By David Tulis
Whining about an oppressive federal government is good marketing for Republicans. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III tells Chattanooga party members that it is simply wrong for the U.S. supreme court to redefine marriage, and impose it upon Tennessee and other states that know otherwise.
In a talk Monday Mr. Slatery describes the power of the constitution to rebuff lawless laws and lawless opinions, to count them as naught and to ignore them.
The authorization to resist Washington fads and bads is in the 10th amendment in the federal charter that states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
On June 26 that third and least branch of the federal government issued a long-awaited opinion on marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges. Mr. Slatery and the Republican establishment threw up their hands and surrendered, declaring that gay marriage is the law of the land.
Law, according to the constitution, is written by the legislature and interpreted for guidance purposes by courts. An opnion is not a law, nor can it serve as a substitute for positive legislation written by the people’s representatives.
Obergefell has no claim on anyone in Tennessee who insists, based on his oath of office before God, to uphold the Tennessee constitution — or the Yankee one, for that matter.
Pious civics lesson
Before the Pachyderm club members in Chattanooga, Mr. Slatery describes the 10th amendment, then insists it has no power to save.
“That amendment has been eroded and eroded over the years,” he says. “We are at every level trying to assert the state’s authority in a number of situations. The same-sex marriage case was essentially that. *** Can somebody from another state — with a marriage licensed by that state. — come in and enforce their law — force us to recognize that?”
Mr. Slatery indicates that the state is incapable of defining the constitutional provisions, and must cede to a pro-U.S. government interpretation.
“Our position was this is a state issue. *** This should not be a federal issue.”
The authority of states to determine marriage remains today, despite Obergefell. The decision to defend marriage belongs to every individual who swears to uphold constitutional government, from Gov. Bill Haslam down to county clerks such as Bill Knowles, elected by voters in Chattanooga and Hamilton County.
If any one of these people say they are not bound by Obergefell, then can in good faith deny and reject its claims, basing their position not on an private subjective opinion about gay marriage, but on constitutional law, their oaths of office, and their fear of the perjury statute, one that forbids any declaration of statement of fact if one knows said claim or record to not be true.
Mr. Slatery, an attorney, may be right that high court opinions bind attorneys and judges. But legal reasonings are not ultimate.
At issue is a religious question of God’s creation, and a defense of gay marriage is a political decision at the very least, lawyers aside. Honorable and God-fearing officeholders should stand on higher grounds than mere opinion from Washington, D.C.
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Source: “State A.G. Says Federal Government Not Recognizing States’ Rights,” Wdef.com, Oct. 26, 2015. http://www.wdef.com/news/story/State-A-G-Says-Federal-Government-Not-Recognizing/RN1C3zkAhE6m0-S7AWkfRA.cspx