US District Judge strikes down WI constitution’s marriage amendment. Bp. Morlino responds.

Legislatures don’t make the laws in these USA anymore. Judges nobody elected have taken over.  They do whatever the hell they want in this new kritarchy.

A case in point. A US District Court, Judge Barbara Crabb, struck down as unconstitutional Article XIII, Section 13 of Wisconsin’s state constitution, which reads: “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state.”  The people of Wisconsin voted in a referendum to amend the constitution with that article in November 2006.

The Attorney General of Wisconsin, J.B. Van Hollen, says that the law remains in force and will appeal. Meanwhile some county clerks are issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The situation is dreadful and disappointing.

Here is the public response from His Excellency Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison (aka The Extraordinary Ordinary). HERE

Statement from Bishop Robert C. Morlino, regarding a federal judge’s ruling on marriage /Article XIII, Section 13 of Wisconsin’s Constitution:

First, it bears repeating that, we must respect, love, and care for every individual we encounter, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or how they define themselves. This will never change. It is at the core of who we are as members of Christ’s Church. Christ, Himself, invites each individual to know and love Him and live a life in response to His love. His love and mercy can heal all divisions that separate us; however, we must acknowledge the divisions that exist — notably those we choose through our actions. All are invited to this love and these graces offered by Christ, through His Church. This applies to all who sincerely seek the Truth.

Marriage is, and can only ever be, a unique relationship solely between one man and one woman, regardless of the decision of a judge or any vote. This is not based on any private sectarian viewpoint, but on the natural moral law that is universally binding on all peoples, at all times, and inscribed into our human nature, as man and woman from the beginning of creation. It behooves us to safeguard the sacred ecology of all nature, especially of our human nature.

In striking down the constitutional amendment in our state which protects marriage, the court has, once again, shaken one of the most precious and essential building blocks of our civilization. There can be no question that the best formation for children is in the home of their biological mother and father, generally speaking, and we should always have a greater concern for future generations than we do for ourselves.

Marriage, between one man and one women with openness to children, is an element of the veryfirst “domino” of civilization. The very nature of marriage naturally generates life. When that first “domino” falls, everything that is good, true, and beautiful, which is rooted on the natural family, is seriously threatened. If the “domino” of true marriage falls, then fall all subsequent “dominos.” This is demonstrated, too often, in a culture that increasingly chooses death over life.

And so, I cannot find myself otherwise than deeply saddened. We trust that every avenue of just recourse will be examined and pursued by competent authorities, including the state attorney general. The Diocese of Madison will participate in the way that seems most prudent. For my own part, I will continue to speak strongly about the truth and beauty of marriage and encourage my brother priests and deacons, and all the lay faithful, to do the same.

Let our fervent prayers not be lacking in the days ahead.

Thus endeth the statement.

Yesterday was a very bad day for Wisconsin.

Sin is a fact we deal with in this vale of tears. There will always be sinners.

We, however, must defend truth and the Church’s doctrine.


I received this email:

Father Z,

There is a website for rating and calling for the removal of judges from the bench. Here is the page for Barbara Crabb:  HERE


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Sin That Cries To Heaven, The Coming Storm, The Drill, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. Bryan says:

    I am somewhat confused here – A constitutional amendment, ratified, and the law of the state by the will of the voters, declared unconstitutional? How can something ratified and a part of a constitution be unconstitutional? Must be the US Constitution they are talking about, not the WI State Constitution. But wait, isn’t the regulation of marriage a state, not a federal, issue and thereby fall under the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution? So how can that be federally unconstitutional? So they are talking about the WI State Constitution after all. Once something is ratified into the constitution, it can not be unconstitutional…it would be like saying the 1st or 2nd Amendment is unconstitutional. Wouldn’t Article XIII, Section 13 need to be repealed versus declared unconstitutional by a judge to strike it down? It all seems like legal trickery, and judicial activism to me.

  2. acardnal says:

    Thank you Fr. Z and Bp. Morlino for speaking out courageously in the face of constant attacks to the truth of the Gospel! May God’s blessing be upon both of you.

    I found it interesting that this ruling was issued on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I say, “Onward Christian soldiers! Onward into battle Church Militant!”

  3. Mike says:

    If this caprice does not warrant the impeachment and removal of Barbara Crabb from her office, it is hard to imagine that genuine constitutional law holds any force whatever anywhere in these United States. May God have mercy on our souls and on our nation.

  4. Vecchio di Londra says:

    And yet in its misfortune Wisconsin is fortunate to have a Bishop such as Bp Morlino, who speaks out with such courage, powerful eloquence and directness. We need many more like him.

