The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) played an instrumental role in a ruling issued late yesterday afternoon in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided to preserve traditional marriage, stopping the homosexual juggernaut that had been sweeping the nation. In its 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit upheld marriage laws from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote the opinion joined by Judge Deborah Cook.
The Thomas More Law Center played a significant role in crafting Michigan’s constitutional amendment upheld by the Court. TMLC also filed an amicus brief (friend of the court brief) on behalf of a Coalition of Black Pastors and Christian leaders supporting traditional marriage.
Responding to yesterday’s ruling, Richard Thompson, TMLC’s President and Chief Counsel commented, “This opinion is an historic and elegant defense of the principle of judicial restraint and deference to democracy and the voice of the people. It could well become the catalyst for the US Supreme Court to finally take-up the issue as well as the basis of an ultimate Supreme Court decision to allow the individual states to decide the definition of marriage.”
The Sixth Circuit ruled that laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman were constitutional, even in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year in U.S. v. Windsor, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). The Sixth Circuit held that deference must be given to the individual states to regulate marriage, and that defining marriage between a man and a woman—as it has been for “thousands of years,” “span[ning] almost every society in history”—is a constitutional and rational act of the states.
TMLC played an intricate part in this crucial victory. In 2004, TMLC crafted the Michigan Marriage Amendment which was upheld by yesterday’s decision. TMLC cautiously ensured that the Marriage Amendment served no discriminatory purpose and explained its reasoning in the amendment itself, stating:
To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.
Mich. Const. Art. I, § 25.
Michigan’s Marriage Amendment was passed by fifty- nine percent of Michigan’s voters. Supporters of “homosexual marriage” have not tried to pass their own legislation through the usual channels of democracy, but have tried to use judges to bypass the ballot box. Their strategy has proven successful in several courts across the county. It failed in the Sixth Circuit.
Instrumental to the Sixth Circuit’s decision was TMLC’s amicus brief that provided a full legal analysis explaining why marriage amendments that protect traditional marriage are constitutional. The brief was submitted as part of TMLC’s national strategy to defend laws protecting traditional marriage and to enlighten courts on why traditional marriage is the only sound response to the approximately 90 cases filed in the past year by pro-homosexual activists. TMLC has filed several briefs nationally as an answer to this assault on Christianity and traditional family values.
TMLC’s amicus brief was filed on behalf of a Coalition of African-American pastors and Christian leaders to reflect the voice of a majority of African-Americans that discrimination because of one’s sexual preference is not the same thing as racial discrimination and that tradition and morality should not be discarded as a basis of the law as the pro-homosexual judges have done in their opinions.
A legal team consisting of TMLC’s senior trial counsel, Erin Mersino, and Co-counsels William R. Wagner and John S. Kane of Lansing, MI, has been filing briefs in significant cases dealing with traditional marriage.
Coalition member, Pastor Danny Holliday of Victory Baptist Church, of Alton, Illinois reacted to yesterday’s ruling, “I am grateful to God because the Sixth Circuit overturned the decisions, concluding the definition of marriage should be left to the voters — not judges — and that voters should be allowed to decide whether gay marriage is a good idea or not.”
Coalition member, Minister Stacy Swimp, of Greater Bibleway Temple, stated, “I thank God that the U.S. 6th Circuit Court has lived up to its appointed responsibility to interpret law rather than create new laws. The ruling is indeed a major victory for traditional marriage and a strong affirmation of our nation’s Judeo Christian values and culture.”
Janet Boynes, another Coalition member reacted, “This is a great victory for those of us who believe in the sanctity of marriage, but we know the fight isn’t over. We pray for Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton and his family as they might have to face the rage of those with opposing views.
The Sixth Circuit adopted many of TMLC’s legal arguments including its point of view that preservation of our Nation’s tradition and morality should not be replaced with the trendy, moral relativism of only the last decade. The brief states, “Some truths are self-evident. Among them are that men and women are different. In fact, it is clear from our very existence that men are made for women, and women for men. None of us would be here but for that truth. Another self-evident truth is that it is best for children to be raised by their parents whenever possible. There have been many theories to the contrary throughout history, but they have all proven vacuous at best. Public policy that recognizes and acts on these truths is not unfairly discriminatory. In fact, the only way to have sound public policy is to build on such truths.”