Obama to the Rest of Us: Law is for Little People

Obama to the Rest of Us: Law is for Little People January 16, 2014

If there’s one thing Obama has made clear, it’s that he doesn’t much like democracy or the process of having to deliberate matters with lesser beings than himself. Free people deliberating matters of the common good get in the way of the swift action of his divine creative word. If he could, he’d get rid of such time-wasting folderol and impose all law by direct fiat.

Attorney General Holder Acts Contrary to Supreme Court Decision

By Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

Last week Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government will recognize so-called “marriages” performed in Utah between persons of the same sex that even Utah itself does not recognize as marriage. Presently, Utah defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. On December 20, 2013, a federal district judge struck down that definition, but on January 6 of this year, the United States Supreme Court stayed that decision while the case is on appeal.

However, Attorney General Holder is ignoring Utah law and imposing a contrary federal definition of marriage in that state. In this, General Holder’s decision is actually contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision last year in United States v. Windsor. Windsor unfortunately struck down a uniform federal definition of marriage, but it made clear that the federal government is to respect a state’s definition of marriage. In particular, the Court said that the federal government is to defer to “state sovereign choices about who may be married” and furthermore criticized federal actions – like General Holder’s – that “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”

The Utah Attorney General, who (unlike General Holder) is responsible for enforcing Utah law, has declared that the validity of any same-sex “marriages” performed in Utah between December 20 and January 6 “will depend on the result of the appeal process.”

In other words, out of respect for the legal process, Utah will wait for the federal courts to decide. But not the Attorney General of the United States, who has already ruled that same-sex “marriages” performed between December 20 and January 6 are valid for purposes of federal law. If the federal government is legally obliged to defer to the marriage law of the state, as Windsor itself holds, then how can the federal government recognize as valid – even if only for federal purposes – marriages which a state has not deemed valid? This logically opens the door for the federal government to recognize any type of relationship (and with any number of partners) as valid marriages in contradiction to state law.

Events over these past several months (the most recent being the January 14 decision by a federal court in Oklahoma ruling that state’s marriage amendment unconstitutional) have made it clearer than ever that the marriage debate we are having in this country is not about access to the right of marriage, but the very meaning of marriage: what it is, and what it is for.

I encourage all those who know and believe the timeless truth about marriage, as well as all those who believe in following the established judicial procedures to address such issues, to not remain silent, but to exercise their constitutional rights as citizens of this great nation and to stand up for the truth.

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  • Stu

    Yeah, but you are a racist…or something.

    • Liam

      He’s being tyrant-o-phobic. Our a dictato-phobe…or something.

  • I keep thinking: Yes, the archbishop’s analysis is correct – and futile. I don’t believe that logical discourse has the power to stop anything with sufficient social momentum to carry through, no matter how timeless the truths. I don’t believe in the power of blogs to change social trajectories.

    As the nexus between money and stupidity grows stronger
    As the bonds of the family grow weaker and more degraded
    As power increases and control becomes morbid, self-absorbed
    Less mindful, more reactive, more hungry
    We will see the despot, the demagogue, the opportunist arrive
    Smooth and yet corrosive, appealing and yet intimidating

    Not yet, but soon

    Is it true that children of Brigham Young are defending the definition of true marriage?

    So what to do?

    • We do what Isaiah and Jeremiah did after God told them outright that their preaching would fall on deaf ears: we maintain fidelity to the truth.
      I’m convinced that now, as then, a period in which the people’s hearts will be hardened is descending. Such times are often necessary for God to work a people’s redemption; to turn their “no” into His “yes”.
      Pope Francis nailed it when he named the current anti-marriage movement’s demonic origin. Human folly alone didn’t cause this rupture with truth. Human argument won’t heal it. Still, we’re obliged to keep witnessing to truth regardless of whether or not we succeed.

      • It seems that one of the few virtues among the administration is that they are honest about their contempt for the law.

      • In my own small way I’m trying.

