National Organization for Marriage Condemns the Decision by a Federal Court to Strike Down a Component of Kentucky’s Laws Regulating Marriage
“Today’s decision emphasizes the need for Congressional action to prevent our states’ marriage laws from spiraling further into chaos. Congress needs to explicitly reinforce the sovereign right of the states to make their own determinations regarding marriage.” — Brian Brown, NOM president —
Washington, D.C. — The leadership of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) issued criticism against a decision by a federal judge in Kentucky to strike down a component of that state’s marriage laws. The judge ruled that Kentucky must recognize as marriage same-sex relationships that have been granted that status in a different state.
“Today yet another federal judge has entered the competition for lawlessness on the marriage front,” said Brian Brown, NOM President. “Today’s decision emphasizes the need for Congressional action to prevent our states’ marriage laws from spiraling further into chaos. Congress needs to explicitly reinforce the sovereign right of the states to make their own determinations regarding marriage, and to have those determinations respected by the federal government-which would include having those determinations protected from coerced modification through dubious readings of the 14th amendment such as we have here.”
Brown noted that a bill proposed by Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) called the “State Marriage Defense Act” is an example of the kind of legislation called for in order to answer difficulties like the ones presented by this case.
Dr. John Eastman, a law professor and the chairman of NOM’s board of directors, gave this analysis:
“In Windsor, decided just last June, the Supreme Court placed great weight on the fact that States have primary authority for determining marriage policy. It therefore held that the federal government must respect New York’s decision to alter the definition and purpose of marriage so that the institution encompasses same-sex relationships. Kentucky, as more than 30 other states have recently done, continues to further marriage policy that is tied to the unique procreative abilities of men and women. Yet this federal judge has, contrary to the strong federalism language in Windsor, determined on his own that Kentucky is not allowed to make that policy choice.”
Eastman also voiced a concern noted by other critics regarding this particular case, which involves a same-sex couple married in Canada. Some observers contend that the ruling may set a dangerous precedent for other judges to require that states recognize different forms of marriage considered valid in other countries, such as ‘plural’ or polygamous civil marriages.
“If the decision is upheld, Kentucky will have to recognize as marriages same-sex relationships that were given marriage certificates in other nations, but there is no reason to limit the ruling to same-sex relationships,” Eastman continued. “Presumably, Kentucky will also be forced to recognize as ‘marriage’ polygamous and other marriages that were valid in the country in which they were performed. This drives a stake through the heart of Kentucky’s profound policy judgment, and through the reasoning of the Windsor decision that instructed the lower courts to respect such state policy judgments.”