2 courts hearing arguments Wed. in Mass. marriage case
Posted on May 11, 2004 | by Michael Foust
BOSTON (BP)--Two cases will be heard Wednesday in what may be the final hurdle toward legalized same-sex “marriage” in Massachusetts.
Federal District Judge Joseph Tauro has agreed to hear a case brought by four pro-family groups seeking to prevent the state’s controversial same-sex “marriage” ruling from taking effect. The decision by the Massachusetts’ high court -- called the Supreme Judicial Court -- is scheduled to take effect Monday.
“We are pleased that the federal court will hear this case very quickly,” Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement. “The Supreme Judicial Court clearly overstepped its authority and usurped the power of the legislature to define marriage.”
The case is one of two that could impact the marriage ruling. One is in state court, the other in federal court:
-- The Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-family group, will argue Wednesday in state court that the ruling should be tossed out. ADF is representing Massachusetts businessman Thomas A. Shields and former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. Alliance Defense Fund lawyers assert that the Massachusetts constitution delegates authority over marriage laws to the governor and the legislature, not the judicial branch.
Lawyers will argue their case before a Massachusetts Superior Court judge. Superior Court is two steps below the Supreme Judicial Court.
Before deciding the case, the judge must agree to allow the groups to intervene.
-- Liberty Counsel and three other pro-family groups will argue before Judge Tauro in federal court that the Massachusetts court decision violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a republic form of government.
“The federal courts are obligated to step in to ensure that Massachusetts is following the basic principle of separation of powers that is vital to our system of law and government,” Staver said.
In addition to the Liberty Counsel, other groups involved are the Citizens for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights, the Thomas More Law Center and the American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy.
The federal lawsuit claims that the ruling violates the U.S. Constitution's Article 4, Section 4, which states: "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republic form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; an on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence."
Two additional attempts by pro-family groups have failed to have the ruling either tossed out or delayed.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage.