Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Natural Marriage IS Constitutional: Tenn. Judge

With little fanfare, and almost no media coverage, Judge Russell Simmons ruled last week that the Tennessee constitutional amendment defining one-man-one-woman marriage, which was passed by 81% of the voters in 2006, does NOT violate the U.S. Constitution.  This court case involved a challenge to the amendment by Frederick Michael Borman and Larry Kevin Pyles-Borman, two men who were "married" in Iowa, but who wanted to get divorced in Tennessee, where they live.
“… neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state’s responsibility. … Marriage simply cannot be divorced from its traditional procreative purposes. … The promotion of family continuity and stability is certainly a legitimate state interest.”
-- Circuit Court Judge Russell E. Simmons, Jr., Roane County, Tennessee
UPDATE 11/7/14: 'Gay Marriage' Loses in Federal Appeals Court; on to Supreme Court

For background, read how activist judges across America are forbidding voters the right to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  However, there are lone appellate judges who say that there is NO constitutional protection for "gay marriage."

-- From "Same-Sex Marriage Ban Survives Challenge in Tennessee" by Nolan Feeney, Time Magazine 8/11/14

More than two dozen federal and state court rulings since the Supreme Court’s United States v. Windsor decision in June 2013 have successfully challenged and/or nullified bans. Simmons’ ruling rejects both a claim of discrimination and a claim that the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause forces the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

“The Supreme Court does not go the final step and find that a state that defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional,” Simmons wrote. “Further, the Supreme Court does not find that one state’s refusal to accept another state’s valid same-sex marriage to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”

Simmons’ ruling only formally addressed and upheld the part of Tennessee’s ban that doesn’t recognize pre-existing same-sex marriages from other states, though this aspect is now being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Tennessee judge breaks gay marriage's streak" by Mario Trujillo, The Hill 8/12/14

. . . the United States V. Windsor Supreme Court case in 2013 . . . struck down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but Simmons said it did not apply to the Tennessee case.

"The Windsor case is concerned with the definition of marriage, only as it applies to federal laws, and does not give an opinion concerning whether one state must accept as valid a same-sex marriage allowed in another state," he wrote.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Tennessee's Gay Marriage Ban Is Constitutional, Judge Rules; Breaks Streak of Ban Losses" by Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter 8/12/14

In his decision, Simmons cited the 1972 case Baker v. Nelson, a lesser known decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court, arguing that gay marriage is not a fundamental right.

"Baker holds that a state's law on same-sex marriage does not violate the equal protection or substantive due process rights under the United States Constitution," wrote Simmons in his memorandum opinion.

"Although the United States Supreme Court has had opportunities to overrule the Baker decision, it has refused to take that position even in the decision on which the plaintiff relies, which is United States v. Windsor."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "String of same-sex marriage rulings broken" by Lyle Denniston, Reporter, SCOTUSblog 8/11/14

Although Judge Simmons’s decision was limited to cases involving a divorce when the marriage itself is not recognized, he ruled in sweeping terms.  He relied in part upon the Supreme Court’s summary decision in 1972 rejecting a constitutional challenge to a Minnesota ban, concluding that the Justices have never abandoned that ruling.

To the argument that more recent gay rights decisions have undercut that precedent, the Tennessee judge responded that the issue should more properly be raised in an appellate court with broader authority than that of a trial judge.

Besides rejecting a challenge to the Tennessee ban based on a claim of illegal discrimination, Judge Simmons turned aside an argument that the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause required Tennessee to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.