tills and Senate President Pro-Tempore, Phil Berger standing to intervene, opening the door for an appeal.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said he would abide by a federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against Virginia’s Marriage Amendment as unconstitutional and would take no steps to defend North Carolina’s amendment. North Carolina falls under the 4th Circuit’s jurisdiction.
Commissioner Jason Williams, who sponsored the resolution, told the Charlotte Observer that the Board was taking a strong stand against judicial activism. “There comes a time when we cannot let these people define who we are,” Williams said.
Commissioner Chad Brown also told the Charlotte Observer that he was very proud that the Board was taking a stand.
The resolution states without equivocation:
“This Board steadfastly upholds the sanctity of marriage and shall continue to oppose efforts by any court or legislature to legalize same-sex marriage…the Gaston County Board of Commissioners recognizes its constitutional duty to uphold the law, however, the Board remains resolved in their efforts to defend the tradition of marriage and will strongly support and advocate on behalf of the appeals being brought forward by North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tills and Senate Leader Phil Berger.”
The resolution solemnly resolves that the Gaston County Board of Commissioners:
“[S]strongly opposes the federal court ruling that abolishes North Carolina’s Marriage Amendment (Amendment One) and hereby encourages all those that recognize the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman as the only valid domestic legal union recognized in this state, to voice their opposition to this ruling.”
The resolution further resolves to ardently support the current appeal by Speaker Tills and Sen. Berger and urges that a copy of the resolution be sent to all members of the North Carolina General Assembly, the local congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., the Governor, and the other 99 counties in the state, “requesting they join in their support of the appeal that will allow the voice of more than 60 percent of North Carolina’s voters, who cast their vote in support of the 2012 amendment, to be heard.”
Detractors at the meeting claimed the Commissioners were wasting time and taxpayer money by not taking up more important issues, while supporters expressed gratitude for the Board’s strong stand.
“Gaston County has always been stalwart on the marriage issue,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “The champion for the Marriage Amendment, the very man who initiated and carried this issue in what turned out to be a ten-year journey toward passage in the state’s legislature was from Gaston County – the late Sen. Jim Forrester.”
Dr. Creech said he hopes what the County Commissioners are trying to do will spread.
“They are boldly making a statement against judicial supremacy – the new tyranny of our time,” said Dr. Creech. “Commissioner Williams is right. Even though we are to be law-abiding citizens, we can’t just surrender to this overreach by government, whether we are talking about a federal appeals court ruling or the rulings of two federal judges. Gaston County voted by over 76 percent to define marriage as one man and one woman, the state voted for it by over 60 percent. Moreover, judges don’t make law or enforce it, they only interpret it. There has never been any enabling legislation to pass in this state or any of the other affected states anywhere in the country where Marriage Amendments have been knocked down by the courts that mandates same-sex marriage. What is happening is not how our government was meant to function.”
The resolution is an important position statement by the Board of Commissioners, but it has no legal effect.