An activist federal judge in Virginia ruled last week that defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman violates the United Stated Constitution. Judge Arenda Wright Allen became the third Obama-appointed federal judge in recent weeks to invalidate state marriage amendments adopted by overwhelming majorities of state voters. Her decision, like those in Utah and Oklahoma before it, is wrong as a matter of principle, precedent, and logic. It should be reversed.
In covering these recent judicial decisions holding that it’s unconstitutional to limit marriage to one man and one woman, the mainstream media have erroneously described the findings as “unanimous.” Reporting on the Virginia decision, the Washington Post said that Judge Wright Allen “joined a so-far unanimous group of federal judges considering a question that Supreme Court justices left unanswered in June” — the question of whether state bans on same-sex marriage are constitutional. The characterization of the decisions as “unanimous” is wrong and seems designed to lead voters to conclude that gay marriage is inevitable. In fact, two federal judges, one in Nevada and one in Hawaii, have ruled that traditional-marriage laws do not violate the Constitution. If we’re keeping score on federal-court rulings on the core question about the constitutional legitimacy of same-sex marriage, it’s 3–2 — hardly a “unanimous” legal landscape.
The Virginia ruling is particularly offensive since the judge began her decision by noting the shameful, racist law once employed by the Commonwealth to prohibit interracial marriage. She then compared supporters of one-man-one-woman marriage to those who favored banning interracial marriage, saying that both groups relied on “tradition” to justify their views.
So this Obama-appointed judge has effectively equated anyone who supports traditional marriage with racists. Following this logic, President Obama was acting like a racist until just 21 months ago, before he had “evolved” on the issue.
There is no correlation whatsoever between the effort to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman and laws that banned interracial marriage. Banning interracial marriage was an ugly chapter in American history. It was about keeping the races separate so that one race could dominate and oppress another. Marriage is about bringing the two sexes together to form a unique union so that children experience the love of a mother and a father.
The Virginia litigation also shines a spotlight on the role of duplicitous, spineless politicians in the ongoing debate about the right of states to define marriage. The newly elected attorney general of the Commonwealth, Mark Herring, not only abandoned his sworn duty to defend the laws of the state, but he actually joined the case against the very people he is duty-bound to represent. Herring, a Democrat, followed the path blazed by fellow Democrats Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris in California, who left Proposition 8 defenseless in federal courts, and Eric Holder, who abandoned a defense of DOMA.