APPLETON, Wisc. — A federal judge appointed by then-President Jimmy Carter has declared Wisconsin’s same-sex ‘marriage’ ban unconstitutional, stating that it infringes upon the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to equal protection under the law.
“Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb wrote. “Because my review of that law convinces me that plaintiffs are entitled to the same treatment as any heterosexual couple, I conclude that the Wisconsin laws banning marriage between same-sex couples are unconstitutional.”
“I conclude that the Wisconsin laws prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples interfere with plaintiffs’ right to marry, in violation of the due process clause, and discriminate against plaintiffs on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the [Constitution’s] equal protection clause,” she stated.
As previously reported, Wisconsin voters passed a constitutional amendment in November 2006 that enshrined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state,” the measure, passed by 59 percent of the vote, reads. “A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”
The amendment was challenged in 2009 at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but was deemed to be constitutional.
However, the ACLU of Wisconsin revived the challenge in federal court, asserting that the ban is discriminatory and thus unlawful. It filed suit in February on behalf of eight homosexuals in the state, who contended that the criminal penalties attached to the law, which include fines and jail time, are excessive.
On Friday, Crabb sided with the ACLU, but the state vows to fight on.
“We will continue to defend the constitutionality of our traditional marriage laws and the constitutional amendment, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters,” State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.
Pastor Matt Trewhella of Mercy Seat Christian Church near Milwaukee blasted Judge Crabb following the ruling for “imposing homosexual marriage upon the people of our state.”
“Federal judges have been imposing the immorality of homosexual marriage upon states around our nation,” he lamented. “The people of Wisconsin—like 31 other states—voted for these constitutional amendments in order to protect marriage from the sexual outlaws and moral anarchists which are prevalent in our nation today.”
Trewhella urged those in authority to resist the ruling at every level.
“Governor Walker, our state legislators, and county clerks have both the right and duty to defy this federal judge and defend our state Constitution regarding marriage,” he said. “America’s Founders never expected the states to just comply with immoral or unjust federal court opinions.”
“There are 72 counties in Wisconsin; will not one county clerk stand in the gap and defy the federal tyrant?” Trewhella asked. “Will not just one fear God more than they fear man? The Scripture reads in Judges 18:7, ‘There was no magistrate in the land that might put them to shame in anything.'”