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Supreme Court: Americans cannot affirm marriage as one man, one woman

ADF filed brief with Alabama attorney general in defense of the people’s freedom

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that states can no longer affirm marriage as the union of one man and one woman in their laws.

Alliance Defending Freedom and the Alabama Attorney General’s Office submitted one of the more than 60 briefs filed in defense of the marriage laws challenged in Obergefell v. Hodges and three other cases consolidated with it.

“The Supreme Court has stripped all Americans of our freedom to debate and decide marriage policy through the democratic process,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jim Campbell, director of the ADF Center for Marriage and Family. “The freedom to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. The court took that freedom from the people and overrode the considered judgment of tens of millions of Americans who recently reaffirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The court cast aside the understanding of marriage’s nature and purpose that diverse cultures and faiths across the globe have embraced for millennia.”

In a strongly worded dissent from the high court’s opinion reversing the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, “Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best.”

Taking direct aim at the majority’s analysis, Scalia observed that the majority opinion “is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.… The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational pop-philosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.”

“If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: ‘The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,’ I would hide my head in a bag,” Scalia added. “The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

“Americans who understand the good of marriage still have great opportunities to communicate and model how the unique union of one man and one woman benefits society,” Campbell explained. “Although the ongoing debate about marriage now enters a new phase, it is far from over. ADF will continue to advocate the truth about marriage and redouble its efforts to ensure that those who believe in the long-recognized definition of marriage will be free to hold, express, and live out their beliefs.”

For more than a decade, ADF has been the leading legal advocacy organization defending laws and government policies that affirm the truth about marriage.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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Jim Campbell
Jim Campbell
Chief Legal Counsel
Jim Campbell serves as chief legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he leads the U.S. Legal Advocacy team.