A Special Message From Joe Ortwerth Header


 
Local Judge Gives OK to
 Same-Sex "Marriages"
in State of Missouri

 

The news that Missouri families have feared has now come to pass.  A local state judge has issued a decision nullifying Missouri's marriage laws.  Jackson County Circuit Judge J. Dale Youngs has ruled that Missouri laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman are a violation of the equal protection provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

 

The case involved 10 same-sex "couples" who claim that they were legally "married" in other states and countries.  Judge Youngs has ruled that those "marriages" must be legally recognized in Missouri, and that any future same-sex "marriage" licenses issued by other states must be legally acknowledged by Missouri as well.

 

Judge Youngs would have you believe that his decision leaves undisturbed the requirement that marriages contracted in Missouri must be between a man and a woman.  Yet this is now a legal fiction.  As a result of his decision, any same-sex "couple" can simply schedule their "wedding" in an adjacent state like Illinois or Iowa, and then return home that night after the reception as legally "married" partners in Missouri.  The ruling by Judge Youngs renders Missouri's marriage laws to be of no consequence.

 

Judge Youngs has concluded that he does not like the historic definition of marriage, and that he should singlehandedly redefine it in defiance of the will of Missouri voters and the collective will of Missouri lawmakers.  His decision invalidates Missouri's Marriage Amendment and Missouri's Defense of Marriage Act.

 

The Missouri Marriage Amendment was adopted by Missouri voters in August of 2004, and is found in Article 1, Section 33, of the Missouri Constitution.  It reads that "to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall only exist between a man and a woman."  An overwhelming majority of 71 percent of Missouri voters made abundantly clear that they support the preservation of traditional marriage.

 

The Missouri Defense of Marriage Act is found in Section 451.022 of the Missouri state statutes.  It reads that "any purported marriage between a man and a woman is invalid," and that "a marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted."  That section of the law was first adopted by the Missouri General Assembly in 1996 to codify the historic common law understanding of marriage.

 

The opinion written by Judge Youngs is notable only for its pervasive intellectual dishonesty and its sneering contempt for the people of Missouri.  Judge Youngs has decreed that Missouri's Marriage laws violate the equal protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  He says that the 14th Amendment mandates the legal designation of same-sex unions as "marriage."  

 

There is not a single Congressman who voted to enact the 14th Amendment in the 19th century who understood it to require the redefinition of marriage.  There is not a single member of the many state legislatures who voted to ratify the 14th Amendment who understood it to demand the recognition of same-sex unions as "marriages."   Equal protection of the laws has never compelled the transformation of the meaning and purpose of a social institution that is based on the very nature of human existence.  

Most appalling is the level of judicial malfeasance contained in Judge Youngs' decision.  Not only did he thumb his nose at the supreme law of our state, but he chose to ignore unmistakeable judicial precedent of the federal courts on the subject of marriage.
 
Judge Youngs stated in his decision that limiting the definition of marriage to a man and a woman is "wholly irrational," and that in fact there are NO rational reasons for doing so.  It is indisputable that there are many rational reasons that marriage has been defined in such a way, not the least of which is that it has been the only definition known to man for virtually the entire history of civilization.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in which the state of Missouri sits, has already ruled that there are several rational bases for defining marriage in traditional terms.  In the 2006 case of Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, the 8th Circuit ruled unequivocally that states do not violate the Equal Protection Clause when they preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman.  Yet Judge Youngs, in patently dishonest fashion, did not even acknowledge the 8th Circuit ruling which he is bound to uphold.

Judge Youngs also concluded in his decision that defining marriage as a man-woman relationship is "purely arbitrary."  This is a thoroughly nonsensical statement, even for someone pontificating from the judicial class.  That is like saying that laws that define pregnancy as a female condition are "purely arbitrary."

The height of Judge Youngs' dishonest judicial conduct is his refusal to adhere to the plain reading of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor.  In that case, the High Court observed repeatedly that states have longstanding authority to establish laws governing the institution of marriage and family life.  The Supreme Court cited a long string of precedents that spell out that the "regulation of domestic relations has long been regarded as the virtually exclusive province of the states."

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that "by history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage...has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the states...The Constitution delegated no authority to the the Government of the United States on the subject of marriage and divorce...The definition of marriage is the foundation of the states' broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the protection of offspring, property interests, and the enforcement of marital responsibilities."

The Windsor decision left untouched the key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  That provision protects the right of states to refuse legal recognition to out-of-state unions that do not meet the traditional definition of marriage.  The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court today not to hear appeals of same-sex "marriage" rulings from certain lower courts does not change the position they reaffirmed on state sovereignty in the Windsor case.

Yet Judge Youngs decided to ignore his judicial responsibility to enforce the decisions of higher courts and to instead take the law into his own hands.  It is unconscionable that this judge has chosen to stand in brazen contradiction to the Constitution he swore to uphold and in arrogant defiance of U.S. Supreme Court precedent on this subject.

Our hope now is that the Missouri Supreme Court will overrule his reckless and abusive behavior on the bench, and restore the rule of law and the will of the people of Missouri.  In order for that to happen, it is necessary for Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to formally appeal Judge Youngs' decision.  He has yet to decide to do so. 

We urge you to contact Koster's office and urge him to appeal this same-sex "marriage" decision to the seven judges of Missouri's High Court.   It would be unconscionable for a single local judge to be allowed to corrupt and pervert the sacred institution of marriage in our state with such cavalier contempt for the moral sentiments of the people of Missouri.

The phone number of Attorney General Koster's office is (573) 751-3321.  Please call him now and pray for him as well.  The future of generations of Missouri families is at stake.        
10/7/14
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