Christian Law Firms Seek Gay Marriage Reversal

( [email protected] ) Apr 28, 2004 09:06 AM EDT

BOSTON -- Several Christian-based law firms are intervening to stop gay marriage in Massachusetts and New York.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law firm specializing in constitutional law which was founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, yesterday, filed a legal challenge on behalf of 13 members of the Massachusetts legislature challenging the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to reverse its decision, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to take place in the state.

The lawmakers argued that under the state constitution, it is the Legislature and governor who are entitled to determine marriage laws, not the Supreme Court.

"It is clear that the Supreme Judicial Court overstepped its authority in the decision in the Goodridge case," said Vincent McCarthy, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. "The SJC lacked jurisdiction in deciding this case and it is clear that the authority concerning the issue of marriage rests with the Governor and/or legislature according to the Massachusetts Constitution - not the Supreme Judicial Court. We are privileged to represent a bi-partisan group of state legislators who believe the SJC usurped their authority concerning the issue of marriage."

Gay marriages are scheduled to begin May 17. The Legislature recently approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage, which would simultaneously legalize civil unions if approved by voters in November 2006.

Meanwhile, Thomas More Law Center, Liberty Counsel, and the American Family Association’s Center for Law & Policy have intervened to challenge the lawsuits filed by private citizens represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lambda Legal Defense Fund to allow gay marriage.

Pat Gillen of the Thomas More Law Center said the institution of the family is in jeopardy.

"For a long time now, the history of Western civilization has privileged the union, the marriage of a man and a woman, as the fundamental unit of society, the basis for the family, and ultimately a healthy society," the attorney says. "What we have here is an effort to redefine marriage and, ultimately, the family -- and that will radically affect our society and its health and viability, in my opinion."

Attorney Gillen says in addition to attacking the institutions of marriage and family, the effort to redefine marriage also goes contrary to the established approach for making law in America. "[Our] root objection is that this is a matter that should be determined by the people of the State of New York acting through their legislators," he explains. "That's the most fundamental point, that this is a vitally important point of public policy."

He also emphasized marriage laws, which determine relationship that is important to serve the purposes of the common good and for the good of society, it should be decided by the people, not by activist judges, whom he described as “rewriting marriage law throughout the United States."