Press release from the Office of Tennessee State Representative Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, July 21, 2015:
Yesterday, I issued the attached letter to Tennessee Attorney General Slatery, III, urging him and the Haslam Administration to file in Obergefell v. Hodges a Petition for Rehearing pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 44 before today’s deadline of July 21, 2015.
I encourage AG Slatery and Governor Haslam to execute their oath of office and uphold the Tennessee State Constitution which states: “The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited by this state by the provisions of this section, than the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.”
I encourage Governor Haslam to call a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly, just like he did earlier this year when he tried to expand Obamacare in Tennessee. A special session in which he can sit down with legislators in both the House and Senate, and work with us to come to a consensus on how we are to proceed in upholding our State Constitution. Our State Constitution is very clear, no judicial interpretation defining marriage as anything other than one man and one woman, will be recognized; it will be void and unenforceable. The Governor has no options or alternatives available to him; he must uphold his oath to our State Constitution and state law and enforce traditional marriage between one man and one woman only!
As for the unconstitutional actions by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), the four dissenting justices of the Supreme Court have stated that not only did the SCOTUS not have the authority to even hear the Obergefell v. Hodges case, but they possessed no power to issue an opinion as to the constitutionality of the law. Since the U.S. Constitution does not reference or provide guidance on the definition of marriage, then the 9th and 10th Amendments are to be followed. That is, any right not listed in the Constitution is to be decided and legislated by the states and the people thereof. However, the majority five justices decided to usurp the U.S. Constitution, overstepping their Constitutional power by hearing and issuing an opinion in the Obergefell v. Hodges case. Even in their opinion they failed to determine if Tennessee law, a marriage between one man and one woman, was constitutional or unconstitutional. Rather, they took it upon themselves to legislate from the bench and to rewrite the very law before them, redefining marriage and creating an entirely new and different law that allows anyone and anything to be married. The SCOTUS does not have such power! Only the legislative branch of the federal government or state governments can rewrite, add to, or change the meaning of a law. The SCOTUS can only determine if the law before them, as it is written, is constitutional or unconstitutional; nothing more! Any additional wording is strictly an “opinion” and is not enforceable!
It is important for all citizens of Tennessee to realize that there is no federal law that requires the State of Tennessee to issue marriage licenses to anyone other than one man and one woman. By upholding our state constitution as it pertains to marriage, we are not violating any federal law. We are only ignoring the “opinion” of five Supreme Court justices, two of which were required by federal statute to recuse themselves from the Obergefell v. Hodges case. By virtue of their violation of federal judicial ethics and their biased conduct of having performed same sex marriage ceremonies, the votes of Justices Ginsburg and Kagan should be nullified, and the final decision should be a 4-3 opinion in favor of upholding Tennessee law and marriage between one man and one woman.
Additionally, all Tennesseans should realize that the SCOTUS is not a “coequal” branch of government. Any opinion they issue does not become the “law of the land.” Only the Congress or state legislatures can create the “law of the land!” They are appointed by the President of the U.S. and confirmed by the Senate, and likewise they can be impeached and removed from office by Congress. The violation of federal statute by the two biased justices who were required to recuse themselves constitutes grounds for immediate impeachment and I urge all citizens to call their Congressmen and Senators and urge them to impeach and remove the five rogue justices.
Governor Haslam, as the chief executive of this state, has absolute authority and power, under the State Constitution and U.S. Constitution, to ignore this “opinion” from the SCOTUS. I call on Governor Haslam to ignore the opinion and to stop intimidating our publicly elected County Clerks with discrimination lawsuits should they decide to ignore the SCOTUS opinion and issue marriage licenses only to one man and one woman. Tennessee’s County Clerks took an oath to uphold our State Constitution and state law; they should not to be required or intimidated to forsake that oath, especially by the Governor and Attorney General of Tennessee! Any less action from Governor Haslam will further strengthen the resolve of those of us in the Tennessee legislature to pursue impeachment proceedings against him for his refusal to uphold his oath to our State Constitution and to the official marriage definition of this state!
Rep. Rick Womick
Tennessee’s 34th Legislative District