The Advance for another Group to Take

Appeals court upholds D.C. gay-marriage law A D.C. appeals court on Thursday upheld the District of Columbia law allowing same-sex marriages, rejecting an effort by opponents to put the issue before city voters. In a 5-4 decision, the D.C. Court of Appeals agreed with a D.C. Superior Court ruling and an earlier ruling by the city’s Board of Elections and Ethics that said a referendum on same-sex marriage would violate the city’s Human Rights Act.

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PCUSA delegates OK gay clergy, table marriage proposal Delegates to the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in Minneapolis voted July 8 to allow the ordination of noncelibate homosexuals but shelved a proposal to redefine marriage in a way that would include same-sex couples. By a vote of 373 (53.59 percent) to 323 (46.41 percent), delegates approved the measure on homosexual clergy, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. That proposal now must be ratified within 12 months by 173 regional presbyteries. The General Assembly has approved homosexual ordination three times before, only to have it rejected on the district level, the Star Tribune noted. The proposal to redefine marriage as being between “two people” instead of between “a man and a woman” was referred back to committee for further study by a 51 percent majority, the AP reported.

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The Elephant in the Room: Boldly defending marriage – Few politicians have the courage to protect the institution from the courts.
santorumBy Rick Santorum

It seems fitting that my last regular column here concerns a cultural issue, as this newspaper’s editorial page and I often disagree on such issues. Political consultants warn candidates to stay away from these issues because they are so personal and emotionally charged. The abortion debate is one on which I chose to ignore their advice.

The reason: I simply could not square voting to permit the killing of an innocent baby in the womb with the Constitution I swore to defend, the God I try to obey, or the people I pledged to serve.

In 2004, when I was in the Senate, another contentious cultural issue returned to the national scene as a result of a judicial decision. The highest court in Massachusetts ruled that the state’s definition of marriage was discriminatory, and it further exercised its raw power by requiring the Massachusetts legislature to change state law. This was not the first time this happened. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated its state’s marriage law and paved the way for same-sex marriage there.

The concern then was that other courts, using the U.S. Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause, would force other states and the federal government to recognize these judicially imposed marriages. In a rare moment of bipartisan accord on such cultural issues, Congress and President Bill Clinton responded by enacting the Defense of Marriage Act to protect states from further judicial assault.

The later Massachusetts ruling worried advocates of traditional marriage because it was the first such decision since the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door to invalidating marriage laws by creating a constitutional right to consensual sexual activity of any kind. Many of us felt this would be the first of many rulings by liberal state courts invalidating marriage laws. The response from Congress was scant and predictable. Almost every member of Congress said he or she personally supported the definition of marriage that had existed since the country was founded. But they expressed about as much commitment to righting the judicial wrong as those who say they are “personally opposed” to abortion.

They also had a convenient excuse for inaction: Congress, they claimed, had already protected marriage by passing the Defense of Marriage Act. This claptrap was designed to appease and to deceive. These marriage “supporters” knew full well that, given the propensity of judges to ignore the Constitution and the will of the people, it would be but a matter of time before DOMA, like the state marriage laws themselves, was deemed unconstitutional.

That happened last week, when a federal district court judge in (again) Boston ruled that the majority of Republicans and Democrats in Congress passed DOMA for the one purpose forbidden by law: “to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves.” The judge disregarded one of the principal justifications Congress gave for the law: supporting responsible procreation and childbearing. Why? Because President Obama’s lawyer, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, dismissed that congressional finding in her brief defending the law. Presumably, Obama’s Supreme Court nominee disagreed with Congress’ rationale, so she felt no obligation to make that argument on behalf of the government.

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