Wednesday, January 15, 2014

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Oklahoma struck Oklahoma’s marriage amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, calling the ban “arbitrary.”

On Wednesday Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement, saying, “This ruling does not affect Arkansas’ marriage amendment. Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage still stands.”

Cox said while the ruling is disappointing, it is not entirely surprising. “Activists have filed over a dozen lawsuits across the country challenging state marriage amendments in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA decision last summer. It is not surprising out of that many lawsuits they would find one or two federal judges willing to strike down a state marriage amendment. It’s also likely many judges will uphold these amendments as constitutional. Either way, this issue will not be settled until it makes its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Cox said contrary to what many are saying, same-sex marriage is not a forgone conclusion. “The U.S. Supreme Court signaled that state marriage laws ought to be respected when it put a stay on a federal judge’s ruling that struck Utah’s same-sex marriage ban last month. When the court struck part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer, the court said states—not the federal government—define marriage. If the U.S. Supreme Court were to go a step farther and say these state marriage amendments are unconstitutional, it would effectively be saying that neither the state nor the federal government has the right to define marriage. That just wouldn’t make sense.”

Cox said he expects more rulings on state marriage amendments in the coming weeks. “Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court will address this issue. There’s no doubt about that. It will be a sad day if the Supreme Court disenfranchises millions of voters in over thirty states by striking their state marriage amendments.”