A federal judge declared yesterday that Oklahoma’s law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
“The Court holds that Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Terence Kern.
“Yesterday’s decision from a federal district judge gets marriage and the Constitution wrong, and, if upheld on appeal, would force that state to act contrary to the meaning and purpose of marriage,” responds Ryan T. Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “The U.S. Constitution does not require redefining marriage.”
“Whatever one thinks about marriage, the courts shouldn’t be redefining it,” Anderson adds. “Americans should make marriage policy through the democratic process rather than allowing judges to dictate it to them through decisions that have no grounding in our Constitution.”
Anderson cited the Supreme Court’s decision last year on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, when the Court wrote that “the significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning; for ‘when the Constitution was adopted the common understanding was that the domestic relations of husband and wife and parent and child were matters reserved to the States.”
“The states remain free—and should continue to remain free—to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” he says.
Kern described Oklahoma’s marriage law, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, as “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a government benefit.” Anderson testified earlier this week before the Indiana House Judiciary Committee that the government’s rational basis for laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman was the need for children to have both a mother and a father.