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Pennsylvania and Oregon Judges Overturn Same-Sex Marriage Bans

American Family Association Says Judges Are Alienating Voters and Have No Respect for the Democratic Process

Judges in Oregon and Pennsylvania struck down their states’ defense of marriage acts last week, making same-sex marriage legal in two more states—and overturning laws that passed with strong support from voters (57%-43% in Oregon) and in the state legislature (177-16 and 43-5 in the Pennsylvania House and Senate, respectively)


In Oregon on May 19, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane struck down the state’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, which was passed in 2004, stating in his ruling that “(b)ecause Oregon’s marriage laws discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without a rational relationship to any legitimate government interest, the laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” This past winter, Oregon’s attorney general said she would not defend the ban in court.

Then on May 20, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III declared Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 unconstitutional, making Pennsylvania the 19th state, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal. A day later, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said he will not challenge the federal ruling, even though it goes against his personal views of marriage between one man and one woman, adding that his decision came after a “judgment as to the likelihood of a successful appeal.”

American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) says both decisions show a blatant disregard for the democratic process, disenfranchise voters, and are glaring examples of judicial tyranny.

“Our country was founded on ‘We the People,’ not ‘We the Judges,’ said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Our state officials have a responsibility to defend their own states’ constitutions. Gov. Corbett, for example, by not appealing this decision, is going against the oath he took to defend Pennsylvania’s constitution, which vests legislative power in the state’s House and Senate and charges the Governor to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ Oregon and Pennsylvania voters should be furious that federal judges—in one fell swoop—erased the decisions made at the ballot box and through the legislative process.”

In a related case, cable television host Mike Huckabee, also a potential Republican candidate for President in 2016, has called for the impeachment of Arkansas judge Christopher Piazza, who ruled earlier this month that Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. As the governor of Arkansas in 1997, Huckabee signed the law that made same-sex marriage illegal in the state.

“In its ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court said not once but three times that marriage is up to the states and part of the sovereign authority of states,” Wildmon said. “It’s a right of states to define marriage as they see fit, not to wait for one federal judge to make one ruling to impact the entire state. This is judicial tyranny, and these judges are defying the ruling of the Supreme Court.

“This issue will certainly be a major factor in the fall elections,” he continued. “For those who are tired of activist judges, be sure to register to vote. And vote for constitutionally minded Senators who will appoint judges who will follow the law rather than imagine themselves to be the law.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and 19 other states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Judges in both Arkansas and Idaho ruled this month that a same-sex marriage ban in those states is unconstitutional. Both decisions are being appealed.

American Family Association offers its friends and supporters several mobile apps through http://action.afa.net/mobile. The AFA Action Alerts app, with breaking news and action alerts, is available for the iPhone and iPad on the Apple App Store, on Google Play and on the Amazon Appstore for Android. The AFR (American Family Radio) app is available for Apple and Android products, and the AFA Action app with, for example, voter information at election time, is available on Apple and Android platforms.

For more information on American Family Association, visit www.afa.net.

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