Sunday, June 28, 2015

Congressman Randy Forbes Statement on Supreme Court Marriage Ruling

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Supreme Court issued a 5 to 4 decision, authored by Justice Kennedy, holding that the Due Process and Establishment Clauses of the 14th Amendment  of the Constitution require all 50 states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  This ruling overturns democratically-elected laws in dozens of states. In response to the Court's decision, Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA04), issued the following statement:

"It is not the Court's job to redefine sound public policy that has been democratically enacted by millions of Americans – just as the government should never force people to choose between their faith and their livelihood. Every American should be free to affirm the truth about marriage without being punished by the government."

The majority opinion acknowledged that traditional marriage is a view that, "has long been held—and continues to be held—in good faith by reasonable and sincere people here and throughout the world…The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.

However, the dissenting Justices took issue with what they saw as a weak and narrow understating of the First Amendment. Justice Thomas stated, "[The majority] makes only a weak gesture toward religious liberty in a single paragraph. And even that gesture indicates a misunderstanding of religious liberty in our Nation's tradition. Religious liberty is about more than just the protection for "religious organizations and persons… as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths." Religious liberty is about the freedom of action in matters of religion generally, and the scope of that liberty is directly correlates to the civil restraints places upon religious practice."

Chief Justice Roberts further highlighted the Court's improper imposition into the democratic process. "[T]his Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us… The majority's decision is an act of will, not legal judgment."