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Supreme Court Declines to Intervene in Massachusetts Marriage Case

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  • umcornet
    The Supreme Court has denied a request to review a Massachusetts court s decision. ... Supreme Court Declines to Intervene in Massachusetts Marriage Case By
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 30, 2004
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      The Supreme Court has denied a request to review a Massachusetts
      court's decision.
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      Supreme Court Declines to Intervene in Massachusetts Marriage Case
      By Robert Marus
      Associated Baptist Press
      November 30, 2004

      WASHINGTON (ABP) -- The Supreme Court has denied a request to review a
      Massachusetts court's decision that legalized gay marriage in that
      state.
      Returning to the bench Nov. 29 after their Thanksgiving break, the
      justices declined without comment a request from a group of socially
      conservative Massachusetts legislators to review a decision by the
      state's Supreme Judicial Court that legalized same-sax marriage in the
      commonwealth.

      The group, represented by the Florida-based Liberty Counsel, had
      argued that the decision denied Massachusetts voters the right to
      govern themselves through their legislature, thus violating the
      federal Constitution's guarantee of a representative form of
      government for each state.

      In a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, Liberty Counsel attorney
      Matthew Staver said the justices should hear the case because voters
      in Massachusetts had a constitutional right "to live in a republican
      form of government free from tyranny, whether that comes at the barrel
      of a gun or by the decree of a court."

      But in June, a three-judge panel of the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit
      Court of Appeals held unanimously that the legislators who filed the
      suit did not have standing to sue because they did not prove they had
      suffered any actual injury.

      The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision did not violate
      the federal Constitution, the appeals court said, because
      Massachusetts voters may overrule that decision in 2006, by approving
      a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage but allowing
      "civil unions" between gay partners.

      The argument by the Liberty Council overreached, the appeals court
      said in its unsigned June ruling, because the Massachusetts court "has
      not abolished the legislature. The amendment process enshrined in the
      Massachusetts Constitution is purposely designed to be slow; that
      choice is itself a result of the state's republican form of
      government."

      The controversy erupted in November 2003 when the Massachusetts court
      ruled that the state's constitution requires it to offer marriage
      licenses on an equal basis to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. The
      decision set off a backlash across the country, with nearly a dozen
      states adopting constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage. It
      also gave steam to an effort to amend the federal Constitution to ban
      gay marriage.

      Conservatives said the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the
      Massachusetts case is further proof that a federal constitutional
      amendment is needed.

      "It is increasingly clear that the ultimate solution to the problem of
      judicial tyranny will not come from other judges but from the people
      themselves," said Peter Sprigg, policy director for the Family
      Research Council, in a statement. "That is why the electorates of 13
      states have amended their state constitutions in recent months to
      define marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

      White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, asked about the court's
      decision during his regular Nov. 29 press briefing, said it deals with
      federal-versus-state issues and does not mean the court would decline
      to entertain a future challenge to the federal law banning same-sex
      marriage.

      "There is some question of whether or not [the federal Defense of
      Marriage Act] will be upheld over time," McClellan told reporters.
      "And the president believes that [marriage] is an enduring institution
      in our society. That's why he has fought to move forward on a
      constitutional process that would allow the states and the people in
      those states to be involved in this decision."

      The case is Largess vs. Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, No.
      04-420.
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