The Fundamental Right To Marry

Denying same-sex couples this choice [of whether and whom to marry] prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance.

With these words, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision affirmed today the lower court's ruling striking down Virginia's marriage amendment. The Family Foundation is extremely disappointed in the court's ruling.

Marriage expresses the reality that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life, especially for children who deserve both a mom and a dad. Additionally, today's ruling disenfranchises the 1.3 million Virginians who legally voted to amend our Constitution. Virginia's laws have always rightly reflected the true and complementary nature of marriage. It's unfortunate that the court rejected the right of Virginians to define marriage consistent with their concern with what's best for children and society as a whole.

As a mom, I see every day the unique gifts my husband brings to raising our children, and even our own government spends millions of dollars a year to combat fatherlessness because we all recognize the social costs associated when there isn't a dad in the home. Now we have judges who are intentionally creating both fatherless and motherless homes simply to appease the desires of adults.

Today's majority ruling of the Fourth Circuit divorced the definition of marriage from our Commonwealth's interest in the wellbeing of children. But furthermore, the majority ruling was shortsighted. As Judge Paul Niemeyer wrote in his dissenting opinion:

... in holding that same-sex marriage is encompassed by the traditional right to marry, the majority avoids the necessary constitutional analysis, concluding simply and broadly that the fundamental "right to marry" — by everyone and to anyone — may not be infringed. And it does not anticipate or address the problems that this approach causes, failing to explain for example, why this broad right to marry, as the majority defines it, does not also encompass the "right" for a father to marry his daughter or the "right" of any person to marry multiple partners.

Judge Niemeyer boldly asserts that the majority is simply "defin[ing] terms as convenient to attain an end."

Today's ruling and reactions to it clearly prove that it is now open season to discriminate against anyone who believes that children deserve a mom and a dad, whether motivated by their faith, be it Christian, or Jewish or Islamic, or by their concern for the future of our children.

Despite our disappointment with today's ruling, despite the charge that we are "motivated by hate," and despite federal and state administrations set on discriminating against anyone who disagrees with them, The Family Foundation is steadfast and will continue to fight to ensure that children are given the best opportunity to thrive — in a family with a mom and a dad. And additionally, despite today's ruling, The Family Foundation would like to thank the Alliance Defending Freedom for its courageous and articulate defense in this case of marriage and of children.