By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
May 13, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. — It could be weeks or months before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals announces its ruling on Virginia’s marriage protection amendment, but early reports of arguments heard in the case on Tuesday reveal a sharply divided three-judge panel.
“This case is an important one for North Carolina since the court’s jurisdiction includes not only Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia but the Carolinas as well, so what happens here could reveal the fate of our own MPA,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. He was encouraged by the questions asked by Judge Paul V. Niemeyer, but discouraged by views expressed by his counterpart, Judge Roger L. Gregory. The third justice, Henry F. Floyd, who divulged little of his thought process, may very well have the deciding vote.
According to the Washington Post, Niemeyer characterized same-sex unions as a kind of “brand new” relationship that states could welcome or prohibit. He forcefully questioned attorneys’ claims that Virginia’s marriage protection amendment violates the Constitution’s equal protection and due process guarantees, and said that the fundamental right to marriage recognized by the Supreme Court as constitutionally protected is that of a “union of husband and wife.”
On the other hand, Judge Gregory made it clear he believes marriage is about “the individual’s choice to marry the person they choose.” He said the MPA defenders’ interest in children was “really disingenuous.”
“This is one of the reasons our society is in trouble today because there is little thought given to the effect that our decisions as adults will have on children,” said Dr. Creech. “A society that no longer has the best interests of its children at heart no longer has a future.”
He said furthermore, the idea that marriage is all about a person’s “right to choose whom they please” opens the door to bigamy, polygamy, the marriage of adults to children and other practices that, while abhorrent to most of us, would be “chosen” by some.
Austin R. Nimocks, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, echoed Judge Niemeyer’s assessment of same-sex marriage as a recent phenomenon.
“The Supreme Court and Justice Kennedy in the Windsor case recognized that same-sex marriage is brand new. It is not something that is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of our country like traditional marriage is,” Nimocks told the media after Tuesday’s arguments, framing the issue as one that should be decided by the people of the states and not federal judges.
“Virginians are entitled to continue to uphold the idea that kids deserve mothers and fathers in their policy as they’ve always done. And other states can make changes in their marriage policy as they have always done,” Nimocks continued. “What’s important is that this belongs to the people, and the people can continue to debate and make elective decisions about marriage and their society and families and not for the federal courts to impose one definition or another on the states.”
The case argued Tuesday wound up before the 4th Court of Appeals after U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen ruled the state’s Marriage Protection Amendment, which was passed by voters in 2006, unconstitutional last February. Despite the will of the people and his oath of office, Virginia’s Attorney General Mark Herring refused to defend the state law. Instead, circuit clerks George Schaefer III and Michel McQuigg are being represented by ADF.
Note from CAL’s Executive Director:
Friends, as the justices of the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the arguments for natural marriage and forms their ruling, I suggest that in the coming weeks we pray earnestly for the following:
Pray that God will give divine wisdom to the three-judge panel. Pray that God will turn their hearts to what is godly and true. Pray that they will rule to uphold what God commands. Pray that they will condemn what God condemns.
Pray that whatever the court rules God will enable his people to continue to stand and not be deceived by this great delusion in our day.
Pray that Christians would live out a righteous sexual ethic in their own lives.
Pray that the followers of Christ will continue to stand-up for the truth, no matter the outcomes or the costs.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:17).
“When we work, we work, when we pray, God works.” –Oswald Smith
-Dr. Mark Creech