  5. bgfarmgirl says:

    Very sad and disturbing. I have lived in Wisconsin all my life. My mother passed away when I was seven and I am grateful to God my father met and married my stepmothera few years later. I cannot imagine the pain of future generations growing up without both a father and a mother.
    God have mercy on us!

  6. Rachel K says:

    True, Father, we do live with sin every day of our lives, but it is not often that sin is legislated for.
    I am surprised a judge has such power in a US state; in fact, does she? Here in the UK, a judge could decide in a particular case, but though “case law” could be used in other similar cases, I think a parliamentary process is needed her to actually change the law. Perhaps someone will correct me if I am mistaken about that.
    What has happened in Wisconsin seems to demonstrate an undemocratic power.

  7. Priam1184 says:

    I have recently begun to feel great pity for those involved in furthering the same sex ‘marriage’ agenda and for those as well who are supporting the rest of the cultural and human (abortion) genocide going on in our world. It all seems insane but they really do seem to believe that they are building some brave new world that will correct all of the injustices of the past. But in truth they have fallen in with a liar and a murderer who will pull the rug out from under them as soon as he no longer has a use for them. It is hard on days like these but we really do need to be praying for these people since our Lord gave up his life for them as well. The great prayer of St. Francis Xavier (Aeterne rerum omnium…) is really the prayer of our times I think.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    Fr Z we need priest leadership on this kind of issue locally, the list of priests with any interest in being public about things like this is short.

  9. rcg says:

    Why is homosexual marriage pushed in front these days? Why not polygamy which is much more common in other countries and defendable without so many contortions?

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    I feel more sorry for the innocent children who will now be indoctrinated into the terrible lie, that same-sex marriage relationships are equivalent to relationships between a man and a woman. Too many people are weak, inattentive, or ignorant. This is going to have a devastating effect on our culture, already very sick. Thank you to Bishop Morlino. It can’t be easy to be him. Our Bishop would never say such a thing. Never.
    As soon as Obama was in office he said he would not enforce the federal Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, and, he didn’t. He just decided not to enforce a federal law. The president does not actually have to follow law in the USA. He is above the law, clearly, as he has proven again and again. I don’t know what the recourse is for states, but we should remove activist judges if we can. This is why our state has same-sex marriage, a judge, who was actually just filling in for another judge, enacted it by himself. Clearly these people have made a deal with the devil and were put in their jobs to do just this. They know better than the rest of us. “By any means necessary” is their mantra. Tyranny has taken over these United States, from the top down. It’s like a nightmare from which we can’t wake up. Our political leaders act like they are stuck in quicksand. We apparently can’t look to them to help us. I am so tired of hearing weak protests and vague responses I have stopped listening. I hope these duds get voted out in November.
    June 19th there is a protest of sorts, a march, going on in Washington, for traditional marriage. I haven’t heard too much about it, but NOM, the National Organization for Marriage is promoting the march and asking people to attend and march.

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    reg, they are getting around to that, and other interesting arrangements will follow. Why stop anywhere? The only rule is there are no rules.

  12. Mario Bird says:

    Dear Fr. Bryan,

    Thanks for your lucid comment.

    I am a Catholic lawyer. I have taken an oath to uphold the US and State constitutions, and also to show any properly instituted tribunal due deference and respect. This is how I support my family, and how I contribute to the order of the commonwealth. I do not take these responsibilities lightly. But, as a Catholic, it is my duty to reckon the customs of the courts with a critical eye, in the light of the Gospel.

    And so, I am often frustrated when fellow Catholics presume that the federal Supreme Court has unlimited power to pronounce what is and is not constitutional. It does not. This premise is miles away from common sense, and even further from what caused our Fathers to ratify the Constitution in 1788 – 90. Even the Federalists, the pro-central government party of the era, recognized this:

    “[T]here is not a syllable in the plan under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution. . . . [Judicial encroachments cannot] affect the order of the political system. This may be inferred with certainty from the general nature of the judicial power, from the objects to which it relates, from the manner in which it is exercised, from its comparative weakness, and from its total incapacity to support its usurpations by force.”–The Federalist , 81

    So what did Hamilton envision as the check–and a heavy, invincible check–on a “judge0cracy”?

    “There never can be danger that the judges, by a series of deliberate usurpations of the authority of the legislature, would hazard the united resentment of the body intrusted with it, while this body was possessed of the means of punishing their presumption by degrading them from their stations.”–The Federalist, 81

    It behooves us, as Americans and Catholics, to muster our lawmakers to their duties in the face of an activist judiciary.

