Nullifying Unconstitutional Federal Overreach on Marriage
by Iowa State Representative Brad Sherman
In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in what I believe was a politically motivated abuse of power. In response, with the help of the American Renewal Project and other faith based organizations, conservatives and Christians mobilized against the judicial activism and three Supreme Court Judges were removed by falling short in a retention vote in the general election. But we still have same-sex marriage and we are dealing with a trickle down effect that is showing up in education and other parts of the culture in ways that cannot be mentioned.
In December of 2022, the United States Congress passed the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act” (RFMA) a bill that actually dis-respected marriage by equating same-sex marriage with the biblical standard of marriage and demanded that all states must recognize all marriages from other States. This is an abuse to the Constitution and I am bound by oath to defend it against the domestic enemies that are attacking it. A brief explanation follows…
Why Marriage Must Be Protected
Marriage is not a sexual preference. Marriage is a sacred and holy religious sacrament with deep historical roots. This sacred and holy institution was established in the beginning as a relationship between a male and a female and is a living analogy of Christ and the Church (see Eph 5:30-32). Because of this, marriage is inextricably bound to the free exercise of religion which is an unalienable right granted by the Creator. Therefore, an attack on the institution of marriage by redefining it to include same-sex relationships, is a direct attack on the body of Christ. Such attacks cannot be allowed to stand.
Three Reasons RFMA is Unconstitutional?
- For the reasons mentioned above, marriage is inextricably bound to the free practice of religion, any attempt by the federal government to usurp or define marriage is a violation of the first amendment, which says Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion. Federal government should simply have no opinion on this issue.
- For Congress to attempt to define marriage falls outside the enumerated powers of Article I, Sec. 8 of the U.S. Constitution. It is plain overreach.
- RFMA violates the tenth amendment to the Constitution by encroaching upon powers that belong to the states or the people.
I Need Your Help
I have filed a bill in the Iowa Legislature that declares the relevant elements of RFMA null and void and provides protections from legal action for Iowa Citizens. The next step is to call attention to this bill so that it moves forward and doesn’t die for lack of a committee.
- Get informed on this issue.
- Pray informed and specific prayers for this bill to move forward and for God’s favor to be upon it.
- Spread The Word. Churches, newsletters, editorials, social media, clubs.
- Call your legislator and ask them to support and move forward with…
- HF508: Sherman’s Religious Liberty and State Sovereignty bill
- HJR8: Sherman’s Marriage Amendment bill
Questions & Answers
Is this Bill Relevant to the Present Culture?
The attempt to normalize same-sex marriage and the progress of such efforts has opened the door to the sexual discussions that used to cause normal people to blush. Now we are seeing obscene materials in grade schools that are simply unspeakable! Where will it stop? The answer is it won’t stop unless we take a stand and stop being afraid to address it.
Is it Too Late to Address This?
It is never too late to address this. However, the longer we wait, the more difficult it gets to do so. This issue cannot be separated from the fact that our culture has drifted away from God and His laws. Therefore, if we humble ourselves and pray, seek God’s favor, and turn from every wicked way, He will hear, forgive, and bring healing to our land. Nothing is too difficult for Him.
What about the Supreme Court Decision on this Issue?
In 2015 there was a U.S. Supreme Court case called Obergefell v. Hodges in which the court offered a 5-4 decision claiming the fourteenth amendment required states to accept same-sex marriages. The four dissenting members wrote opinions suggesting that the court had usurped the a power that belongs to the people. Justice Scalia called the decision a “threat to American Democracy” and said it was “constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine.” As you may know, the court has since changed and has overturned Roe v. Wade which stood for 50 years. Many see as a sign of more changes to come but nothing changes if we don’t challenge the status quo.
Will this Bill Solve the Problem?
The bill I have filed is just a start, but it can make a crack in the wall of status quo. This bill will not only address the definition of marriage, but it will introduce the concept of nullification and reestablish state sovereignty according to the Constitution.
What Is Nullification and Is it a Thing?
We should remember that it was the states who formed the federal government (and the federal Constitution) not the other way around. So who has the right to determine if and when the federal government has overstepped its constitutional limits? Thomas Jefferson clearly believed it was the right of the states to judge if their own sovereignty was being violated and spoke to this very issue:
“…the several states who formed that instrument [the Constitution], being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.”
“Without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgement for them.”
Someone will undoubtedly cite the supremacy clause in Article VI of the Constitution and claim that federal government has authority to overrule the states. But the supremacy clause refers only to laws that are pursuant to the Constitution. Hamilton spoke to this issue:
“… acts of the [Federal Government] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers … [are] merely acts of usurpation and will deserve to be treated as such.”
The so-called Respect for Marriage Act, is a usurpation of state sovereignty and James Madison and Alexander Hamilton told us what to do about it:
“schemes of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State governments, who will be supported by the people.”
“the state governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger.”
“If the [cooperation] of the State legislatures be necessary to give effect to a measure of the Union, they have only not to act, or to act evasively, and the measure is defeated.”