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7/1/2008 - July 2008 Educational Update - How Does Same Sex Marriage Advance Homosexual Rights?



To: SLI Supporters

Date: July 2008

From: A. Eric Johnston

Re: How Does Same Sex Marriage Advance Homosexual Rights?

Homosexual activists are making significant strides in legalizing same sex marriage. A domino effect will be caused by the California Supreme Court as a result of its ruling that statutes forbidding same sex marriage were unconstitutional under the California constitution. Beginning June 17, California same sex marriages for residents and non-residents is legal. Citizens in California have had a petition drive that will result in a ballot initiative set for the general election in November that would change the California constitution to prohibit same sex marriage.

It is probably not coincidental that New York Governor David Paterson, by a dictatorial executive order, without the vote or say of the people of New York, ordered that New York state agencies will begin recognizing same sex marriage from other states, although persons of the same sex cannot marry in New York. It is said this would cause an overwhelming rewrite of all New York laws that in anyway deal with marriage, the terms husband and wife, or anything related to the relationship. This may be a prelude to New York legalizing same sex marriage and it is surely a call to arms for family advocates to get busy to stop what Paterson has initiated on his own.

The significance of this is that if two New Yorkers of the same sex go to California and get married, they will return to New York and their marriage will be recognized. While the state of New York may recognize such marriages, many states do not. Being concerned with this type conumdrum for Utah and other states, the Utah Attorney General filed a brief in the California Supreme Court asking it not to implement its remedy, until the people of California voted on the marriage issue. The ruling of the Supreme Court to permit same sex marriage was to go into effect on June 17 (which it did). If the November initiative prohibiting same sex marriage passed, this would overrule the court’s decision. Between June 17 and November 4 there could be a significant number of not only California same sex marriages, but marriages of out-of-state same sex visitors. Those visitors would then return home to their own states and proclaim the legality of their marriages.

Alabama has a constitutional amendment which would preclude recognition of same sex marriage from another state. SLI anticipated the problem, informed officials of its potential, and participated in the drafting of the amendment. In June 2006 the Alabama Constitution was amended to add the “Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.” Article I, Section 36.03(e) specifically states in pertinent part: “The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued.” The purpose of this amendment is to avoid recognizing otherwise lawful acts from another state, but against our public policy, which may be required under the United States Constitution, Article IV, Section 1, the “Full Faith and Credit Clause.” Notwithstanding Alabama’s constitutional amendment, a federal lawsuit testing it can still be brought.

Recognizing the potential problems then for a number of states, the Utah Attorney General prepared his brief and solicited other states’ attorneys general to join him. He was joined by Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Carolina and South Dakota, with Texas and Pennsylvania filing a separate but similar brief. Alabama was asked to sign on the Utah brief, but did not.

SLI worked with representatives who worked on behalf of the Utah Attorney General’s Office to get states to sign on with the Utah Attorney General. The brief had apparently earlier been written and sent to Alabama Attorney General Troy King’s office. When we followed up, they were not acquainted with the proposed brief or the effort.

SLI made a concerted effort for Alabama to support Utah. However, due to lack of time, inattention, unconcern, or whatever, Alabama did not sign on the brief. We mean no criticism of Attorney General King, but this is an example of our not protecting Alabama’s strong public policy against homosexuality. We can lose the issue merely by default. While we are defaulting, those who are advocating same sex marriage are actively, constantly and universally seeking and achieving change. Even though the California court did not stay its remedy, there is no excuse for our default.

Alabama’s public policy since it became a state in 1819 has been to criminalize homosexuality, recognize it as grounds for divorce, and to regularly report through its cases that it is an uncivilized and unspeakable crime. Alabama has passed statutes that would prohibit homosexual activity on college campuses, a hotbed of homosexual activism. Efforts that would anyway recognize the legality of homosexuality have failed, such as the annual effort to add sexual orientation to Alabama’s hate crimes law. Since our inception, SLI has worked to protect and extend this public policy.

SLI will do all it can to preserve the sanctity of marriage and the traditional family. We cannot do it alone. Lawmakers and law enforcement must be active, involved and consistent. Your action is to encourage them. Write letters to editors and inform others of this high magnitude shift of morals. For a link to find elected officials, visit our webpage www.southeastlawinstitute.org. Let us know if we can help you in anyway.

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