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ADF official comment

BOSTON – The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts today radically redefined marriage in the Commonwealth by stripping it of its core purpose of uniting men and women as the basic unit of the family.  The court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to "marry."

In Goodridge v. Department of Health, the court rode roughshod over state law, the state Constitution, and historically respected legal and cultural arguments.  "Marriage, by definition, has always been about one man and one woman.  But all the radical activists had to do was get a case into a court willing to invent a ‘right’ to homosexual ‘marriage,’" said Alan E. Sears, president of the Alliance Defense Fund.  The Alliance Defense Fund, America’s largest public interest religious liberty legal alliance, is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

"Radical homosexual activists have made their intentions clear – ‘couples’ will now converge on  Massachusetts, ‘marry,’ and return to their respective states and file lawsuits to challenge Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs) and try to force the states to recognize their ‘marriages,’" Sears said.  "We are disappointed but we’re going to continue the fight state by state."

"The Constitution, the weight of civil and natural law, the history of marriage and the nation’s traditions of faith and democracy are against this opinion," Sears said.  "The people of Massachusetts elect representatives to decide vital public policy matters such as questions of marriage.  This opinion disenfranchises the voters of Massachusetts."

In its opinion the court said that prohibiting same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts violates the state Constitution.  It said there is no rational basis for prohibiting same-sex "marriage."  The court stayed the order for 180 days to allow the legislature to take up the matter.

Other state courts have rejected same sex "marriage" claims.  Two weeks ago, a New Jersey court reaffirmed the legal importance of traditional marriage in Lewis v. Harris by dismissing the case on the grounds that there is no history of same-sex "marriage" to justify it as a constitutional right.  Last month, in the first state court decision on homosexual "marriage" after Lawrence v. Texas, the Arizona Court of Appeals soundly rejected the attempt of two homosexuals to gain lawful status as "married" spouses under the Arizona Constitution in Standhardt v. Superior Court.

In May, an Indiana state trial court said in Morrison v. Sadler, Civil Division Cause No. 49D13-0211-PL-001946, that courts "have historically recognized the connection between traditional marriage and our free society.  The United States Supreme Court has itself recognized the connection between marriage and a free society, referring to traditional marriage over 100 years ago as ‘the foundation of the family and society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress.’  Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 211 (1888).  Justice Holmes observed that ‘some form of permanent association between the sexes’ is one of the rudimentary characteristics of civilization.  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Natural Law, 32 Harv. L. Rev. 40, 41 (1918).  Other courts have also recognized that ‘the structure of society itself largely depends upon the institution of marriage….The joining of the man and woman in marriage is at once the most socially productive and individually fulfilling relationship that one can enjoy in the course of a lifetime.’ Marvin v. Marvin, 557 P.2nd 106, 122 (Cal. 1976)."

Sears added: "It would have been better for Massachusetts and the rest of the country if the Massachusetts court had ruled the same way the Arizona, Indiana, and New Jersey courts did."

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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