Rebellion Masquerading as Law
By: Mat Staver
Founder and Chairman Liberty Counsel
January 12, 2015
The following Liberty Counsel editorial ran in Sunday's Gainesville
(Florida) Sun. Please
see the Op-ed below and help us defend natural God-ordained marriage – Mat.
The New Year has brought a new era to
Florida: lawlessness. Clerks of court throughout the
state began Tuesday issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, disregarding
their oaths to uphold the Florida Constitution. Not
to be outdone, Florida Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel, a day earlier, ordered
same-sex “marriages" to begin immediately in Miami-Dade County.
More troubling than her ruling, however, was the fact that she immediately
inserted herself into the ensuing celebration of the litigants for whom she had
just ruled by eagerly officiating their "marriages," destroying any impression
of impartiality in an active case. Lawlessness is masquerading as law.
When 5 million Florida voters passed the Florida Marriage
Protection Amendment in 2008, they did not act out of hate or "animus," as they
have been spuriously accused by a few insular judges. Rather, Floridians
democratically affirmed in their Constitution the historical, natural definition
of marriage, in accordance with the millennia of history in which marriage has
been recognized as the unique, comprehensive union of a man and a woman, and the
foundational social institution upon which the future of children and family,
and the state and nation depend. Natural marriage uniquely fosters stability,
permanency, prosperity, and the optimal healthy environment for children.
Outcomes for children are best when raised with a mom and a dad; same-sex
“marriage" permanently robs children of ever having a mom and a dad. No judge
has provided a sufficient reason for dismantling this granite foundation and
replacing it with the shifting sand and artificial construct of same-sex
To be clear, no Floridian—and certainly no judge—defines
marriage. The Florida Marriage
Protection Amendment memorialized, but did not create, the definition of
marriage as what it always has been and always will be. Marriage is defined by
its nature, and predates government, which is limited to regulating marriage in
accordance with its nature.
Do not be deceived: Same-sex "marriage" is
NOT the law of Florida. The now infamous
opinion of Judge Hinkle in the federal case Brenner
v. Scott does not require
the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples throughout the state,
regardless of how the order has been (intentionally) misrepresented by the media
and others. But Florida clerks are using the opinion as cover to violate
their oaths and the Florida
Constitution to issue illegal licenses. Nor is legal same-sex "marriage" in
Florida inevitable: All of the
marriage rulings are on appeal, and since those rulings four federal judges in
other cases have upheld the rights of states to recognize the natural definition
of marriage. A Florida appellate court or the
Supreme Court will have the final say. Until then, natural marriage is the law
Florida clerks of court should respect Florida's citizens enough to uphold
their oaths of office and the legal, democratic process that will ultimately
clerks are not allowed to pick and choose which laws to follow. Until a court
with proper jurisdiction rules otherwise, Florida
clerks in all but two counties are bound by Florida's Constitution and its
memorialization of the historical, natural definition of marriage as the union
of one man and one woman. No matter how any of these clerks personally feels,
issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is lawless.
When the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),
Liberty Counsel warned that the decision would lead to legal misinterpretation,
judicial activism, and unbridled intolerance toward those of us who insist that
marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Regrettably, that warning has
become prophetic in Florida
and in far too many other jurisdictions across America. Defending
natural marriage is among Liberty Counsel's core missions.
We have no choice but to win the battle in support of natural marriage!