Op-Ed

Decision on gay marriage proving unsound, dangerous

Phyllis A. Sower 
is a Frankfort 
attorney getting a master's degree in theology.
Phyllis A. Sower is a Frankfort attorney getting a master's degree in theology.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges re defines marriage to include same-sex unions and gives privileged legal status to such unions. The opinion is legally unsound; its future impact is dangerous.

This legal analysis draws primarily from the opinions of the four justices who dissented from the majority decision. Two of the majority justices should have recused themselves because they had performed gay weddings before the decision.

One of the dissenting justices compared the decision to the Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which the court made the same horrible mistake — that is, relying on its own concept of liberty instead of what the Constitution actually provides.

In Dred Scott, the court trampled the lives and liberties of African-Americans; in the present case, it trampled religious freedom, states' rights and democracy. The court heard in oral arguments that religious freedom would be jeopardized by ruling in favor of same-sex unions but did nothing to protect this liberty.

In essence, we no longer have a Constitution because it now means only what five lawyers on the Supreme Court say it means.

Yet, judges are not empowered to elevate their own policy judgments to constitutionally protected status, nor to create laws, nor to circumvent the democratic process. This should be especially true when doing so violates a guaranteed liberty, in this case, freedom of religion.

Another tragic case of invented rights and unsound legal manipulation, Roe vs. Wade occurred Jan. 22, 1973, when the high court created a right to destroy the unborn child finding such a "right" in the shadow of another judge-created right.

The Obergefell decision violates states' rights and nullifies the democratic process. As another justice wrote, there is absolutely no precedent legally for requiring a state to change its definition of marriage. Arguments that reference the court's previous decisions removing restrictions on interracial marriage have no bearing because these past holdings refer only to marriage "as traditionally defined." They do not support same-sex civil unions.

State constitutional amendments are nullified and with them the voice, votes and rights of millions of people as a result of this decision.

As a justice noted, the court decides what is a fundamental right even if a guaranteed right written in the Constitution is jeopardized. The court now decides which rights are superior and which are inferior. This is an astonishing blow to our freedoms and the democratic process.

It naturally follows that a court that can take away the rights of people in states to pass constitutional amendments defining marriage, and that elevates homosexual rights over religious freedom might also take away the right to "discuss" views in conflict with its agenda.

To some extent, attacks on religious freedom had already begun before the decision was handed down. Bakers, florists and photographers who refused to do business for same-sex couples have been, and are being, sued. It is of interest that same-sex couples do not challenge Muslim or Hindu bakers, photographers and florists.

New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Richard Bosson makes the point perfectly in his decision against a family owned photography business that refused to serve a gay wedding.

He wrote that the owners are free to pray to the God of their choice but having to violate their religious beliefs when in conflict with social issues like gay marriage is the price of citizenship.

This is where we are headed, and it is dangerous.

The present administration in Washington has fairly well packed the federal judiciary with judges of this mind-set who advance the rule of men, not the rule of law. We were promised a fundamental transformation of our country, "hope and change."

We now see the fruits of it; lots of change but little hope as many people of faith have and will suffer.

Marriage is the most basic of human institutions, and it is the bedrock of society. From it flows children and family.

The Supreme Court has now legally sanctioned the very denial of the meaning of marriage and of the objective order designed by God from the beginning.

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