Thursday, November 6, 2014

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Anti-Gay Marriage Law In 4 States

Today a federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld anti-gay marriage laws in four states breaking ranks with other courts that have considered the issue and setting up the prospect of Supreme Court review.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel that heard arguments on gay marriage bans or restrictions in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee on Aug. 6 split 2-1, with Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton writing the majority opinion. The ruling creates a divide among federal appeals courts, increasing the likelihood the Supreme Court will now take up the issue.

Michigan pastor Stacy Swimp was enthusiastic about the ruling Thursday.

"I'm very happy that the courts decided to uphold the voting rights
Stacy Swimp
of 2.7 million voters who under the Michigan and the U.S. constitutions exercised their voting rights," said Swimp of the National Christian Leadership Council and a member of the National Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian Leaders, which filed amicus briefs in the case opposing gay marriage. "No court had the right to usurp their God-given rights."

The 64-page ruling notes four courts have upheld same-sex unions, but for different reasons in each case.

"Even if we … assume that same-sex marriage will be recognized one day in all fifty states, that does not tell us how — whether through the courts or through democracy. And if through the courts, that does not tell us why," the opinion states.

The ruling says "process and structure matter greatly in American government" and laws passed by voters shouldn't be overturned on a whim. The issue should not be settled by a "poll of three judges on this panel … about whether gay marriage is a good idea."

The court also said the traditional perception of marriage cannot simply be overruled.

"A dose of humility makes us hesitant to condemn as unconstitutionally irrational a view of marriage shared not long ago by every society in the world, shared by most, if not all, of our ancestors, and shared still today by a significant number of states," the ruling states.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said he's ready when and if the case will  to the Supreme Court.

"The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled, and Michigan's constitution remains in full effect," Schuette said. "As I have stated repeatedly, the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final word on this issue. The sooner they rule, the better, for Michigan and the country."

More than 300 couples received marriage licenses in several
Michigan counties, including Dick Devos’ Michigan Gubernatorial campaign manager and current Director of the political pact Michigan Freedom Fund  Greg McNeilly before an appeals judge imposed a stay.
Greg McNeilly, 42, left of Grand Rapids, attempting to marry his
longtime partner Doug Meeks, 37, of Lansing,
outside the Ingham County courtroom

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