The People Have Spoken
Guest commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.
One of the most historic elections in our nation’s history just took place. More people of more ethnic persuasions participated in this unprecedented election. But this election also showed many Americans just how divided we are on certain social issues. And at the top of that list is the issue of same-sex marriage. Three important ballot measures were held which would, if passed, solidify the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman in the state constitutions of Arizona, Florida, and California. So all eyes watched and all ears listened as the people of these states let their voice be heard. And when it was all said and done the people, not the courts, have decided that traditional marriage is still a highly honored, sacred union.
- Florida – Over 60% voted to amend their state constitution.
- Arizona – 57% voted after barely rejecting a marriage amendment in 2006.
- California – 52% voted to change the earlier ruling of an activist court and return the power to the people.
How important is this victory in the eyes of traditional marriage proponents? It is a victory that will resound across the nation for years to come, perhaps even exciting other states to take similar measures. But most importantly it sends a message to activist judges and courts that the American people will not be bullied into accepting those things which we decidedly reject. In his article for beliefnet, Rod Dreher summarizes the impact of these votes:
This is important as a matter of law because it binds the State Supreme Court, which doesn’t have the authority to declare the constitution itself unconstitutional…But by appealing to the courts to impose something as radical as same-sex marriage, something that has never in the history of human society existed, they invited this backlash. Now, traditional marriage has been constitutionalized, and same-sex couples are worse off than before, because the only way they can get marriage now is by amending the state constitution. It was a foolish strategy…
Dreher goes on to say that the most important result of these ballot initiatives is the result which “shows the strategic risk of trying to carry out a social revolution via the courts, without consulting the people.”
Indeed I hope this is a clear message to every court across this land that America is still a land of the people, and for the people. Politicians are elected, by the people, for the people, and it is the will of the people that ought to be the determining factor on issues social, religious, economic, and otherwise, not a few judges and big-mouthed politicians who like to think they own us all.
And I sincerely hope that San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom will read this and wake up. Mr. Newsom arrogantly declared that same-sex marriage was going to happen whether anyone liked it or not. Obviously a majority of Californians did not like the idea of same-sex marriage, and did not like the arrogance of politicians and judges who believe they can do what they want without accountability.
This sentiment was echoed in Florida by Liberty Counsel’s Matt Staver, “This is a victory for children and for the future of Florida. Amendment 2 will prevent activist judges from redefining marriage by the stroke of a pen.”
What is fascinating about the passing of Amendment 2 in Florida is that many who voted for Sen. Obama, a man who supports the redefining of the family, voted to support traditional marriage. Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins commented on the FRC website today, “In Florida, where conservatives faced the steepest climb, voters surpassed the 60% majority they needed, crossing every racial, age, party, and religious line in the process… many of them drawn to the polls by a man who supports a redefinition of the family, raised their flags high in support of traditional marriage.” Let’s hope President-Elect Obama is paying attention to facts like these as he sets out to begin his Presidency.
Here is how we can summarize the events of the last few days:
- The courts and judges of the United States are servants of the people, for the people. They are not to usurp the will of the people and make legislation from their benches without the consent of the people.
- The union of one man and one woman in marriage is a time-honored tradition that the majority of Americans still believe in. And just because a few liberal judges and activist politicians seek to make a name for themselves or cater to lobbyists, it is still the will of the people that rules in this land.
- Now is the time for the 20 states that do not have state constitutional amendments protecting marriage between one man and one woman to follow the examples of Florida, Arizona, and California by urging their state government to do so. (This includes my home state of West Virginia).
- Now is the time for people of all ages, nationalities, religious persuasion, and party affiliations to unite and take a stand for the values of life, marriage, and family that once made this country great.
Let us join together in prayer for our new President. He will step into a country divided over many issues, and yet united over many issues. Let us pray for wisdom for him as he seeks to lead us into an uncertain future. And remember, “The King’s heart is in the hand of the Lord.” (Prov. 21:1)
Nathan A. Cherry holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary. Nathan provides leadership in discipleship, culturally relevant teaching, and outreach as Associate of Ministry at Central Chapel in Hedgesville, West Virginia.