Marriage chaos in the courts

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute

By Brad Dacus

President, Pacific Justice Institute

Like me, you have probably been frustrated and disappointed by what seems like an avalanche of bad news lately in the fight for natural marriage. In the midst of the confusion being caused by our courts, I wanted to give you three quick insights about what is happening, and what we can still do.

1. The battle is not over, but the battlefield is shifting. With the media triumphantly proclaiming the end of natural marriage as we know it, they are hoping to short-circuit a debate that is definitely not over. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court shocked most legal experts (myself included) by declining to hear a number of cases striking down marriage laws in the Fourth Circuit (based in Virginia), Tenth Circuit (based in Denver) and Seventh Circuit (based in Chicago). Cases are still very active, though, in the Sixth Circuit (Cincinnati), Fifth Circuit (New Orleans) and in lower federal courts in other parts of the country. It is likely that one of these remaining courts will uphold natural marriage laws and that the Supreme Court will step in at that point.

2. Our next great challenge will be to protect the church. PJI has been very active in filing friend-of-the-court briefs in many of these marriage cases, and we will continue to stand up for natural marriage in the courts. It is not a foregone conclusion that same-sex marriage will be forced on every state. In fact, if you look across the Atlantic to Europe, LGBT activists have not been able to convince the courts to force their will on all member countries, and many continue to staunchly resist. The same could happen here. Regardless of what happens in the coming months, though, we will be focused on protecting the church’s independence from government mandates. Whatever it takes, we absolutely cannot allow local, state or federal officials to dictate who pastors must marry, what will be preached, or any other essentials. Make no mistake — the activists will push further; marriage is only the beginning for them. It is up to us to protect the liberties our Founders and forefathers have handed down to us.

3. This next month offers us an opportunity to take action. In less than a month, each of us will get the chance to vote for members of Congress, as well as many state and local offices. While it is very tempting to conclude, based on the judicial activism we’ve seen lately, that our votes don’t count, I urge you to use this election to speak out on the importance of natural marriage and our constitutional freedoms. Regardless of party affiliation, if a candidate has not taken a strong stance of defending marriage, we cannot afford to vote for that candidate. I have been amazed the last several months as even some politicians who claim to be conservative have abdicated their responsibilities to defend their state’s laws, or have otherwise “gone wobbly” on the sanctity of marriage. PJI can’t endorse or oppose particular candidates, but let’s all do our homework before voting so these elected officials know how important religious freedom is to us!

We can’t sugar-coat it — these are very challenging times in which we live. But that’s all the more reason to pull together, stand firm and send our roots deeper for the great cause of freedom. Our children deserve no less!

Running the race …

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