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Letter to the editor: 14th Amendment was never legally ratified

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 12:01 am

This is regarding the constitutionality of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and its impact on the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Some months ago the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Defense of Marriage Act. Their rationale for this action was that the Defense of Marriage Act violated Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Section 1 reads as follows: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and 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 any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

The purpose of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment is clear. It is to provide citizenship for the slaves held by the Southern states at the end of the Civil War.

There is no reference to marriage even though the U.S. Supreme Court used this amendment to justify repealing the Defense of Marriage Act.

There is, however, an even greater problem with the amendment itself: It was never legally ratified. The 14th Amendment was supposedly ratified on July 9, 1868; however, only 21 out of 37 states legally ratified this amendment. The Constitution requires that of the states must vote to ratify in order for this amendment to pass. It did not legally pass.

This revelation has been reported by constitutional lawyers and historians throughout the years, but it has heretofore gone unnoticed by the American people and most certainly ignored by the U.S. Supreme Court. This information also appeared in an article titled “There is No 14th Amendment,” written by David Lawrence for the U.S. News and World Report dated Sept. 27, 1957.

Since the Supreme Court repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, there has been a flurry of activity in the lower courts to repeal existing gay marriage laws in individual states. As with the Supreme Court actions, these lower courts are again citing the 14th Amendment for their justification. It is conceivable that should these courts continue their unconstitutional actions that nullification by the states may provide the only satisfactory remedy for these rulings.

“The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union, assembled by their deputies in convention, at the call of Congress or two-thirds of the States.” Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823

Arnold Linnemeier