Conservatives on SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Decision: Judicial Activism All Around

By Penny Starr | October 7, 2014 | 3:38pm EDT

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, file photo, plaintiffs, Moudi Sbeity, left, and his partner Derek Kitchen kiss during a gay marriage rally, in Salt Lake City. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to take an appeal of Utah's gay marriage case means that a parallel lawsuit brought by gay and lesbian couples who sued the state over its decision not to recognize their marriages has been resolved too. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

( – Conservatives are reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to review any of seven petitions ruled on by lower courts, which found state laws banning homosexual marriage unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages to be conducted in 30 states.

Of the 25 states where homosexual marriage was put in place before the high court let stand the lower case rulings in five others, only three states have legalized it by popular vote. Fourteen states allow it by court decision and eight states legalized the practice through the state legislature.

The court’s move will add Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia to that list. (To see a complete list of states and gay marriage click here).

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said in a statement that the Supreme Court’s decision silences “the voice of the people.”

"Unfortunately, by failing to take up these marriage cases, the High Court will allow rogue lower court judges who have ignored history and true legal precedent to silence the elected representatives of the people and the voice of the people themselves by overturning state provisions on marriage,” Perkins said. “Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves.

“This judicially led effort to force same sex 'marriage' on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law,” Perkins said.

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), gave three reasons the Supreme Court made the wrong decision.

“First, the entire idea that marriage can be redefined from the bench is illegitimate. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman; it has been this throughout the history of civilization and will remain this no matter what unelected judges say,” Brown said in a statement. “Second, it's mind-boggling that lower court judges would be allowed to impose the redefinition of marriage in these states, and our highest court would have nothing to say about it.

“Third, the effect of the lower court rulings is to say that a constitutional right to same-sex ‘marriage' has existed in every state in the union since 1868 when the 14th Amendment was ratified, but somehow nobody noticed until quite recently,” Brown said.

Both Perkins and Brown called on Congress to address the issue.

"Congress should respond to today's announcement by moving forward with the State Marriage Defense Act, which is consistent with last year's Windsor ruling and ensures that the federal government in its definition of marriage respects the duly enacted marriage laws of the states," Perkins said.

Brown agrees, but thinks congressional action should involve amending the U.S. Constitution.

“It is critical not only to marriage but to the republican form of government in this country to amend the Constitution to reaffirm the meaning of marriage,” Brown said. “We therefore call on the US Congress to move forward immediately to send a federal marriage amendment to the states for ratification.”

Two members of Congress issued their own statements on the high court’s decision not to hear any of the marriage cases in five states where the voters banned the practice.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to let rulings by lower court judges stand that redefine marriage is both tragic and indefensible,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a statement. “By refusing to rule if the States can define marriage, the Supreme Court is abdicating its duty to uphold the Constitution.

“The fact that the Supreme Court Justices, without providing any explanation whatsoever, have permitted lower courts to strike down so many state marriage laws is astonishing,” Cruz said.

“This is judicial activism at its worst,” he said. “The Constitution entrusts state legislatures, elected by the People, to define marriage consistent with the values and mores of their citizens.

“Unelected judges should not be imposing their policy preferences to subvert the considered judgments of democratically elected legislatures,” Cruz said.

“Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said in a statement. “Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges.

“The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right,” Lee said.

The Rev. Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief organization, took a more religious approach to the court's decision.

"It's painful to see the U.S. Supreme Court take another step away from the biblical values this nation was founded on," Graham said. "With their refusal to even hear challenges to same-sex marriage, they threw the gates wide open to making it the law of the land. 

"God help us," Graham said.

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