    Last, I appreciate your citation of the 10th Amendment. I am so glad that you, as a priest, see the practical virtue of this constitutional amendment. It is, in fact, a concrete examplar of the principle of subsidiarity that our Popes have hammered upon explicitly, at least since Quadragesimo Anno.

    When you, and your brother priests, defend traditional marriage in your work, I hope that you will consider teaching the principle of subsidiarity with it side-by-side. As you know, our Popes have intended the social doctrine of the Church to be a seamless garment, and not a patchwork mess of fusty anachronisms.

  13. acardnal says:

    Legalization of pedophilia is next folks!

  14. acardnal says:

    I am still awaiting a press release from the Metropolitan Archbishop of Milwaukee on this situation…..

  15. Exactly what happened in Pennsylvania. Tom Corbett-our governor-is a Catholic. I was a little shocked to find this out. Had no idea until i called the Gov office to question why they didn’t appeal the judges decision.According to what his rep told me they sat down with their attorneys and felt after a great deal of money would be spent and effort made the next liberal judge would uphold the previous judges decision.So the same sex marriage ban in Pa didn’t hold up and they decided not to fight it because they would lose anyway. I’m not sure i’m buying that except for the fact that we are being ruled by judges now. Disgusted. Where do we go from here?

  16. lsclerkin says:

    A little en-couragement.

    Forward boldly!
    Serviam !

  17. Imrahil says:

    What the rev’d Fr Bryan said.

    In my dreams I’d see a politician say: the judge’s decision is incorrect and void. I hereby order any public official to ignore it.

  18. Imrahil says:

    Good thing is that the attorney-general as the apparent responsible state official has said little less than that. That’s the spirit! Onward!

  19. Kerry says:

    Mr. Bird, can the Attorney General of Wisconsin not simply tell the Fed. judge to “Go pound sand!”?
    I would.

  20. Scott W. says:

    Bp. Morlino responded exactly as a bishop should. Contrast that with Archbishop Dolan’s arguments against the HHS mandate. Now don’t get me wrong, we should all be grateful that Abp. Dolan led the charge, but he couched his defense in Americanism. To wit: it came across as, “We have these kooky sectarian beliefs about contraception, but we think the U.S. Constitution forces you to let us have these kooky beliefs!”

    Bp. Morlino by contrast offered 180-proof Truth with no chaser: “This is not based on any private sectarian viewpoint, but on the natural moral law that is universally binding on all peoples, at all times, and inscribed into our human nature, as man and woman from the beginning of creation.”

  21. Rachel K says:

    Boxerpaws1952. “except for the fact that we are being ruled by judges now”

    That got me thinking. I wondered about the period of time when the Israelites were ruled by judges so I looked it up and found this:

    “Loving Father,
    In the period of the Judges You gave Your Covenant people leaders to guide and protect the infant nation of Israel. When the Israelites were strong in their faith their leaders were also strong but as the time passed and the memories of the miracles of the Exodus experience and the conquest of Canaan dimmed the people began to grow lax in their covenant obligations and their leaders reflected their lack of faith and commitment. The lesson for us today is that our leaders also reflect our moral and spiritual values. Give us, O Lord, the spiritual and moral strength to elevate our nation in our choice of leadership, and sent Your Holy Spirit to guide us in this today’s lesson. We pray in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

    I suppose it is true, that we get the judges (and the politicians) from the body of the people and if generally the faith is weak, so are they. I also suppose we should ALL speak out, not just our bishops or good politicians.

    Isclerkin; I enjoyed the video clip, thankyou! Very rousing.

  22. Priam1184 says:

    @Kathleen10 It isn’t a matter of feeling ‘sorry’ for people. Pity is something entirely different. Our Lord endured the Cross and shed his blood for that judge and for all of the people who have backed this insane ideology just as much as he did for you or for me or for all of those innocent children. If we forget that salient point then our souls are just as much in peril as those of the gay lobby.

    And as for ‘democracy’ what we are seeing here is why, I believe, the Church was opposed to the democratic form of governance and thought it unwise at its beginning. It must in the end, no matter how many decades or centuries it takes, degenerate into mob rule and that is what we have here. An ideological mob rules the United States, and that was its destiny ever since pen was put to paper on the Declaration of Independence.

  23. robtbrown says:

    I think it’s obligatory to understand that the creation of the United States and its Constitution was not a purely conservative enterprise. There are certainly conservative aspects to both, but they exist to promote the Liberal Democracy. And so any American conservative has to realize that in some way he is an advocate of conserving liberalism individualism.

