The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) praised a state judge in Tennessee who ruled last week that the Tennessee state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman does not violate the federal constitution. He is the first judge to uphold the constitutionality of a state marriage amendment since the US Supreme Court issued their 2013 opinion striking down a section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
"It is refreshing to find a judge who is willing to apply the federal constitution as it is and not reinterpret the constitution so as to redefine marriage," said Brian S. Brown, NOM's president. "Judge Russell Simmons is exactly correct when he says that there is nothing about the US Supreme Court's Windsor decision that would invalidate the right of Tennessee voters to define marriage as one man and one woman or require the state to recognize a same-sex ceremony performed in another state."
The Tennessee case involved two men who 'married' in Iowa four years ago and now wish to receive approval in Tennessee to get a legal divorce from one another. But Judge Simmons wrote in his ruling, "neither the Federal Government nor another state should be allowed to dictate to Tennessee what has traditionally been a state's responsibility."
A number of federal judges in recent months have misinterpreted the US Supreme Court's ruling in the Windsor case, which held that a section of DOMA was unconstitutional because it interfered with the right of New York to redefine marriage. The Court's majority held that regulating marriage has historically been a responsibility of the states and the federal government cannot substitute its judgment for that of the states.
"This important decision has largely been ignored in the media because it undercuts the narrative that same-sex marriage is inevitable. But it isn't," said Brown. "NOM is confident that when this issue reaches the US Supreme Court, likely within a few months, that the constitutionality of marriage amendments and statutes defining marriage as one man and one woman will be upheld."
The National Organization for Marriage
Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW
Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006