Marriage Unconstitutional? or Necessary for Family Strength?

Marriage has been hotly debated this week - constitutionally, legislatively, judicially, and in the hearts and minds of many individuals in America. Here are just a few pieces of information on this raging battle.

New Jersey Court rejected a claim at to dismiss a lawsuit charging the inequality of the State's Civil Union statute. See http://jurist.org/paperchase/2012/02/nj-court-reverses-partial-dismissal-of-same-sex-marriage-lawsuit.php. "The court's ruling came four days after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act, [creating same sex marriage in the State,] was passed by the New Jersey State Assembly by a vote of 42-33, and was subsequently approved by the State Senate 24-16. Approval of the legislation marks a shift from the legislature's previous position concerning same-sex marriage, as a similar bill was defeated in the state Senate last year."

Governor Christie, however, has very firmly answered challenges to his veto on MSNBC's Morning Jo at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGjHR2f4Jzo&feature=youtube_gdata. The Governor would like to see the people of his State vote on a referendum, rather than trusting judges to this decision, and he would like to see the President of the United States clarify his position on marriage.

In Ocean Grove, New Jersey a judge ruled in January against a Christian retreat house that refused to provide the venue for a same-sex civil union ceremony to be conducted on its premises, ruling the Constitution allows "some intrusion into religious freedom to balance other important societal goals." See www.LifeSiteNews.com.

In New Hampshire, a bill is now pending that would protect vendors and businesses who do not wish to provide service to same sex couples as a matter of religious conviction and freedom. See the article at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2012/HB1264.html.

Last week Washington State became the eighth U.S. jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage, which is legal only in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia, all by judicial order. Civil unions or domestic partnerships are currently legal in Maine, Illinois, Delaware, Hawaii, California, Wisconsin, Nevada, Oregon and Washington and await ratification in Rhode Island. These have become law by legislation, along with same sex marriage legislation in New York, rather than by referendum of the people of those jurisdictions.

And a federal judge ruled last week that the Defense of Marriage Act protecting States' recognition of marriage as between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. Read the Jurist article at http://jurist.org/paperchase/2012/02/federal-judge-finds-defense-of-marriage-act-unconstitutional.php.
The Justice Department is also conflicted with DOMA because of the new military mandates on recognition of same sex relationships. It will not defend the Defense Department and Department of Veterans Affairs in a lawsuit filed last year intended to extend rights and benefits to married same-sex couples in the military. Attorney General Eric Holder informed House Speaker Rep. John Boehner by letter on Friday that the DoJ would not defend against the suit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA, a federal law that explicitly defines marriage as union between one man and one woman, is currently what prevents spouses of gay troops from receiving marriage benefits. The administration last year said it would stop defending DOMA against lawsuits, but that decision did not extend to the military or the Veterans Administration.

AG Holder said he determined that DOMA provisions "as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violate the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment [of the Constitution]." He added, "The legislative record of [the DOMA] provisions contains no rationale for providing veterans' benefits to opposite-sex couples of veterans but not to legally married same-sex spouses of veterans," Holder states in the letter. "Neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of Veterans Affairs identified any justifications for that distinction that would warrant treating these provisions differently from Section 3 of DOMA. "I will instruct [DoJ] attorneys not to defend those provisions against the equal protection claims" of the lawsuit, he wrote. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network represents the same sex couples, filing a lawsuit in Massachusetts in October on behalf of current servicemembers and veterans. A month later the organization sought a summary judgement against the government, arguing that the material facts of the case – that gay married couples were not being treated equally under the law – were not in dispute. Just last week U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns granted a 60-day delay in the case to give the government time to respond. Even with Holder's decision, SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes said nothing will likely change since the 60 day stay remains in effect. You may read this entire article at

Additionally, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling in Perry v. Brown, the federal challenge to California's democratically established marriage protection amendment, which effectively struck down the expressed will of over 7 million Californians who voted to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The future for marriage in the nation is far from decided by these recent events. For this reason, the Alliance Defense Fund has encrouaged Sunday, February 26 as a day of prayer for the legal and spiritual warfare surrounding marriage. Marriages across our nation need to be strengthened, upholding God's design for marriage individually in private homes, and corporately in the laws of our nation and states. Learn more at www.TellADF.org/marriage .

Marriage should be not only constitutionally protected, but it is indeed necessary for family strength, and for family restoration in our nation.

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