Federal Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Same-Sex Marriage in Massachusetts

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - In just six days, same-sex couples will be allowed to legally marry in Massachusetts, but that hasn't stopped the lawsuits attempting to block such marriages.

Several pro-family groups announced they have "opened up a new front" in their battle to prevent same-sex marriage. On Monday, they filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court exceeded its authority by redefining marriage -- thereby violating the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of a republican form of government.

The plaintiffs include the Thomas More Law Center, the Liberty Counsel, Citizens for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights, and the American Family Association's Center for Law and Policy.

The groups have asked a federal judge to stop the enforcement of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the decision that legalized same-sex 'marriage' in Massachusetts.

Under the Massachusetts constitution, the plaintiffs argue, it is the role of the legislature and not the courts to define marriage for the Commonwealth. By accepting jurisdiction to hear the Goodridge case -- and by redefining marriage to include same-sex couples -- the Massachusetts high court exceeded the powers granted it and thereby violated the federal constitutional guarantee that prevents one branch of government from acting above the law, the groups said.

The lawsuit is based on the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says, "The United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a Republican Form of Government." This constitutional provision is intended to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch of government, thereby reducing the risk of tyranny, the lawsuit says.

"Judicial activism is destroying our culture," said Richard Thompson, the president and chief counsel for the Thomas More Law Center.

"The Goodridge decision, if left unchecked, will have far reaching implications on the institution of traditional marriage that go well beyond the borders of Massachusetts. This is a national problem that must be addressed now," Thompson said in a press release.

In the Goodridge case, the Law Center said, the Massachusetts high court acknowledged that its decision changed the history of marriage law and was contrary to the historic, civil, and legal understanding that marriage constituted the union of one man and one woman.

The Massaschusetts Supreme Judicial Court construed civil marriage to mean "the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others," thereby redefining marriage to include same-sex partners.

The Thomas More Law Center and others filed a separate appeal with the Massachusetts high court last week, asking the court to stay its decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Robert Muise, an associate counsel with the Law Center, called the effort to block same-sex marriage in Massachusetts a fight against tyranny: "Just as the founders of our Nation
were battling the tyrannical rule of England, the citizens of this nation are now battling the tyrannical rule of the courts. As history reveals, there is much at stake."

See Earlier Story: New Legal Moves to Stop Same-Sex 'Marriage' in Massachusetts (28 April 2004)