Mainstream and conservative lawyers are slamming Attorney General Eric Holder’s call for state law enforcement officers to ignore state constitutions’ marriage rules.
Holder’s claim is bizarre, preposterous, unprecedented, lawless and political, his critics say.
Holder claimed that the new idea of same-sex marriage is so obviously constitutional that state attorneys general should consider not defending amendments in state constitutions that define marriage traditionally.
Throughout the country, advocates for gay rights are suing state governments to redefine marriage as an amenity for adults, not as an evolved institution that binds parents to their kids.
“Engaging in that process and making that determination is something that’s appropriate for an attorney general to do,” Mr. Holder told the New York Times Monday.
“This administration is repeatedly ignoring the rule of law,” said a statement from Alan Wilson, the chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association. “We’re seeing the same thing happen with Obamacare as the Obama administration continues to pick and choose which parts of the law they will enforce and which they will delay without legislative action.”
“Our freedom depends on upholding the rule of law and obtaining the consent of the governed,” Wilson said.
Already, six Democratic attorneys general have refused to defend marriage rules that have been inserted into state constitutions by voters.
But Holder argues that same-sex marriage is so obviously unconstitutional that AGs should refuse the defend marriage laws unless they’re redefined to include gay couples.
His claim is part of a larger push to raise the social status of homosexuality, and to make it equally respected as baby-making heterosexuality. In a Feb. 4 speech in Sweden, for example, he declared that “the fundamental truth [is] that no matter where you live, who you love, or who you are … every human being is, and must be, free and equal in both dignity and [legal] rights,” he declared.
The Democrats’ refusal to defend state constitutional rules on marriage helps progressive advocacy groups sway progressive judges, some of whom are eager to redefine marriage.
Conservatives say Holder’s claim is also undermined by experience and data showing that marriages are best for kids and adults.
For example, a huge 2013 Canadian study of marriage and childrearing shows that the children of lesbian and gay couples are much less likely to graduate from high school as the children of married parents. The huge study looked at roughly 20 percent of Canadian population, allowing it to find good data on hundreds of gay and lesbian couples.
The study concluded that “children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others; and the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes.”
The lawyers, however, focused on Holder’s unprecedented claim that AGs don’t have to defend laws they don’t like.
“A state attorney general has a solemn duty to the state and its people to defend state laws and constitutional provisions against challenge under federal law,” said Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. “To refuse to do so because of personal policy preferences or political pressure erodes the rule of law on which all of our freedoms are founded.”