    Generally, the MO of liberals, including members of SCOTUS, is the 14th Amendment–Equal Protection under the law. And it is being used to justify homosexual unions. Invoking the intentions of the Founders or Framers, e.g., in the Federalist papers, is of little use and has proven to be ineffective.

    IMHO, the best argument is the Free Exercise clause, which prohibits governments from interfering with the free exercise of religion. How can it be said that public schools that promote the equality of Homosexual Unions with natural marriage (Johnny has two mothers) are not violating the free exercise of religion that is guaranteed in the First Amendment?

  24. Imrahil says:

    Dear Kathleen10,

    there are many reasons why same-sex marriage is bad, chiefly that it consists in what is literally a blasphemy against – not God, perhaps, I’m careful with that, but – marriage, and then also that it provides all grounds for harassment of those disagreeing, as seen with wedding-cake bakers, and a couple of other things.

    As for the specific fear that the terrible lie, that same-sex marriage relationships are equivalent to relationships between a man and a woman would devastate our children, I do not fear that any time soon.

    Entirely without setting-up a forced optimism, I think that nature is still obvious enough to be seen. The homosexuals themselves, when speaking of marriage, will do so with a winking eye. And according to our postmodern language confusion, they might say equal. But they do not mean equal. What they mean is “irreproachable”.

    That is where, in my view, the real problem comes in. The idea that homosexual acts are morally wrong* has indeed been driven out of society except among pious Christian circles, and even in them the natural grounds are not necessarily understood. (Which is no problem for us, we still have God’s commandment to stand on and need not understand, but it will come as problematic in mission, and also perhaps will make motivating ourselves to obey more hard.)

    [*Note: the well-known phrase “I reject morality” is also part of that post-modern language confusion. More than 90% of those saying so do believe in morality, and are indeed often fiercer moralists than us Christians. What they mean is that that they reject some specific rule which is associated with morality and good behavior, in any way, rightly or wrongly.]

    So, that is the real problem, in my view, though the damage has largely already been done. I also believe that much of a drive for same-sex-marriage is simply that it is one other blow against the Christians who would deny them their pleasure.

    An experiment: go into a two groups of progessive, gay-agenda-friendly people. Tell them casually: “Oh I heard there’s been a marriage: oh, not a real marriage of course, it’s the gay couple A and B…” Make sure that one group knows that you are a fervent Christian, and the other one doesn’t know that at all. I predict you’d receive a violent outcry in the first, but a couple of nods in the second.

    And hence… my opinion that, amidst all very justified fears, the specific idea that homosexualty were equal to normal sexuality is not really to be feared for the time being… only words to the effect, them yes, but that’s due to lack of clear thinking.

  25. KevinSymonds says:

    The judge also made a remark about polygamy being “traditional” marriage.

    I might be mistaken, but I think she confused polygamy for concubinage.

  26. robtbrown says:

    As for the specific fear that the terrible lie, that same-sex marriage relationships are equivalent to relationships between a man and a woman would devastate our children, I do not fear that any time soon.

    It’s already happening in US public schools.

  27. Priam1184 says:

    Anyone who thinks that the children of this generation’s view of marriage hasn’t already been ‘devastated’ by what men and women have done to it this last hundred years is either deluded or living in a bubble. Same sex ‘marriage’ is just the icing on that bitter cake.

    And as to Imrahil’s natural law question: our frequent attempts at natural law violation since the so called Enlightenment and the resulting Industrial Revolution will cease once the material wealth generated by those two things begins to die off. It is being materially rich that has made us so foolish. We think that we our responsible for our own wealth and therein feel justified in following whatever cockamamie courses our minds come up with.

  28. revueltos67 says:

    It must be nice to have a bishop who will stand up against this evil.

    When marriage was redefined by judicial fiat here in New Mexico the state’s bishops did nothing. Here is their response, quoted in full from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s Archived Press Releases.

    “13.12.19 Statement on Today’s New Mexico Supreme Court’s Ruling
    Regarding Same-Sex Marriage. The bishops of New Mexico recognize the New Mexico Supreme Court as the interpreter of the State Constitution. The Catholic Church respects and loves the gay and lesbian members of our community. We will continue to promote Catholic teaching of the Biblical definition of marriage to be that of one man and one woman.”

