EDITORIAL: Obama ignores Constitution by recognizing same-sex marriages in Utah

President on track to be most polarizing in history

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Barack Obama doesn’t always win. Sometimes he has to settle for a tie, which Bear Bryant famously likened to “kissing your sister.”

A Gallup poll last year found that in his fourth year he had tied George W. Bush as the most polarizing president ever.

Democrats gave Mr. Obama a job approval of 86 percent against just 10 percent for Republicans. That tied the mark set by President Bush who, at the end of his first term, held 91 percent Republican support and 15 percent among Democrats.

Mr. Obama and his administration seem to be trying to edge Mr. Bush. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., with Mr. Obama’s support, has thumbed his nose at Utah over same-sex marriage, further opening the wound dividing the nation.

Demonstrating his disdain for the 10th Amendment and the rule of law, Mr. Holder said Friday the federal government would recognize the marriages of homosexual couples who wed during the two-week period such unions were made legal in Utah by a federal judge.

The Supreme Court stayed that ruling on Jan. 6, but Mr. Holder insisted on “confirming” for the purposes of U.S. law that a thousand of those marriages “will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits.”

The attorney general did so even after Utah state officials said that the issuance of additional marriage licenses and state recognition of the marriages performed were on hold while the original federal ruling is appealed.

Mr. Holder conceded that the high court stay “cast doubt” on the validity of the nuptials if an amendment to the state constitution, adopted by statewide vote, stands. Unless the Supreme Court renders the 10th Amendment a dead letter, it will have no choice but to rule in Utah’s favor.

“This is another example of the Obama administration’s disrespect for the rule of law,” says Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican. “States must be permitted not to recognize same-sex marriage, if they so choose, without being trampled on by federal courts and the Obama administration.”

To that end, Rep. Randy Weber, Texas Republican, has introduced the State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 “to help restore the 10th Amendment” and “affirm the authority of states to define and regulate marriage.” This shouldn’t be necessary, but in the Obama era, alas, it is.

Only yesterday Mr. Obama lifted hearts and raised hopes, declaring at the Democratic National Convention in 2004 that “there are no red states or blue states, just the United States.” He clearly didn’t mean a word of it.

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