CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld state bans on same-sex “marriage” in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee on Thursday, reversing a year-long trend in the federal courts to strike down such state restrictions as being unconstitutional.
“A dose of humility makes us hesitant to condemn as unconstitutionally irrational a view of marriage shared not long ago by every society in the world, shared by most, if not all, of our ancestors, and shared still today by a significant number of the States,” wrote Judge Jeffrey Sutton, appointed to the bench by George W. Bush, on behalf of the majority.
“No one here claims that the states’ original definition of marriage was unconstitutional when enacted. The plaintiffs’ claim is that the states have acted irrationally in standing by the traditional definition in the face of changing social mores,” he continued. “[But] how can we say that the voters acted irrationally for sticking with the seen benefits of thousands of years of adherence to the traditional definition of marriage in the face of one year of experience with a new definition of marriage?”
Sutton also rebuffed claims that homosexual relationships were entitled to be recognized as marriages simply because they have feelings for each other.
“Their definition does too much because it fails to account for the reality that no State in the country requires couples, whether gay or straight, to be in love,” he said. “Their definition does too little because it fails to account for plural marriages, where there is no reason to think that three or four adults, whether gay, bisexual, or straight, lack the capacity to share love, affection, and commitment, or for that matter lack the capacity to be capable (and more plentiful) parents to boot.”
“If it is constitutionally irrational to stand by the man-woman definition of marriage, it must be constitutionally irrational to stand by the monogamous definition of marriage,” Sutton asserted. “[But] the predicament does not end there. No state is free of marriage policies that go too far in some directions and not far enough in others, making all of them vulnerable…”
The circuit judge was joined by Judge Deborah Cook in his opinion, also nominated by Bush. Judge Martha Daughtrey was the sole dissenter, rejecting her colleagues contentions that the courts should stay out of the institution of marriage.
“If we in the judiciary do not have the authority, and indeed the responsibility to right fundamental wrongs left excused by a a majority of the electorate, our whole intricate, constitutional system of checks and balances …. prove to be nothing but shams,” she wrote.
The matter is now expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the court declined to hear several same-sex “marriage” cases this year following a string of lower court decisions declaring state amendments as running afoul to the federal Constitution, some believe that the nine justices may agree to consider the matter next year.