Bible Belt Won't Buckle on Marriage
After watching from a distance as the marriage debate ignited out west, Oklahomans were horrified yesterday to see the battle march directly into their backyards. From Tulsa to Tipton, the news dropped like a bombshell, stunning the million-plus voters who'd exercised what they thought was their constitutional right to define marriage. Under the 68-page opinion of a single judge, that right no longer exists for Sooners. Like New Jersey, New Mexico, and Utah before them, Oklahomans are feeling the deep betrayal of a judicial system overrun by political activists. In a country where lawlessness is more contagious than the common cold, U.S. District Judge Terence Kern smothered the votes of 76% of the state and substituted his judgment for that of 1,075,216 Oklahomans.
Kern, a Clinton-appointee, even stuck it to the U.S. Supreme Court in his ruling, implying that the justices dodged the hard questions in their June marriage decision. In reality, the Court couldn't have been clearer: "No one questions the power of the states to define marriage." Unfortunately, that didn't stop Kern from unleashing his warped ideology on one of the most conservative states in the country. The marriage amendment, he claims, is "an arbitrary, irrational, exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit... It is also insulting to same-sex couples, who are human beings capable of forming loving, committed, enduring relationships."
No one questions homosexuals' ability to form loving relationships. What they question is whether Americans should be forced to finance, sanction, and elevate unions that not only obliterate free speech and religious liberty but also deny children a mom and a dad. Kern's opinion (which is exactly that -- his opinion), demands that "the majority view in Oklahoma give way" to a vocal and intolerant minority. After neutering the voters of an overwhelming number of Sooners, Kern did have sense enough to postpone any same-sex "weddings" until the state can appeal to the 10th Circuit Court (the same bench hearing Utah's case).
And based on the flood of outraged press releases, state leaders are already gearing up for an epic battle. Governor Mary Fallin (R) was one of the first out of the gate, blasting the judge for exalting himself above the democratic process. "The people of Oklahoma have spoken on this issue. I support the right of Oklahoma's voters to govern themselves on this and other policy matters. I am disappointed in the judge's ruling and troubled that the will of the people has once against been ignored by the federal government." Attorney General Scott Pruitt wasn't far behind, warning Kern that his decision openly defied the Supreme Court. "This is why the American people are so frustrated with government and government officials," said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.). "The people speak clearly but elected officials and judges ignore them."
For most Americans, these decisions have as much to do with preserving representative democracy as marriage. "Our Constitution protects the sovereignty of states," fumed Rep. Markwayne Mullin, "and with today's ruling, that right has clearly been violated." Unfortunately, these attacks are just the beginning of runaway courts -- thanks, in large part, to new Senate rules that are being used to ram these types of black-robed tyrants through the confirmation process. Under Sen. Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) Wild West confirmation process, the bench isn't big enough for all the judicial tyrants sailing through unopposed. With a new same-sex "marriage" lawsuit filed every week, the Senate's rules are already feeding the unrest across America.
"The State Constitution overrides a federal judge's personal opinion," Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) said. But it will take a powerful reminder -- the likes of Rep. Randy Weber's State Marriage Defense Act -- to put these judges in their place. By driving these lawsuits into the deepest conservative states, the Left's biggest goal is demoralizing the heart of our movement. But if it's indifference liberals are counting on, they just picked a fight with the wrong voters. For more on how Weber's federal bill would keep outsiders from trespassing on your state's laws, click over to FRC's Cathy Ruse's new op-ed in the Washington Times. Then, contact your congressman and ask him to sign on to the State Marriage Defense Act -- and help put an end to Government of the courts, by the courts, and for the courts.
Life after Death Roe
Today at a lecture here at FRC headquarters, I had the privilege of introducing two of America's greatest champions for the unborn and their mothers, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and FRC's own Dr. Pat Fagan. Barack Obama is "the abortion President," Rep. Smith said during his remarks. Unfortunately, he's right. As he noted, President Obama has appointed leading pro-abortion advocates in many senior positions in his administration. And as Rep. Smith also commented, ObamaCare clearly underwrites and encourages abortion-on-demand, despite the President's previous assurances it wouldn't. But "you have to be Sherlock Holmes," Smith half-joked, to find out which health plans fund abortion.
The good news is that Rep. Smith and his pro-life allies in Congress are fighting back on behalf of the unborn and their mothers. With about 100 other House members, he's introduced "The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act" in the House (pro-life ally Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., is offering a companion bill in the Senate) which would take direct aim at the abortion industry's cushy deal with taxpayers. In federal programs and agencies, H.R. 7 would pull out government abortion funding by the roots. During his remarks at FRC, Rep. Smith also said that in recent years, more than 200 pro-life bills have been passed at the state level, and that the tide of opinion among young people is shifting from opposition to support for protecting the unborn and their mothers. He closed by urging us never to give up defending life -- and Congressman, FRC and our friends never will.
Congressman Smith was followed by FRC's own Dr. Pat Fagan, director of our Marriage and Religion Research Institute, who released the findings of a major review of federal data concerning the frequency of abortion and among what sectors of our society it most often occurs. Based on his findings, Dr. Fagan noted that by the end of their fertile years (mid-forties) somewhat close to 80 percent of women who have ever been pregnant report never having an abortion. Check out the media coverage in CNSNews.com and the D.C. Examiner. And if you missed the lecture, click on the video below.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.