President Bush has proclaimed Oct. 12-18 as Marriage Protection Week because it is becoming clearer all the time that the institution of marriage needs protection from the courts. Gay lobbyists have made it clear that their aim is to litigate to get activist judges to accord the status of marriage to same-sex relationships.
A public uninformed about the U.S. Constitution, an acquiescent bar and a spineless Congress have for years allowed activist judges to expand their powers at the expense of elected representatives and in violation of the separation of powers. The threat of a ruling that pretends to legalize same-sex marriages should cause the American people to rise up and say "enough!"
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy opened the door to this travesty with his far-out reasoning this year in Lawrence v. Texas. Citing a European court ruling, because he couldn't cite the U.S. Constitution, he overturned a Supreme Court precedent of only 17 years earlier (Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986). This is the same justice who wrote Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 upholding legalized abortion on the ground that the court's legitimacy depends on sticking with the Roe v. Wade ruling of 19 years earlier.
This is also the same justice who thumbed his nose at the votes of the majority of Coloradans in Romer v. Evans in 1996. He exemplified judicial activism by invalidating an approved referendum because he personally disapproved of the voters' "animus toward the class it affects."
Protecting marriage against activist judges started in 1996 with the Defense of Marriage Act, which was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and was so popular that it was signed by President Clinton. Our first task should be to make sure that activist judges cannot tamper with it.
The act does two things:
1. In everything that is touched by federal law or regulation, "the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
2. Congress used its power under the "full faith and credit" provision of the Constitution to legislate that no state can be forced to give effect to any other state's recognition of same-sex relationships.
The act is a splendid, well-written law. But, alas, pressure groups are threatening to file suit to persuade some activist judge to declare it unconstitutional. No one can assure us that this won't happen.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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