SESSIONS: Marriage is a state issue

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, June 30, 2015

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., spoke at the Kiwanis Club of Andalusia Monday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., spoke at the Kiwanis Club of Andalusia Monday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said Monday that the American public doesn’t need to underestimate the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to lift the ban on same-sex marriage.

Sessions was the guest speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Andalusia’s weekly meeting, and let his stance on the issue be known as he reminded those in attendance that America was founded on an Anglo-American rule of law.

“That must be transmitted and that inheritance does not allow judges to impose political agendas from the bench,” he said. “This is a direct threat to the future of the republic, and everything we hold dear.”

Sessions said there are a lot of people who don’t understand the ruling’s significance.

“I don’t think the people in our media and many of the politicians and government officials have a real understanding of that,” Sessions said. “They think they can ignore some of the characteristics that make America great, and to advance some sort of short-term agenda that may or may not be good.”

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion on the ruling, from which Sessions read.

“Justice Scalia is the most brilliant member of that court,” Sessions said. “Marriage is not in the constitution. There’s no hint of it in the constitution. Marriage has always been a state matter. Justice Scalia said, ‘This is a naked judicial claim. A system of government that makes a people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers is not a democracy.’ ”

“I believe that’s fundamentally true,” Sessions said. “We don’t need to underestimate the significance of that decision, in my opinion.”

When Sessions took questions from the crowd, he was asked whether the Supreme Court’s decision can be appealed in any way.

“In theory, unless the Supreme Court membership were to change, you’d have to have a constitutional amendment of three-fourths of the states, which isn’t easy to do,” he said.

In other topics, Sessions spoke a little about trade.

Recently, the U.S. Senate voted to bring the debate on the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) bill to a close to give President Barack Obama the authority to fast track the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Sessions and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., were two of only five Republicans to vote against the bill.

Sessions said he has always supported trade.

“All of these agreements are as good as people,” he said about the number of jobs the agreements create. “I voted for the Korean Trade Agreement. Korea is a good ally and good for Alabama. President Obama, when he signed the agreement, said we would add an increase in our exports by $10 billion a year to Korea. Well, that was in 2011 and 2012. We have increased them less than $1 billion.”

Sessions said when it comes down to it, the American worker needs to be protected on a global scale.

“I feel pretty strongly about those things,” Sessions said. “I know that good people can disagree on that subject, but I think we need to start defending the American worker on the world stage. I don’t believe that we’ve effectively defended our interests. More than that we have not effectively monitored those agreements. We open up our markets to them wide open. We’ve got to get better. We don’t have a single job to lose due to unfair trade.”