Defending Marriage at State Supreme Courts
- By Alan Sears
- Posted Oct 31, 2013
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Last week, I told you about a series of cases Alliance Defending Freedom has pending before the U.S. Supreme Court in the current term. While those cases, with their especially far-reaching implications, are critical, the impact of the cases our attorneys present regularly in state supreme courts across the country can be just as important to the future freedoms of you and your family.
Last week in Wisconsin, for instance, Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks presented oral arguments before that state’s Supreme Court in the case of Appling v. Walker, arguing that former Governor Jim Doyle and the state legislature violated the Wisconsin constitution in creating legal unions that imitate marriage.
In 2012, a state appellate court decision upheld a lower court’s ruling that approved efforts by groups promoting same-sex “marriage” to circumvent the will of Wisconsin voters, who passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 defining marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. Through so-called “domestic partnerships,” some state legislators are attempting to create a legal equivalent of marriage, despite specific language in the 2006 amendment that
prohibits any “legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals.”
“Society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it,” says Nimocks. “The people of Wisconsin recognize this, and that is precisely the reason they approved a constitutional amendment that protects marriage from all imitators. It is clear that state’s ‘domestic partnership’ scheme is exactly the kind of marriage imitation that the voters intended to prevent.”
Our attorneys are lead counsel in the suit together with co-counsel Mike Dean of the First Freedoms Foundation and co-counsel Richard M. Esenberg, two of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom.
On the same day our attorneys argued in support of marriage in Wisconsin, Legal Counsel Jim Campbell presented oral arguments at the New Mexico Supreme Court concerning that state’s marriage laws. Our organization is representing a number of current and former state lawmakers who filed a brief with the court last month, protesting a district judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Bernalillo County.
“The union between one man and one woman – marriage – is timeless, universal, and special,” says Campbell. “New Mexico’s laws have reflected this from the beginning, and nothing has changed. The legislators who enacted New Mexico’s marriage laws unquestionably understood marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, as both the current and former state attorneys general have acknowledged. Nothing in New Mexico’s constitution requires the state to change this understanding of marriage.”
You might think from media reports that the whole nation has embraced same-sex unions; in fact, 35 of the 50 states still define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Indeed, the majority of Americans still see marriage that way. Please be in prayer for our attorneys as we continue to defend that definition in courts throughout the nation – affirming God’s plan and preserving our heritage for the sake of your children and grandchildren.
Author: Alan Sears