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FIRST-PERSON: The real & overlooked trend in U.S. marriage debate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP)–Yes, there is a discernible trend in legalization of same-sex unions, but it is far different than one of inevitable acceptance loudly trumpeted by activists and their willing accomplices in the media.

Here’s the real trend: Voters are overturning court decisions favoring same-sex “marriage” with state constitutional amendments. It is likely that within five years no state will have legalized same-sex “marriage,” including Massachusetts. The celebrations we saw on the news in Cambridge and Provincetown will probably be a thing of the past in just a few years when Massachusetts voters join the other states in approving a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The supposed inevitable march to same-sex marriage evaporates upon examination. Hard to believe? Look at the facts.

Voters reverse state courts that find a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage.” Only three courts have ever found such a right in their state constitutions. Voters have reversed two of them with state constitutional amendments and a third effort is well underway. The people of Hawaii and Alaska voted in 1998 to reverse decisions by their state courts, and the Massachusetts legislature started the process to do so there by passing an amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman. Because of the laborious procedure to amend the state constitution, Massachusetts courts can run amok for a few years before the people shut them down in 2006.

Voters are initiating preemptive strikes to stop judicial activism in their states. This fall, at least six states will vote on state constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman. Late legislative sessions will probably add to that number. Nevada and Nebraska already have such amendments in place. Citizens in the states are exercising their power as the ultimate arbiters of what their state constitutions say to cut off judicial activism before their judges impose same-sex “marriage” on an unwilling population.

At the ballot box, the one poll that really counts, voters are rejecting the call for equating marriage and same-sex unions. When the ACLU and others file a lawsuit to block the people from voting on these ballot measures, their lawyers and other activists are simply showing that their position lacks popular support and can only be advanced by judicial activists acting against the clear intent of the people in their state.

The activists also ignore this basic truth of America’s constitutional system: The people, and not the courts, are the source of power for the state and federal constitutions. When the citizenry overwhelming rejects a court decision finding a right to same sex “marriage,” the people are declaring the ground rules on which a society operates, and that the highly valued institution of marriage is open to all citizens, as defined by the people. They will not allow elitist courts to convert the structures and foundations of their state constitutions to pliable goo ready to be reformed to the whims of activist judges.

Voters understand the need for tolerance of all, but also understand that children need both a mother and a father to raise them. This is a basic foundation pillar for a self-governing republic that sustains itself by passing its cultural values and principles on to future generations.

This battle over the definition of marriage is not over. The supporters for same-sex unions hope that voters will buy their illusion of inevitability and simply accept what the courts hand them. However, the thoughtful public has another trend in mind for the definition of marriage.
Jordan Lorence is senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding and litigation

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  • Jordan Lorence