Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Testimony by Attorney Martha Adcock On Court Cases Using ERA As Basis For Gay Marriage

We understand ERA bill, HJR1002, will be brought up again tomorrow or on Friday. Please keep these excerpts from Attorney Martha Adcock's testimony to the House Committee, Feb 7, in mind. Her entire testimony can be found at this link:


"And lawyers know this that right now we have cases where states have used state ERA's to overturn marriage amendments – not a lot. But you do have the precedent, and you do have it in concurring opinions and in dissenting opinions, which is exactly how these momentums build and then judges when they are wanting to overturn a precedent, that is what they use – where was this argued before. And if you will go back and look, it has been argued.

"It was argued in the concurring opinions in the Massachusetts decision, Goodrich. It was argued in Maryland. In Maryland, it didn't stand, but it was used; and I still haven't heard anybody specifically talking about a case that I find to be extremely troubling and that involves Maryland and the case is on appeal right now. But you have a judge who specifically said here are multiple reasons why maybe you could use that the plaintiffs argued could overturn the state marriage clause. They argued equal protection, they argued ERA; they argued several. And the Court said I am coming down boldly and 100% on ERA, and they threw out the state marriage law. Now again, that is on appeal, but that is a very dangerous precedent.

"Now in Hawaii – that question that was specifically asked about Hawaii. Do they have a ban on same sex marriage? Absolutely they do. Hawaii was one of the very first states to pass a marriage amendment. Why? Because a trump court using the state ERA said the state laws against marriage, they invalidated them. Now was ERA the only basis that was used. It was not the only basis, but it was one of the basis that was used for overturning marriage laws that said one man, one woman. Hawaii said, this is not what we want. So even before same sex marriage became a national debate, Hawaii went on to pass an amendment to their constitution that says marriage is between one man and one woman, and they felt compelled to do so because of what the courts had done. So today is there same sex marriage in Hawaii, No. But the two can co-exist because they are both in the constitution. We do not have a federal constitution amendment against same sex marriage, and that is part of what concerns me."

Her entire testimony can be found at this link:


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