We must prevent scorn of our laws

( [email protected] ) Mar 11, 2004 09:51 AM EST

The U.S. Constitution, the rule of law, and our nation's way of life are under attack. This time, by those making the assertion that preserving marriage between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. If more activist judges agree, this has further-reaching implications than anyone can anticipate or imagine.

San Francisco has announced plans to sue the state of California, saying that Proposition 22, the state law preserving traditional marriage, is unconstitutional. Proposition 22 was adopted overwhelmingly by California's voters in 2000 to reaffirm marriage as always known in the United States. Now, despite a court ruling to cease and desist, city officials say they will continue issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until someone forces them to stop. They don't like the law and the majority's decision, and so far no elected California official with authority to stop this dangerous anarchy has been willing to strongly and effectively act.

We have seen unprecedented scorn for the law and the will of the people regarding marriage across America – in New York, New Mexico, Oregon, Massachusetts and other places.

What's the big deal with same-sex "marriage"? All these efforts are intended to revolutionize the definition of, and ultimately even abolish marriage, without going through the channel this nation's Founders intended – without giving the people their voice through their elected representatives – that is the modern equivalent of taxation without representation, or worse. It's cause to fight to restore the rule of law in this country.

A federal marriage amendment will help us regain the rule of law regarding marriage. The trend of democracy is that when the people and their representatives in state capitals decide this issue they tend to strongly reaffirm marriage as one man, one woman. Our democratic republic was established as a government "of the people, by the people, for the people." It is up to the people, not unelected judges or runaway mayors, to determine the definition of marriage – an institution that reaches in and shapes every aspect of our culture, our society and our laws.

One definition of tyranny is scorn for the separation of powers. There is nothing more basic in America's system. Making laws is a legislative function, not the job of judges. Nevertheless, unelected judges are rewriting, re-creating the Constitution in ways that will make our children and grandchildren wonder why we didn't resist this encroaching tyranny while we had the chance. Joining these judges, we now have local officials who do not possess authority deciding arrogantly they can abolish hundreds if not thousands of marriage laws and other related matters in their city, their state and perhaps the nation.

Even though the 38 states and the Congress have passed strong and clear Defense of Marriage Acts – or DOMAs – the chances of a judge somewhere, some day soon, striking one or all in favor of his or her narrow views are great.

What happens to the institution of the family after same-sex "marriage"? No one knows, but at a minimum, more than 2,500 social science studies have shown that having a married mother and married father present provide unique benefits for children. When society strays from this ideal – through divorce, cohabitation, single parenthood – the results have been devastating, and children have suffered for adult selfishness.

Poverty, mental illness, physical abuse, higher rates of promiscuity and sexually transmitted diseases, lower self-confidence and poorer academic performance are all linked to the absence of one gender role model in the home.

Fatherless homes produce 63 percent of all youth suicides, 90 percent of the nation's homeless children and runaways, 85 percent of the kids with behavioral problems, 71 percent of its high school dropouts, 85 percent of youths in prison and more than 50 percent of teen mothers.

If these statistics sound grim, consider the even greater potential degradation of culture.

The debate over same-sex marriage is only the beginning. The cutting edge of discussion among family law practitioners is how the legalization of same-sex marriage can be used to strike down bans against polygamy, and polyamory (group marriage). Homosexual activists and other radical advocates are leading the way to destroy marriage because their legal arguments flow inexorably to the conclusion that marriage means everything and anything, and perhaps nothing.

Marriage has been defined by our culture, state law, and congressional action as the union of a man and a woman, because that's the only arrangement from which any culture or society has been shown to benefit under family law.

Are we going to allow judges to foist an unrecognizable America on us or are we willing to resist and defend marriage for our children and grandchildren? I think the children would vote for the federal marriage amendment. Let us hope their parents show as much wisdom.


Sears, formerly chief of the criminal section of a U.S. Attorney's Office, and an associate solicitor of the U.S. Department of Interior, is president, CEO and general counsel for the Scottsdale, Ariz.,-based Alliance Defense Fund, now America's largest public interest religious liberty legal alliance.