  • kenofken

    Holder’s actions impose nothing upon the state of Utah. It only affects how the federal government considers these couples for federal income tax etc. Federal law, as it now stands in that judicial circuit, says same sex marriage is legal. The federal government operates under federal laws, not state ones. It may defer to state laws as a matter of discretion, but nowhere is it bound to do so. Case in point, the states that recently legalized marijuana. The feds still have, and exercise, the power to prosecute anyone in the industry under federal laws.

    • guest

      But — this isn’t the situation you describe. Marriage is a creation of the individual states, not the federal government. So if there is no marriage under Utah’s state law, there is no marriage for the federal government to recognize. The federal government can’t (legally) appropriate a right reserved to the states in order to meet its agenda. That’s the problem here.

      • kenofken

        The federal court isn’t creating marriage de novo for same sex couples. It ruled that it’s unconstitutional for Utah to deny the existing legal recognition of civil marriage to same sex couples. There’s certainly room for disagreement whether that finding is proper, but the federal government does have a well established power to take precedence over state law in matters of the 14th Amendment or other areas of the U.S. Constitution which extend to all citizens regardless of which state they live. Judge Shelby’s ruling may not be the final word, but until a higher court says otherwise, his ruling is the law of the land in the 10th Circuit.

        • guest

          The Supreme Court stayed the federal court of appeals decision pending appeal so Judge Shelby’s ruling is not the law of the land, it’s in limbo until the Supreme Court rules on the case. US v Windsor just reaffirmed that the states, not the federal government, have the right to legislate and define marriage and struck down DOMA as “putting a thumb on the scales and influencing a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.” The issue is how AG Holder can recognize a marriage that is not recognized by the state that has the authority to recognize or not.

          • kenofken

            That quote from the Windsor ruling was not some standalone affirmation of state’s rights. It is immediately followed by
            “The Act’s demonstrated purpose is to ensure that if any State decides to recognize same-sex marriages, those unions will be treated as second-class marriages for purposes of federal law. This raises a most serious question under the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.class marriages for purposes of federal law.”

            The primary issue for the Court was not that the federal government did something, but did it for the express purpose of unconstitutional discrimination.

            Anti-SSM advocates somehow construe this small passage, and the Court’s declining to rule expansively on state laws as some sort of eternal blood oath that the federal government and judiciary would never again interfere in the issue or rule upon issues relating to it.

            It’s curious, too, how folks like the Archbishop thought overarching federal power was brilliant when DOMA was around, but now all of a sudden, he’s a state’s righter…

            There’s another dimension to this: The Utah Attorney general stated that the same sex marriages performed before the stay were recognized under state law at the time they were done. The state even issued certificates to that effect even as the governor decided not to recognize them for purposes of benefits pending court review.

            • guest

              I was noticing that advocates of SSM were all over state’s rights when DOMA was being challenged, and now it’s “oh noes, the federal government has the absolute right to appropriate the state’t right to define and recognize marriage!!!” The issue here is very narrow – when the state has stated it’s holding off on recognizing marriages within it pending SCT review, does the federal government have the right to preempt that and recognize marriages on its own prior to said review? Your answer appears to be the same as that of the Obama administration – “Um, yes, as long as we get to the end goal of SSM, we’ll adopt any position, no matter how contrary to a prior position.”

  • Dave G.

    “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need,”

    That’s a quote from President Obama. The gist of the story appeared to be that Obama is prepared to circumvent Congress for the sake of Americans. So nothing in this article should be surprising.

  • Unaware Poet

    Wait a minute… I thought Mark She was some bleeding heart, hippy liberal. How could a person criticize BOTH Voris AND Obama? My Reactionary categories of contempt are crumbling before my eyes! NOOOOOooooooooo…..

  • Loretta

    Supreme Court Justice Joseph Philo Bradley, who wrote the majority opinion on the Utah territorial polygamy statutes a century ago, is rolling over in his grave. This is SOOOOO wrong on so many different levels.