PHOENIX (BP)–An Arizona state appeals court has denied a request to legalize same-sex “marriage” in the state.
The Oct. 8 ruling, the first one pertaining to same-sex “marriage” since the Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas decision, was not a surprise. The major homosexual advocacy groups did not touch the case, choosing instead to focus their attention on other states — such as Massachusetts and New Jersey — where a different ruling is more likely.
Nevertheless, the 3-0 ruling was a victory for social conservatives who are fighting nationwide for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex “marriage.” The ruling comes as some 25 organizations are gearing up to celebrate Marriage Protection Week Oct. 12-18.
The Arizona case involves two homosexual men who had sued the state after a court clerk had refused to grant them marriage licenses. The men argued that the state’s ban on same-sex “marriage” violated both the Arizona and U.S. constitutions and that the Lawrence v. Texas decision — which struck down sodomy bans — allowed homosexuals to “marry.”
But the court disagreed, saying that the two constitutions do not guarantee such a right. The matter, the court said, should be decided by the state legislature, and not by judges.
“Although same-sex relationships are more open and have garnered greater societal acceptance in recent years,” Judge Ann A. Scott Timmer wrote, “same-sex marriages are neither deeply rooted in the legal and social history of our Nation or state nor are they implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”
Although some legal experts believe that Lawrence v. Texas paved the way for the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” the court disagreed.
The Supreme Court “did not intend by its comments to address same-sex marriages,” Timmer wrote.
Benjamin W. Bull, chief counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, praised the decision. The ADF filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the state.
“This is a huge victory because it repudiates the first homosexual assault after the Lawrence v. Texas decision,” Bull said in a statement. “The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected any notion that Lawrence v. Texas legitimized same-sex marriage. That notion has now gone into the dumpster of history with all other hare-brained notions.”
The state asserted that it had an interest in banning same-sex “marriage” because of the link between traditional marriage and procreation. The court agreed.
“Indisputably, the only sexual relationship capable of producing children is one between a man and a woman,” the court said. “… We hold that the State has a legitimate interest in encouraging procreation and child-rearing within the marital relationship, and that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples is rationally related to that interest.”
The court also rejected the argument that the ban against same-sex “marriage” is similar to the now-illegal ban against interracial marriage. The Supreme Court struck down interracial marriage bans in its 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision.
“Implicit in Loving and predecessor opinions is the notion that marriage, often linked to procreation, is a union forged between one man and one woman,” the court wrote. “… [R]ecognizing a right to marry someone of the same sex would not expand the established right to marry, but would redefine the legal meaning of ‘marriage.'”
The couple’s lawyer said that an appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court is possible, according to the Associated Press.
The case is Stanhardt v. Superior Court.
The decision can be read online at: http://www.cofad1.state.az.us/opinionfiles/SA/SA030150.pdf.