From the desk of Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling:
The debate went something like this, Attorney one: “If the people of Wisconsin want to change the definition of marriage, they can do that if they want to. But right now they’ve made a decision, and it’s a wise decision to promote both sexes, the diversity of mothers and fathers in our families. That’s not an unreasonable thing at all, recognizing that kids have mothers and fathers. That’s the decision they’ve made, and they’ve made since the beginning of their statehood; and the Supreme Court has affirmed that that is constitutional for them to do.”
Attorney 2’s response: “How long do we ask people in loving, committed relationships, raising children together already, to wait for fair treatment for recognition of their loving relationships? Do we ask the legislature, this legislature in Wisconsin which is very unlikely, to put that to the voters? Do we ask them to wait for two separate sessions of the legislature, two-year sessions of the legislature and another vote….?”
That was a virtually word-for-word repeating of the debate I listened to last week about the lawsuit that the ACLU has filed on behalf of four homosexual couples. The lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Western District Federal Court and alleges that the Marriage Protection Amendment that nearly 60% of the voters approved in 2006 violates the US Constitution.
Beyond undoing the amendment, this lawsuit also asks the court to strike any gender specific language in relationship to marriage from our state statutes. So, essentially, if the court agrees with the ACLU and these eight homosexuals, then theoretically, Wisconsin will have redefined marriage with the stroke of a judge’s pen.
Now, I am not saying this happens at the first level of the judicial process. Typically what the judge does is make his or her determination and then, if the decision is an overturning of current law, will put a “stay” on the order, pending the case working its way through the appeals process. The stay basically says nothing changes in the law until all appeal options have been pursued and a final decision rendered, usually by the US Supreme Court by taking the case and rendering a decision or by that court not taking the case and forcing the decision of the appellate court to stand. However, it would still be true that marriage would be essentially redefined in the judge’s opinion. All that stops that from happening is the judge being prudent and exercising the stay. And the judge does not have to exercise that option.
So that brings us back to the debate between the ACLU attorney and the attorney defending our marriage protection amendment. Basically what the ACLU attorney is saying is, “We don’t care about the rule of law. We don’t care about the constitutional provision that dictates how we amend the state constitution. We want what we want, when we want it and we’ll use whatever means we have to in order to get what we want. We don’t care about children. We don’t care about religious freedom. We want these loving and committed same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized and affirmed now.”
Quite honestly, there is no other reason for them to circumvent the rule of law in this situation than that they, like two-year-olds, are demanding their way right now.
The Wisconsin Constitution says to amend the constitution, you need to pass the exact same resolution in the state legislature in two consecutive legislative sessions and then get a simple majority vote among the state’s voters on a statewide ballot. It’s purposefully rigorous and time consuming.
But those bent on redefining marriage for everyone have once again run to the courts hoping to avoid this prudent process and mostly hoping to avoid having to take their proposed redefinition of marriage to the people for a vote.
You should be appalled by this ACLU-led lawsuit. If you were one of the over 2 million Wisconsin citizens who voted for the amendment in 2006, you should be outraged that your vote could be negated by a single judge. You should be alarmed that the rule of law is being blatantly ignored and bypassed. You should be very concerned about what this lawsuit could mean to you, to your family-owned business, to your religious freedom, to what your kids learn in the public school and more.
Marriage is once again under attack in Wisconsin. We urge you to pray and to stay informed. Be prepared to talk knowledgeably and wisely about this issue with people in your sphere of influence, including your family members and your church leadership. Much is at stake as these whining and demanding plaintiffs usurp the constitutional process to get their way.