Penny Nance Suddenly Discovers the Joys of Federalism

Penny Nance, the president of Concerned Women for America, is full of effusive praise for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding four state laws banning same-sex marriage. That ruling punted on the merits, merely ruling that it is a state matter and not a federal one.

What Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton has given us is a model opinion for every judge in the nation. He showed a judicial restraint and humility that is much needed in our judiciary. Although it is true that 32 states have legalized same-sex “marriage,” 22 of them had it foisted on them by activist judges who were compelled by personal preferences, not law.

As the Sixth Circuit said, clear Supreme Court precedent binds lower courts to uphold marriage laws, including the recent Windsor decision that many judges have manipulated to usurp them. Windsor says precisely that states are free to define marriage as they have done so throughout our history…

We applaud the Sixth Circuit for making an honest, wise contribution to the debate and for encouraging the American public to continue a healthy dialogue on the important issue of marriage. If there is any hope of a limited consensus on this issue, it stems from this decision.

This declared love of federalism and state control would be a lot easier to take seriously if Nance had not explicitly advocated for the passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have eliminated state control of the issue.

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  • themadtapper

    States’ Rights is always a cop-out, only ever invoked when they want to object to something but don’t have any constitutional support. When something they like violates the Constitution, suddenly it’s a states’ rights issue and the federal judges are “black-robed tyrants” or “judicial activists”. When something they DON’T like violates the Constitution, you bet your ass they demand for federal judges to overturn those laws.

  • whheydt

    My father, who had eyewitness accounts of the Civil War from his own grandfather, used to maintain that the Civil War changed one word. It changed “the United States are a nation” to “the United States is a nation.”

    Let’s face it, post-Civil War, states only have such rights as the Federal government is willing to allow them at the moment.

    (To show the overlap…my great-grandfather lived from 1843 to 1936. My father from 1910 to 1975.)

  • whheydt

    Another point against Nance…if the sates get to define marriage, she needs to explain why no state has successfully overturned Loving v. Virginia.

  • illdoittomorrow

    whheydt, at 3- while she’s at it, she could try to explain what’s up with the ten states that allowed SSM all on their own. States’ rights? Federalism? Flip a coin?

  • John Pieret

    I wonder how happy she’ll be with clear Supreme Court precedent if SCOTUS finds that gays have a right to marriage? If the court does, I bet she’s back with some amendment.

    And I wonder what she means by “a limited consensus on this issue”?

  • Modusoperandi

    States’ Rights includes the right to agree to force the other states to agree with them. That’s just common sense. Note that this would not apply when states that disagree with my states try to force my states to allow gay married.


    John Pieret “And I wonder what she means by “a limited consensus on this issue”?”

    I would guess “This far and no farther”. They will draw a line in the sand and agree that we won’t cross it.

  • jnorris

    I want Ms Nance to respond to whheydt at #3 about Loving v Virginia. Does she believe Justice Clarence Thomas should recluse himself from the deliberations?

  • John Pieret


    I was thinking she meant “You all get back in the closet and we’ll forget about this foolishness.”

  • Modusoperandi

    John Pieret, where did you think I meant the line they drew was?

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Unfortunately (and completely coincidentally, I’m sure), they don’t allow comments there to correct the record.