Attorney General Cuccinelli Defends Federal Marriage LawAug 22, 2012
The attack on the definition of marriage is never ceasing. So neither is our work. In late May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, covering Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico, ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, legislation protecting the definition of marriage that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, was unconstitutional. The decision by that court threatens not only the federal DOMA, but the definition of marriage, both constitutional and by statute, in 42 states. The decision has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined 14 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review the First Circuit's decision. Because the Obama administration refused to uphold its responsibility and defend and enforce federal law, the U.S. House of Representatives assumed the legal defense of the statute.
Amazingly, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Obamacare last spring, President Obama, who once taught constitutional law, said federal courts did not have the right to strike down duly enacted laws by Congress. (What other laws are there?) But he is quite selective in interpreting his own peculiar constitutional interpretations. A year earlier, he instructed his Justice Department to cease its defense of DOMA, in essence asking the courts to declare it unconstitutional. (In fact, his declaration was so outrageous, a federal judge in another case, demanded the U.S. Attorney arguing it, to produce a brief from the Justice Department explaining if the Obama administration believed in the concept of judicial review.)
In the amicus brief, the 15 attorneys general present decades of law and legal precedent pertaining to the states' interest in benefiting heterosexual marriage because of children:
The choice to promote traditional marriages is based on an understanding that civil marriage recognition arises from the need to encourage biological parents to remain together for the sake of their children. It protects the only procreative relationship that exists and makes it more likely that unintended children, among the weakest members of society, will be cared for. ...
This ideal does not disparage the suitability of alternative arrangements where non-biological parents have legal responsibility for children. But these relationships are exactly that — alternatives to the model. States may rationally conclude that, all things being equal, it is better for the biological parents also to be the legal parents, and that marriage promotes that outcome.
Thomas Messner of the Heritage Foundation puts it this way:
Individuals marry based on various private interests. The public interest in marriage, in contrast, is based directly on the role that marriage plays in creating and raising the next generation. Same-sex marriage breaks the essential connection between marriage, children, and the mothers and fathers who create them.
Same-sex marriage also puts the law on the wrong side of reality by claiming that marriage is something other than what it is: the union of husband and wife. Many kinds of relationships are meaningful and valuable to the individuals involved and even to the broader public. But that does not make them marriages. It is not irrational or bigoted for the law to recognize that marriage is a unique kind of relationship deserving a unique kind of status.
Virginians, understanding the preciousness of marriage and its integral role in the raising of children, voted to add an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage in 2006. But the fact that same-sex marriage advocates are 0-30 at the state ballot box is no deterrent to their aggression, and has in fact fueled their anti-religious fervor. The Family Foundation will continue to stand in the gap with those elected officials who stand for marriage and religious liberty to ensure that your values are protected.