Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Former Arizona sheriff blasts ruling that allows gay marriage in Utah

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Sun, Jan. 5 3:25 p.m. MST

 Jim Dabakis and his partner Stephen Justesen are married by Salt Lake City Mayor, Ralph Becker as hundreds turn out to obtain marriage licenses Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 in the Salt Lake County offices after a Federal judge ruled that Amendment 3, Utah's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Jim Dabakis and his partner Stephen Justesen are married by Salt Lake City Mayor, Ralph Becker as hundreds turn out to obtain marriage licenses Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 in the Salt Lake County offices after a Federal judge ruled that Amendment 3, Utah's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

HIGHLAND — A former Arizona sheriff who won a U.S. Supreme Court case over federal gun laws took aim Saturday at a judge's ruling last month that allows same-sex marriage in Utah.

Richard Mack said the U.S. Constitution was written to protect God-given, innate rights.

"You're never going to convince us that homosexual marriage is one of those innate, God-given rights. It's not," he said. "If you read the Bible, you will plainly and simply see that it's not."

His comments about gay marriage drew loud applause from about 200 people crammed into the Highland Community Center. They came during an hourlong speech focused on states' rights.

Mack, former sheriff in Graham County, Ariz., created the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association about three years ago to "take back America county by county, state by state."

Speaking of the gay community he said parents have rights and "we choose not to teach that to our children and we don't want you teaching it to them either. Don't shove your agenda in our faces or down our throats. We don't want any more of your gay appreciation parades."

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby's ruling last month that struck down Utah's voter-approved law defining marriage as between a man and a woman drew many people to Saturday's event. Some of them signed up to organize opposition to his decision that the state has appealed.

"There are a lot of people who are upset about this," said Cherilyn Eagar, a conservative political activist who is organizing the opposition. "It's really up to we the people at this point. Our governor is not with us on this. We have a state legislature that won't even call a special session. Our federal delegation has been silent about this."

Eagar said the governor and state lawmakers have the power to tell the federal government that Utah will not enforce Shelby's ruling.

Mack also set his sights on local and state elected officials who he said don't follow the Constitution. He said their job is to "keep the federal government impotent and off our backs and out of our lives."

"Was this judge who nullified marriage in Utah federal? Then somebody should erect some barriers against him," he told the crowd that included several state legislators and county and city officials.

In 1994, the National Rifle Association recruited Mack as a plaintiff in one of nine lawsuits against the Clinton administration over the 1993 Brady Law which required federal background checks on firearms purchasers. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled in Mack's favor, finding that federal agents may not force local law enforcement to require those background checks.

Mack now tours the country speaking about states' rights with theme that "the federal government is not our boss."

Joe Wolverton, who described himself as a "constitutional" attorney, threw out words like secession and treason while talking about states' rights and federalism in his remarks to the crowd.

The federal government does hundreds of things every day that are not in the "contract," so states have the right to rescind it, he said.

"We are absolutely within our right to secede from a political union that no longer answers to the demands of liberty and justice," he said.

Wolverton also went after elected officials who he says have betrayed the country.

"Have we elected traitors? Yes we have, absolutely. Both parties continue to grow the federal government and burden the states and the people."

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

1. bandersen
Saint George, UT,
Jan. 4, 2014

My owe my, some where in this favored land, the sun is shining bright, the band is playing some where and some where hearts are light...because the spark of liberty still thrives in a few hearts! The rest will need to read the Constitution and actually come to the knowledge of its impeccable wisdom in leaving the power of government into the hands of the people! don't wait too long Utah or liberty will be just a memory!

2. DanO
Mission Viejo, CA,
Jan. 4, 2014

It's people like this who will bring marriage equality nationwide. It's clear they have a strong animus towards LGBT people. One only needs to read Kennedy's ruling to see how he feels about that. Shelby's ruling will stand and this sheriff will go down in the history books with the likes of George Wallace. He only likes the parts of the Constitution that support his beliefs, but he seems to ignore the 5th and 14th.

3. Saguaro
Scottsdale, AZ,
Jan. 4, 2014

Graham County population: 38,000

Salt Lake County LGBT population: 50,000

Turnout to see the former sheriff: 200

Turnout seeking Utah same-sex marriage licenses: 2,000

4. atl134
Salt Lake City, UT,
Jan. 4, 2014

No the state does not have the power to tell the federal gov't it won't enforce the law. Nullification is in blatant violation of the Constitution but these neo-Confederates can't figure that out (the Confederates believed strongly in "states rights" and nullification, it's what they say the war was fought for).

5. Kings Court
Alpine, UT,
Jan. 4, 2014

I guess this Sheriff forgot about the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution. Like most religious people do with their scripture, politicians also seem to pick and choose from the Constitution.