Prof: Courts Taking More Power
Gazette-Times, February 22, 2005
By Theresa Hogue, Gazette-Times reporter
A lecture by a Brigham Young University law professor on
marriage and the Constitution was met with some angry responses, but with the
vocal support of most of the more than 200 audience members who attended his
lecture at Oregon State University on Tuesday night.
Richard G. Wilkins, managing director of the World Family
Policy Center at BYU, spoke about his concerns that the Supreme Court has
drawn away from its role of interpreting the written Constitution, toward
making decisions that should remain the domain of American voters.
“It’s a distressing but well established trend away
from democracy,” he said.
Wilkins cited several Supreme Court decisions in the past
four decades which extended the court’s power far beyond the vision of the
nation’s founders, including the 1967 Griswold v. Connecticut
decision that ruled the state was not allowed to forbid married couples to use
condoms on the grounds that the government was not supposed to interfere in a
sacred and private relationship such as marriage.
“The Constitution nowhere mentions the word term, or
the right, to privacy,” Wilkins said.
He said the Lawrence v. Texas
decision, which ruled that homosexual sodomy could not be criminalized, paved
the way for the Supreme Court to ultimately decide same sex marriage should be
legal as well, and he believes it’s a dangerous path.
“I fully support an amendment (to the Constitution)
that defines marriage in a clear response to Lawrence,” he said.
“That should wake (the Supreme Court) up.”
Wilkins said the definition of marriage is not two people
who love each other. He said the traditional definition of marriage is a man
and a woman who unite in a committed, lifetime relationship for the purpose of
“The ideal for any society is sexual complementary of a
long duration focused on the bearing and rearing of children,” he said,
pointing to research he said proves that any society that deviates from this
system is doomed to fall apart within three generations.
Wilkins’ comments elicited some angry responses from
members of the audience who objected to this definition, especially his
comments that children suffer if they’re not living with their biological
mother and father.
However, he defended his arguments and said he’d
support legislation that provided other legal protections for non-traditional
families, but none that would “undo the rules of marriage.”
“You don’t make society better by undoing established
structures,” he said.
The event was sponsored by the LDS Student Association
with support from OSU Convocations & Lectures.
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