Traditional Marriage Wins a Round in Court

Good news turns up when and where it can. On Tuesday, a federal judge appointed by President Carter bucked the latest fashion among his colleagues, and upheld marriage as a contract between a man and a woman. Elsewhere in the country federal judges have leaped to impose homosexual marriage on the states by overturning laws, constitutional amendments and other policies endorsed by a vote of the people.

U.S. District Judge Juan M. Perez-Gimenez’s 21-page ruling in Puerto Rico is striking for its discipline, restraint and respect for the law, which is sorely lacking in the emotion-driven liberal judicial activism on the contentious issue. He agreed with Puerto Rico’s contention that “[b]ecause the federal Constitution is silent on the issue of marriage, Puerto Rico is free to formulate its own policy governing marriage.”

Activist judges have divined a “right” to homosexual marriage from “emanations and penumbras” from last year’s high court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (U.S. v. Windsor) and California’s Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry). Judge Perez-Gimenez disagreed, buttressing his decision with the Supreme Court precedent of Baker v. Nelson, in which the justices turned away a 1972 challenge to Minnesota’s traditional marriage law “for want of a substantial federal question.” Unlike 40 years ago, there’s now “a substantial federal question,” even if it’s one forced on everyone by federal judges. “This court is bound by decisions of the Supreme Court that are directly on point,” the judge wrote. “Only the Supreme Court may exercise ‘the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.’”