Editorial: Spreading lawlessness underscores the need for gay-marriage ban

March 04, 2004

We are appalled by the growing number of public officials who have decided to break the laws of their states and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Even those who support gay marriage should be opposed to such lawlessness because it undermines the foundations of civility in our society and puts the lie to their claims that gay couples can act as responsible citizens.

In the last several weeks, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome has married more than 3,400 gay couples, and Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, N.Y., has married more than 25 couples and has a waiting list of 1,000. West says he plans to continue marrying gay couples, despite being charged Tuesday with 19 criminal counts for violating New York state laws.

On Wednesday, the lawlessness spread to Portland, Ore., where a county commissioner said she would begin issuing licenses for gay marriages.


These lawbreaking public officials ought to be ordered by the courts to stop immediately, and if they don't, they should be thrown in jail where they can do no more damage. They are undermining the rule of law in our society and the decency and order in which decisions should be made in our democracy.

The failure of the courts to stop the issuing of gay-marriage licenses only underscores the urgent need for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. It's unfortunate that such a provision should have to be added to the nation's foremost document, but the proponents of gay marriage, by defying the laws of the land, have forced the issue.

The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which makes every state have to accept "the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State," means that marriage licenses issued in San Francisco, New Paltz or Portland will have to be honored right here in Kentucky. That also means the U.S. Congress and the state legislatures cannot just sit back and watch the drama unfold. Gay marriage is, in fact, being legalized with every license issued without the people of the country as a whole having a chance to express their will on the issue.

Had the proponents of gay marriage shown some restraint, there was a good chance the issue could have been resolved without the need for altering the constitution. It seems to us that many of the concerns raised by gay rights supporters could have been addressed without legalizing gay marriage.

It appears now, as the lawlessness spreads, that the U.S. Constitution must be amended to send a clear message to judges and scofflaw public officials that gay marriage is illegal.

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