By: James Gaskins | Recognized as the Marriage Protection Amendment, Proposition 102 was placed on the ballot and passed by Arizona voters in 2008, amending the state’s Constitution, which defined the traditional sense of marriage between a man and a woman. However, on October 17, 2014, a federal judge disagreed with voters and overruled Prop 102, claiming that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Not long after the decision, Attorney General Tom Horne stated that there would be no appeal and same-sex marriages would be legally honored in Arizona.
Prior to the ruling, the ban on gay marriage had always been consistently upheld. The majority of Arizonans supported Prop 102 and they stood in agreement in their fight for the degree of protection that the law provided prohibiting same-sex marriage.
In their attempt to preserve the institution of marriage, they came with arguments that were backed by research studies, science, health concerns and Christian values, giving them a convincing case that was based on much more than a simple definition of traditional marriage. Furthermore, in their fight against same-sex marriages, demonstrators at the State Capital brought their disagreement with class.
They brought passion and discontent, but did so without the use of discrimination, nor was there an indication of homophobic, hate filled threats being shouted against the homosexual community as alleged. If you’ve been led to believe otherwise, be it from an individual or the media, you’ll find plenty of traditional marriage supporters who may stand firm in their disagreement with the court’s ruling, but do so with a considerate obligation that condemns any discrimination against gay or lesbian couples.
In her support against the ruling, then Governor Jan Brewer said that “the federal courts had once again ignored the voters of Arizona” eluding to the court’s intent to dissolve the state’s authority by stripping away its ability to regulate and uphold the laws it passes.
Attorney General Tom Horne stated on his website that “he had fought to defend the voters of Arizona, and that as Attorney General he believed in the laws that were supposed to protect the integrity of the state’s authority.
Those against Proposition 102 have claimed that Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriages was a law which violated their Constitutional rights and that the state should’ve abandoned the laws willingly so it could’ve avoided being forced to do so by the courts.
In the aftermath, the people of Arizona have been left with a judge’s decision that supersedes their majority vote. A ruling that gives them the assumption that their vote is really meaningless. By overruling the voice of the people, it raises questions about the credibility of the courts and the faith we have in our system of justice. Meanwhile, the Federal District Court has stood in agreement with the ruling and the US Supreme Court has displayed no interest in considering an evaluation of Arizona’s case.
Adding insult to injury, on December 15th, US District Court Judge John Sedwick issued a ruling that the lawyers who represented the opponents of Proposition 102 should be compensated for their efforts. It seems Arizona taxpayers are now being forced to cover $300,000 in legal fees due to the ruling; a decision that was in favor of a national organization advocating gay rights called Lambda Legal. They filed the lawsuit in March of 2014, with over a half-dozen homosexual couples claiming that Arizona’s law against same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Ironically, Judge Sedwick presided over another similar case in September of 2015 where he ruled that the lawyers who had represented same-sex couples in a lawsuit opposing gay marriage would receive $200,000 from the state.
With a half a million-dollar legal bill dumped on Arizona taxpayers, if you’re part of the majority who are against gay marriage in Arizona, not only are you being forced to pay legal fees for a case that overturned your vote, but it’s your hard earned dollar going straight into the pockets of lawyers who have publicly stated that “the state of Arizona reached the height of hypocrisy in its argument to continue its ban on gay marriage”.
Lawyers for same-sex couples have been very vocal about their feelings in the case claiming that they and their clients “are entitled to be compensated for being subjected to such bigotry and discrimination” referring not only to state officials but the people of Arizona as well.
In considering their accusations of prejudiced behavior by our state’s politicians and those who fought to keep marriage between a man and a woman, I can personally attest to the fact that nothing could be further from the truth. Being present at the demonstration outside the state capital, and witnessing both sides of the argument, to claim that proponents of Prop 102 demonstrated with anything other than decent behavior is a complete distortion of the truth.
I recall observing a passionate position of disagreement, but to allege discrimination was used is just another attempt by the homosexual community to gain support and pity for their cause. At the very least, the allegation was a cheap, tasteless attempt to kick someone when they are down. It just goes to show you who the real hypocrites truly are.
The last bit of salt to be poured on the wound for all Americans who defend traditional marriage in America came from Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored the opinion of the US Supreme Court that all 50 states must honor same-sex marriages. The 5-4 decision not only legalized gay marriage in all 50 states, but proved once and for all that individual states rights are actually meaningless.
At one point in his summation, it appeared he would vote in favor of upholding the state’s rights to ban gay marriage. “The definition of marriage has been with us for a thousand years, it’s very difficult for the court to say, but we do know better” said Justice Kennedy, who’s swing vote could’ve saved the institution of marriage.
However, in his decision, Justice Kennedy had this to say:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right”.
What Kennedy and the four other consenting Justices failed to mention is that marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It is a relationship spirited by human nature and governed by natural law.
The most common precept of natural law is that we as humans know the difference between right and wrong, and that what is right is good and what is wrong is bad. From that inherent knowledge, we pursue what is good and we avoid what our intuition tells us is wrong. By common sense alone, man is able to perceive what is morally good or bad for him.
We think and use reason to the ends of every purpose for all the choices we make in life. When those choices fail to accommodate reason, our hearts and common sense let us know that it’s morally wrong. From these basic human instincts, our laws, regulations and traditional social decrees have evolved. For thousands of years, same-sex relationships were considered immoral.
The Supreme Court’s decision has done nothing more than circumvent the institution of marriage, providing it with a purpose based on a sexual act. It’s a violation of natural law, essentially corrupting what the majority of people embrace as their compass to guide and direct them through life. The people object to this ruling because it discourages human intuition which maps the right course of morality.
We must question such a denial of democracy, our system of justice and the value of our vote which voices the greater good. The Supreme Court’s failure to recognize the people shows the true character of those who decide our nation’s laws, leaving us little confidence in those who exhibit a lack of conviction themselves. In their decision to legalize gay marriage, not only have they failed the sovereignty of Arizona’s Constitution, the Justices responsible prove without shame or doubt that their decisions are based on a personal agenda of spite and immoral aptitude.
From their position, it’s easy I suppose when the devalued concept of true marriage doesn’t affect you personally. I wonder if their homes and living rooms played host every day with the effects of this decision, would they have been so quick to unravel the foundation of the traditional family unit? Would they have so nonchalantly changed the national perspective of our children, altering their perception of what makes an appropriate parent?
I wonder if any of the 5 Justices realized that they were eliminating the very thing that has determined how every jury member has ever contemplated and then deliberated a decision of guilt or innocence of someone on trial in this country. This ruling removes the essential element of human instinct to decide such a fate. For without morality we fail as a people. Once removed from American justice, to live immorally leaves little question about the direction we go in as a society.