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FIRST-PERSON: The will of the people

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (BP)–There’s hope for the majority of Americans who believe marriage is for a man and a woman. The “will of the people” will define marriage, not the courts. That’s why we need the Federal Marriage Amendment — the people must be heard.

Recent American history shows the power and impact of the “will of the people.” In Hawaii and Alaska, the courts attempted to impose their will on the people. The people, in turn, reversed the decision of the courts by approving state constitutional amendments to protect marriage. Preempting judicial strikes, 38 states, including California, have approved “Defense of Marriage” acts.

Where given the opportunity, the people voted to protect marriage by nearly two to one or more.

Homosexual activists and their allies in the mainstream media have been working overtime preaching the inevitability of universal same-sex “marriage.” Despite this remorseless repetition of their message, the “will of the people” will prevail as it has for the last decade.

How do we know?

Voters across the nation are using state constitutional amendments to overturn court decisions favoring same-sex “marriage.” It is likely that within five years, no state will have court-directed same-sex “marriage,” not even Massachusetts. The “celebrations” we saw on the news earlier this summer from Cambridge and Provincetown could be a thing of the past in just a few years when Massachusetts voters have the opportunity to join other states in protecting marriage. The Massachusetts legislature started the process to pass a constitutional 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 couple more years before the people can shut them down in 2006.

Voters in some states are initiating even stronger preemptive strikes to stop judges from engineering society. This fall, at least six states will vote on state constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman. Late legislative sessions in other states could easily add to that number. Nevada and Nebraska already have such amendments in place. Citizens prefer to exercise their power as the ultimate arbiters of what their state constitutions say, rather than waiting for an activist judiciary to impose same-sex “marriage” on an unwilling population.

The activists ignore this basic truth of America’s constitutional system: The people, and not the courts, are the source of power to amend the state and federal constitutions. When the citizenry overwhelmingly rejects a court decision creating the fantasy of same-sex “marriage,” the people are reminding judicial activists of the ground rules by which a society operates. The people are saying that the highly valued institution of marriage is already equally open to all citizens. And the people are not ready to allow elitist courts to convert the foundations of their state constitutions into radical, unrecognizable forms on the whims of activist judges.

At the ballot box — the one “poll” that really counts — voters are rejecting the call to institutionalize the idea that, in marriage, both men and women aren’t necessary. Legislative measures to promote same-sex “marriage” are unpopular, and the judicial activists know it. Why else would the ACLU and its allies file lawsuits to block the people from voting on these ballot measures or to overturn them when enacted? The ACLU is committed to judicial activism because it’s their main weapon for ignoring and overriding the will of the people.

Voters understand the need for real tolerance but also understand that children need both a mother and a father to raise them. This is a basic principle for a self-governing republic that sustains itself by passing on its values to future generations. Where is the other side’s tolerance for the millions of people who hold to such time-honored wisdom?

The battle for the definition of marriage has just begun and it is not going the way the radicals and their allies in the media are telling you. The supporters for same-sex “marriage” hope that voters will buy their illusion of inevitability and simply accept what the courts hand them. Marriage is not about “who you sleep with” and it’s not about personal choice, fulfillment and benefits. We believe it’s the will of the people that will continue to protect the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. In marriage, both men and women matter.

A Federal Marriage Amendment will end this battle.
Alan E. Sears is the president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, a legal alliance defending religious liberty through strategy, training, funding and litigation.

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  • Alan Sears