Last week in an historic case – Obergefell v. Hodges – five unelected judges on the Supreme Court radically redefined marriage and decided to give to themselves the power to determine public policy for over 300 million Americans. The Supreme Court’s re-definition of marriage ignores the Constitution, thousands of years of history, the clear implications of science, and the wisdom of every major religious and philosophical tradition, especially the teachings of Christ.
This course-altering decision – in the form of Justices Kennedy, Sotomayor, Kagan, Breyer, and Ginsburg – to redefine marriage was not based on the Constitution or prior Court cases. The writers of the Constitution clearly assumed a traditional definition of marriage and the text of the Constitution itself leaves to the states the responsibility to regulate marriage. As Chief Justice John Roberts noted in his dissent, “whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have the power to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
Instead of following the Constitution, Justice Kennedy in the majority’s opinion quotes Confucius and relies on emotion and contorted logic better fit for a quack bull session on philosophy than the Supreme Court chambers.
As it did with Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has overstepped its constitutional boundaries and cut short democratic debate on a vitally important cultural issue. In 2006, the people of Alabama overwhelmingly passed the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment to encode in Alabama’s constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman. It passed with 81% of the vote. Across our country, 31 states passed similar legislation defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman.
If the proponents of gay marriage were so certain they were on the “right side of history,” why didn’t they continue to persuade and convince their fellow Americans through the democratic process? Instead, five unelected judges who are appointed for life have now silenced the people’s voice.
Marriage is the cornerstone of society and it is the sacred union between a man and a woman for the purposes of raising children in a nurturing family. Abandoning this definition of marriage –which every society in Western history has held for over 2,000 years – will have deeply negative consequences permanently altering the course of our nation.
Children deserve and need both a father and a mother. The Court’s decision will result in thousands more children growing up in a home without a father, or a mother, at a time when already too many children are growing up in fractured homes and broken neighborhoods. The institution of marriage needs to be strengthened and honored, not broken or abandoned.
The Supreme Court’s usurpation of democracy will also open the floodgates for legal harassment of churches and synagogues whose principles prevent them from allowing homosexual marriage ceremonies to take place in their house of worship. Freedom of religion and conscience will be discarded in favor of coercion. As Justice Samuel Alito pointed out, the majority’s opinion in Obergefell compares those who support traditional marriage to the white supremacists in the 1960s who denied African-Americans basic civil liberties. Think about that: the Supreme Court implies that if you support traditional marriage, you are the moral equivalent of Bull Connor.
The Supreme Court’s re-definition of marriage is an act of judicial tyranny and thus an ominous attack on our democratic process. Millions of Americans still believe that marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman. I vow to protect their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of conscience and religion as they hold to that view.
As part of that vow, I call on Congress, the Governor, and the Alabama legislature to make protection of religious liberties a priority. You can trust that I will lead the charge to ensure that everyone in Alabama has a right to practice his or her religion without external pressure to go against conscience or belief.
Senator Gerald Allen represents District 21 in the Alabama State Senate, which is comprised of all or parts of Tuscaloosa, Pickens, and Lamar Counties. He is chairman of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. Follow him on Twitter for his latest legislative updates: @SenGeraldAllen