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August 23, 2014 12:00 pm
In Part 1 of a two-part series, NC Family president John Rustin talks with Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition, about the escalating legal battle over marriage, including four federal lawsuits that are challenging North Carolina’s marriage laws and a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a similar challenge to Virginia’s marriage laws.
This is family policy matter program is produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research and education organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family enough in the studio. Here's John Rushton, president of the North Carolina family policy Council and thank you for joining us this week. Profamily policy matters. It is our pleasure to have Tammy Fitzgerald with us on the show. Amy is Executive Director of the NC value. She formally served as chairwoman of the boat for marriage in C which was the official referendum committee that led the successful passage of North Carolina's marriage protection amendment in May 2012. Now Tammy is a close personal friend and colleague whom I have a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for and in fact I think it's safe to say that without Tammy's leadership on the marriage issue in North Carolina. We would not have the definition of marriage written into our state constitution today Tammy is with us to talk about the escalating legal threat to North Carolina's marriage laws, including the marriage amendment that was approved by 61% of North Carolinians in 2012 we will be talking about the four federal lawsuits challenging North Carolina's marriage laws as well as the recent decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit involving a similar challenge to Virginia's marriage laws and what that means for our state. Tammy welcomed the family policy matters. It's great to have you with us. Thank you, John.
It cannot be here and I have a great deal of admiration for you and your work. Well, thank you so much.
It really is a a pleasure and an honor to be able to work side-by-side in the we do that, probably more often than the hot so we greatly appreciate you all to me before we jump in and talk about the Fourth Circuit's ruling and why it matters to North Carolina to talk a little bit about the four federal lawsuits that have been filed in federal district courts in North Carolina that are challenging our marriage protection laws tell us about these lawsuits if you would, and who is behind them. What we have lost faith against our North Carolina marriage amendment, all of them are pending in federal court. The first line for Sherborn versus Matt without just a few months after the marriage amendment was passed in 2012 and initially it with the feet challenging the comp seasonality of our adoption laws on the basis that they don't allow what we call second parent adoptions and Edward doesn't allow a homosexual couple to adopt a naturally born children at that at the other partner and I felt challenged the adoption statute on that basis, but then a year later. Last summer the complaint was amended without any objection from Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper added claim against our marriage amendment and says the plaintiff in the case are six same-sex couples raising children together, and they claim to be injured because they cannot marry or adopt children as a couple and their asking that the marriage laws, the adoption laws and the North Carolina marriage amendment be stricken as unconstitutional. The second cases is called Gerber and Burgenland versus Cooper this is a case that was filed in the spring of this year by three same-sex couples who were quite" married in another state where it's legal, they're seeking to force the state of North Carolina to recognize their marriage is legal and in so doing they want to strike down the marriage amendment. They have also asked for a temporary injunction to Kenneth speed up the outcome of the case, claiming that one of the partners in each of the three couples suffers from a serious medical condition that would require expedited treatment that the lawsuit was filed in March of this year.
It's called McCrory and Clark versus North Carolina.
This is an interesting case because he may or may not recall that Drew Weisinger, the register of deeds in actual had actually accepted applications for same-sex marriage licenses last fall.
He did this in order to shadow his civil disobedience that he doesn't he didn't like the marriage amendment and so the first couple to file an application with Mr. Weisinger fourth and fifth marriage license actually filed this lawsuit against the state can invalidate the marriage amendment and allow them the right to marry. The case is a unique case is the only one of its kind in the country and it's called Gen. Sinnott of United Church of Christ versus paper. I now think your jaw up off the floor but it actually was filed by the United Church of Christ.
Three ministers in the United Church of Christ, a Lutheran pastor to Universalist Unitarian ministers. The openly lesbian pastor of the Baptist Church and six same-sex couples, and they are actually claiming if you can believe this. The hats are marriage laws violate their free exercise of religion and that they're seeking to have federal court strike down the state marriage laws in the marriage amendment that they can perform same-sex marriages in their churches and force the state to recognize them as legal. So there you have it for lawsuits against our marriage amendment. Tammy North Carolina is one of many states across the nation to face legal challenges to all marriage laws.
At last count, there are approximately 80 different cases that have been filed in 32 states seeking to overturn what we have known as marriage in our country and really for the extent of human history for thousands of years as the union of one man and one woman. Interestingly, most of these lawsuits were filed after the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in the winter case that struck down a portion of our federal Defense of marriage act while you believe in the context of all that's going on across the country. But North Carolina is such a major target in the national battle to redefine marriage without Don the ACLU hosted a national strategy for redefining marriage on their website and they call it out for freedom, and they are determined to either win marriage by state legislative beds or through the court and I've had more success in the courts right now. 19 states and the District of Columbia, recognize same-sex marriage is legal. However, 31 states still have either a statute or constitutional amendment defining marriage is the union of one man and one woman in North Carolina was the last state to pass a constitutional amendment and we did it by 61% such an overwhelming majority that it really made the, sexual activists around the country mad that we would pass an amendment just two years ago by such an overwhelming majority but more than that they strategy the ACLU has been the target circuit Court of Appeals in the federal court system where they believe they can win in the Fourth Circuit, the circuit that wherein is one of the circuits and said they believe that they will have success in the Fourth Circuit and one of the reasons is that because there are so many Obama appointees on the Fourth Circuit now and where the need to be a somewhat conservative court. It is now a very liberal court, and of course we saw that they were exactly right about that last week when they overturned the Virginia marriage amendment and and fulfilled the prophecy that the ACLU had about that circuit will usually due to on July 28 a split panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Virginia's marriage walls are in the case of Bostic B. Schaefer, tell us a little bit about the fourth circuit's decision in that case well at it with a three judge panel that decided the case and say you had to judges to who firmly believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized and that state marriage amendments are unconstitutional and then the third judge in the case.
