Liberty Counsel Defends Michigan Marriage Amendment

May 15, 2014

Cincinnati, OH – Late yesterday, Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief at the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati defending the Michigan Marriage Protection Amendment (MMPA) on behalf of the American Family Association of Michigan, which was one of the coauthors of the amendment.

In 2004 voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment to the Michigan Constitution: “To secure and preserve the benefits of marriage for our society and for future generations of children, the union of one man and one woman in marriage shall be the only agreement recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose.” On March 21, 2014, the district court found that the MMPA was unconstitutional because it violated equal protection, and the case is on appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“Michigan voters were exercising a fundamental right when they amended the Constitution, and that right should not be diminished by a court repealing the amendment,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The U.S. Supreme Court just upheld the right of Michigan voters to amend their Constitution to end affirmative action, and we argue that the Court’s decision applies equally to this amendment.”

“The MMPA, like similar amendments and statutes throughout the country, memorializes, but does not create, the definition. Marriage is defined by its nature and predates government, which is limited to regulating marriage in accordance with its natural, historical definition,” Liberty Counsel told the court in its amicus brief.

The Supreme Court has upheld marriage as a foundational social institution that is necessarily defined as the union of one man and one woman:

  • Marriage is “fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.” Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942).
  • “An institution in the maintenance of which in its purity the public is deeply interested, for it is the foundation of the family and of society, without which there would be neither civilization nor progress.” Maynard v. Hill, 125 U. S. 190 (1888).

“Marriage is not merely a creation of any one civilization or its statutes, but is an institution older than the Constitution and, indeed, older than any laws of any nation. Marriage is a natural bond that society or religion can only ‘solemnize,’” Staver concluded.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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