    A month after the court ruling the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper printed an article under the headline “Catholic bishops silent on same-sex marriage” that began:

    “New Mexico’s three Catholic bishops never said a discouraging word about same-sex marriage during a meeting Wednesday morning with state legislators.
    In fact, the bishops said nothing at all about the New Mexico Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last month that same-sex marriages were legal under the state constitution.
    Instead, the bishops spent much of the breakfast meeting advocating for a constitutional amendment that would increase funding for early childhood education.”

    Towards the end of the article the bishops’ spokesman Allan Sanchez summed things up.

    “As for same-sex marriage, Sanchez said the bishops had higher priorities.”

  29. Imrahil says:

    Dear robtbrown,

    It’s already happening in US public schools.

    What is happening? That they indoctrinate and intimidate children to parrotlike recite the gay-agenda creed and fear having an opinion termed homophobic like the Devil fears holy water (as the idiom around here goes).

    I did not intend to deny this is happening and going to happen, and it is a heavy burden. Of course. The accompanying thoroughgoing lecturing in modern language-confusion does not help either.

    Yet – what I tried to express: As for a real, a meant statement that homosexuality be equal to normality (with a a clear understanding of the definition of “equal” – no, it does not mean “okay”), that’s another thing and I’d doubt that one.

  30. The Obama-appointed first openly gay judge in Oregon, Michael McShane did the same thing to the voters there. He is Catholic and attended a lot of “catholic” education. Here is his astonishing bio from Wikipedia:

    Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McShane spent his childhood in a conservative Catholic family in Kennewick, Washington, where he attended high school. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in 1983 from Gonzaga University. Upon graduating, he joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, spending two years in Portland as a corrections counselor.

    He left the Jesuit Volunteer Corps to go to law school, enrolling at Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, from which he received his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, in 1988.

    Nomination to U.S. District Court
    On September 19, 2012, President Obama nominated McShane to serve as a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Oregon

    On January 3, 2013, he was renominated to the same office. His nomination was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 7, 2013, by voice vote.

    The Senate confirmed his nomination on May 20, 2013, by voice vote. He received his commission on May 30, 2013.

    McShane is openly gay, and he is the first openly gay federal judge in Oregon. His partner is Gregory Ford, and they have a son.

    McShane sits on the board of St. Andrew Nativity School, an inner city middle school for disadvantaged youth. In addition, he teaches at Lewis & Clark Law School.

    The ruling was responded to by Oregon Catholic Conference:

    The Oregon Catholic Conference is deeply grieved by Judge Michael McShane’s ruling to redefine marriage. It is a travesty of justice that marriage, as the foundation of society, received no defense in the U.S. District Court. Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, in an extreme dereliction of her sworn duty to uphold the law, refused to represent the interests and the people of Oregon. It is a sad day for democracy when one federally appointed judge can overturn, without any representation, the express will of the people of Oregon.

    Despite the judge’s ruling, authentic marriage remains what it has always and only been according to God’s design: the loving union between one man and one woman for the mutual benefit of the two who have become one flesh and any children born of their union. Redefining marriage confuses the true purpose and meaning of marriage. An act deliberately ensuring that more children will grow up motherless or fatherless is not an act of love. The Oregon Catholic Conference will continue to uphold the true meaning of marriage and advocate for genuine marriages and families in Oregon, and it urges all people of good will to continue to reject the flawed notion that a pairing of two people of the same gender constitutes a marriage.

    You can rate McSHAME at the Rate a Judge site in Fr. Z’s post.

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    The Fourteenth Amendment contains the infamous Equal Protection Clause:

    “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Note, however, that the law only provides equal protection of people, not ideas. Unfortunately, some judges do not seem to be able to make that distinction. Exactly what are the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, anyway? Are they privileged to hold to nonsense? Are they immune from Divine Directives? I think these judges had better think about what this law really means. If man A can hold proposition X and man B hold proposition not-X equally, under the law, then the law is not only inconsistent, violating the law of non-Contradiction, but, also indefensible. Simply put, there cannot be equal protection of exactly opposite truth claims. The judge does not get to establish truth in matters beyond his competence, as the definition of marriage, being a metaphysical state (as well as practical), certainly is. The tendency for some judges to misunderstand what the nature of law really is is behind at least some of this. Is there not even a nod to the Natural and the Divine Law in law schools, anymore? Can any lawyer out there clarify?

    The Chicken

  32. wmeyer says:


    IANAL, and I do not know whether ordinary citizens are privileged to hold to nonsense. It seems evident, though, that jurists, politicians and “journalists” enjoy that privilege.

    It seems to me that there is a fundamental problem with the 14th Amendment, insofar as it violates what the founders held true: that states might well hold different standards from one another. And of course, it seems also to violate the 10th Amendment.

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