Family Research Council

August 04, 2014 - Monday

Natural Marriage Courts Appeal

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati will hear cases on Wednesday challenging the male-female definitions of marriage found in the constitutions of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan. Each of those states had defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and each was declared unconstitutional by federal district courts in those respective states. The four cases have been consolidated into one appeal that will be considered by a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit.

FRC's Senior Fellow for Regulatory Policy, Chris Gacek, commented on the appellate case in an opinion piece, "No Fundamental Right to Same-Sex Marriage," for the Cincinnati Inquirer yesterday. To boil the argument down quite a bit, homosexual plaintiffs argue, among other things, that the constitutional protections of the Fourteenth Amendment include a "fundamental right" to enter into same-sex "marriages." Unfortunately, courts have been buying this poor argument recently.

The U.S. Constitution requires two things for a right to be "fundamental." The first is a carefully worded description of the asserted fundamental right. Second, such rights must be "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition." The right must be "so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people" that "neither liberty nor justice would exist if [it was] sacrificed." Undoubtedly, the Supreme Court has found that there is a right to marry, but the Court was referring to the core concept of the male-female union recognized for millennia.

A loose definition like "being able to marry someone you love" is too broad and could include the union of multiple partners and other arrangements like those that are incestuous (e.g., a father and a son). In fact, the plaintiffs in these cases are already permitted to marry persons of the opposite sex, but they want the courts to legitimize a new social-sexual arrangement by declaring a "right" to same-sex "marriage." And, this is a new right not the recognized right to marry as traditionally understood.

When this claimed fundamental right is accurately defined -- it is clear that no such right exists. Same-sex "marriage" existed in no state before 2004. In fact, Google, Facebook, and the iPod are older.. As such, it is clear that same-sex "marriage" cannot be deeply rooted in the traditions and conscience of Americans.

The Sixth Circuit needs to follow the law and reject imperious arguments that would whimsically overturn the electoral decisions of the citizens of those four states. They have already decided that marriage should be reserved to the union of one man and one woman. This was not a bizarre choice. In fact, it comported perfectly with the fundamental right that is recognized by the U.S. Constitution.

Ebola: What Would Kent Brantly Do?

Ebola is a dangerous disease but readily contained. It is especially dangerous in countries where proper sanitation breaks down. Once diagnosed, its spread can be arrested. Still, many worried Americans are reading about the alarming outbreak of Ebola in West Africa -- and the transfer to Emory University's isolation unit of a stricken missionary doctor. Dr. Kent Brantly of the Samaritan's Purse Christian ministry has returned home for treatment. He is the first known victim of Ebola to enter the U.S. He had heroically ordered that the single dose of an experimental serum be provided instead to his medical colleague, Nancy Writebol. We understand the fear of Ebola. Yet this threat is not new. Christians have been meeting such threats for two thousand years. Historian Rodney Stark relates in his book The Rise of Christianity how a minority faith astonished the pagans of the Third Century. Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, in modern day Egypt, wrote to his flock at Easter, around 260 AD.

Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger [of the plague] they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, for they were infected with by others with the disease and with them departed this life serenely happy. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead.

The conduct of Christians then and now is a wonder of the world. You will know they are Christians by their love. We offer our prayers and support to Dr. Franklin Graham's organization, Samaritan's Purse, and to Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Dr. Graham, son of famed Evangelist Billy Graham, spoke recently at FRC's Watchmen on the Wall conference.

What Does Hamas Want?

Since its miraculous rebirth 66 years ago, Israel has been a close friend and ally of the United States. America's commitment to Israel's security is and must remain sacrosanct -- especially now as it defends itself from terrorism. For the last month, as Israeli troops have engaged in a military campaign to destroy the ability of Hamas to wage war, the Western media have grown increasingly sympathetic to Hamas.

Some in the media have even asked what policy changes could Israel make that would appease Hamas? FRC intern Connor Headrick answers this question and more in his American Thinker opinion piece, "What Does Hamas Want?".


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

More Washington Updates »