Ohio Supreme Court Logic Means Judges Would Have Had to Return Runaway Slaves


“What harm will come to you if same-sex marriage is made legal? No third parties will be forced to support same-sex marriage in any way.” How many times did we hear this assured claim in defense of same-sex marriage?

Like so many things liberals say to get laws passed, this was one of the biggest lies ever told, and we all knew it. We were also told that states should get to decide on the marriage issue, and when states did decide, the courts overruled them.

Now we’re learning that if a judge in Ohio disagrees with the claim that same-sex marriage is a marriage and refuses to marry a same-sex couple, then that judge will be accused of “bias or prejudice”:

“Citing the judicial oath of office to ‘support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Ohio,’ the opinion states, ‘A judge who is willing to perform marriages of only opposite-sex couples because of his or her personal, moral, or religious beliefs may be viewed as possessing a bias or prejudice against a specific class or group of people based on sexual orientation.’”

What does the Ohio Constitution say on the issue? Section 15.11 makes it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriages or civil unions. It was approved as a constitutional amendment in 2004 under the name of “Issue One.” It received support from 61.7% of voters. Five unelected judges overruled thousands of years of history on the matter, the God-ordained marital relationship, and the votes of millions of United States citizens, not just in Ohio, but in 30 other states.

The text of the Ohio constitutional anti-same-sex marriage states:

“Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this state and its political subdivisions. This state and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.”

Since there is nothing in the Federal Constitution on the issue of marriage, the Ninth Amendment applies. There is no “enumeration” of the right of same-sex marriage in the Constitution, thus, the Ohio constitution on the subject remains in force.1

The board went on to argue:

“Public confidence in the independence of the judiciary is undermined when a judge allows his or her beliefs concerning the societal or religious acceptance or validity of same-sex marriage to affect the performance of a judicial function or duty.”

But it’s OK for this board of judges and five Supreme Court judges to impose their personal beliefs on more than 300 million Americans? These judges are not gods.

There was a time when slavery was legal, and the Supreme Court backed the legal argument for slavery. Would it have been wrong if a judge in a non-slave state did not hold up the decision in the Dred Scott case? Did all courts return runaway slaves?

“The . . . Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was a Federal law which was written with the intent to enforce Article 4, Section 2 of the United States Constitution which required the return of runaway slaves. It sought to force the authorities in free states to return fugitive slaves to their masters.

fugitive slave act

“Many Northern states wanted to circumvent the Fugitive Slave Act. Some jurisdictions passed ‘personal liberty laws,’ mandating a jury trial before alleged fugitive slaves could be moved; others forbade the use of local jails or the assistance of state officials in the arrest or return of alleged fugitive slaves. In some cases, juries refused to convict individuals who had been indicted under the Federal law.

******

“The Fugitive Slave Law brought the issue home to anti-slavery citizens in the North, as it made them and their institutions responsible for enforcing slavery. Moderate abolitionists were faced with the immediate choice of defying what they believed to be an unjust law, or breaking with their own consciences and beliefs.”

There is a legitimate time when states, under the protective cover of their own constitutions, refuse to comply with a poorly reasoned decision from the Supreme Court, especially when there is not a single word in the Constitution about the right of people of the same sex to be married.

  1. Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” []
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