Federal Judge Robert Shelby’s Dec. 20 ruling that Utah’s Amendment 3 ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional is a flawed interpretation of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment and another example of the federal government overreaching its authority and meddling in states’ rights.
It is a classic example of an Obama-appointed activist judge reinterpreting the Constitution to reflect liberal social thinking.
The judge’s ruling tramples on the idea that a state can and should adopt social laws that reflect their values and replaces them with the opinion of a liberal court. Amendment 3 was passed in 2004 by an overwhelming majority of Utah voters and still represents the opinion of the majority of Utah’s citizens.
Further, this ruling is just another example of the current administration’s activist agenda and disdain for the law and the Constitution.
President Obama seems very happy to rule by decree, or "executive order," and suspend or overrule any law that he finds inconvenient. In January 2012, the president suspended all deportations even though the individuals had been through the full legal process and a judge, under the law, had ordered them to be deported. In November, because of the serious computer problems implementing the Affordable Care Act, the president started to arbitrarily change the dates and requirements written into the law that he advocated.
This fall, the federal government said that it would no longer enforce the federal laws against marijuana use and possession in Colorado and Washington State. How long will it be before somebody claims that Utah’s current law is unfair and violates their ‘equal protection under the law" and ask that Utah’s laws against marijuana use be overturned because they treat Utah’s people differently than those in Colorado and Washington? The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land and it needs to be applied consistently.
The Constitution was carefully constructed to balance the powers of the states and the federal government, but court decisions over the past 50 years have steadily eroded the power of the states and made the federal government all-powerful in deciding everything from farming regulations (interstate commerce) to mandating that everyone buy health insurance (power of the government to tax).
Amendment 10 of the Bill of Rights clearly states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Despite the 10th Amendment, the courts have repeatedly ignored the interests of the States and injected new social issues into the Constitution that were never included — or even considered — by the original framers of the document.
Utah must fight this latest incursion into its authority and stand up for the values of the majority of Utahns who voted to pass Amendment 3. Utah’s constitutional Amendment 3 makes sense, and it should stay as a reflection of the values of its people.
Bob Fuehr is a retired telecommunications executive, former director of the Utah Division of Economic Development and a candidate for the Republican 4th Congressional District nomination.
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