Judge Niemeyer dissented in the case that in the in the majority opinion. In that case, Judge Floyd, who wrote the majority opinion and is a Republican from South Carolina. Quite interestingly enough, he was that the fundamental right to marry encompasses the right to same-sex marriage. The Fourth Circuit found that there is a fundamental right to marry and that it also includes same-sex marriage. He also said that the Supreme Court has demonstrated that the right to marry is an expansive liberty interest that may stretch to accommodate changing societal norms, which is really a scary statement when you come right down to it John because that could make that would be back in front of the Fourth Circuit in two years with the case that would try to expand this basic fundamental right to marry, to include a father that wants to marry his daughter. So it's a scary opinion and in the final concluding paragraph Judge Floyd said, we recognize that same-sex marriage makes some people deeply uncomfortable. However, inertia and apprehension are not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couple due process and equal protection of the laws selling order to reach this conclusion. Jon, I believe the court implicitly supplied its own new answer to the central question in the debate what is marriage will, in the case to Tammy I know that there was writings about whether or not limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman has a rational basis and I will encourage our listeners to go and if you do a Google search of Bostic B. Schaefer pull up the case and read the dissenting opinion by Judge Niemeyer, who clearly states many of the rational bases for limiting marriage to only the union of one man and one woman was a very strong dissenting opinion.
In that case and I think really made a strong case for the Defense of marriage, but unfortunately Judge Niemeyer was not among the majority in the split panel decision. He wasn't, and many did write a brilliant opinion on the other side that very much articulates the viewpoint that is about a believe that marriage had the definition and it can't be redefined. I mean he basically said the court had to reach the conclusion that marriage had no definition and then I had to give it their own definition to get where they went to with the majority, but one of the great quotes that he said in his dissent is that only the union of a man and a woman has the capacity to produce children and death to carry on the species well.I mean this kind of a no-brainer that most people already know that the majority opinion just thing to skip right over it and then he said, and more importantly, only 50 union create the biological family unit also gives rise to a traditionally stable political unit that recognizing that to strip apart the definition of a family. It creates them pretty big political problems and social problems that will all have to pay for with our tax money when we were very Fourth Circuit ruling was equally disturbing was almost immediately following the issuance of the Fourth Circuit's opinion, we began hearing from homosexual advocacy groups that this ruling essentially signals that none of North Carolina's marriage amendment and we also heard this from our own Atty. Gen. Roy Cooper, what immediate impact do you believe Tammy does the Fourth Circuit ruling have all North Carolina's marriage law. Well, I believe it will have a great impact on me and it certainly signals that if a case one of the four cases I mentioned were to go up on appeal to the Fourth Circuit that they certainly would rule as they have in the Virginia amendment and sat down North Carolina's amendment there opinion without broadly stated and far-reaching that I don't see how you could limit that holding to just Virginia's amendment.
However, none of these cases in North Carolina have even gotten past the first stage of the case and three of them have stay orders issued set of cases or state and nothing has happened. And as for month and the fourth one had just gotten started, and set out to to know argue that we should give up on North Carolina's amendment is premature and until there's a final ruling on Bostic it. It definitely is still in play as to whether Bostic is going to be controlling authority or not and we do understand that Bostic is going to be appealed to the US Supreme Court by the losing parties. Atty. Gen. Mark hearing in Virginia announced that he was going to file a notice of appeal with the US Supreme Court notified the immediate impact of the Fourth Circuit's ruling. There is none. Because the cases in North Carolina have not even gotten to the point of a judge making a ruling in the case and says for any register of deeds in our state to conclude that they could start issuing same-sex marriage licenses based on overturning Virginia's marriage laws that would be an inaccurate interpretation of the ruling and we would encourage all the registers of deeds to continue carrying out the laws of North Carolina.
Is there written right now will absolutely will Tammy were nearly out of for this week. Sure was if you would fermented work and I go to get more information about the values coalition. Thank you.
Dante can get in C values.org that empty values.org and we do have a Facebook page and Twitter page to slip for North Carolina values and onset.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be on the shadow and I really appreciate all the work that you do that North Carolina family policy Council is very essential to the IEP's that affect the families of our state and I thank you for your thank you Damien. It is a real pleasure and honors upset about. To be able to work side by side with you. Thanks again for being own family policy not thanking God's family.
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