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Lawless 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 "marriage."

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 Florida 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 U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say. Until then, natural marriage is the law of Florida.

Florida clerks of court should respect Florida's citizens enough to uphold their oaths of office and the legal, democratic process that will ultimately decide Florida law. Florida 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!