Attorney General Doug Peterson defends Nebraska’s definition of marriage and rejects the notion that same-sex marriage is inevitable.
Peterson doesn’t believe it’s inevitable that Nebraska will recognize same-sex marriage.
“I’m a little troubled by a simple notion that says everyone’s doing it, just go with it,” Peterson tells reporters during a news conference in his Capitol office. “Don’t resist it. Don’t make Nebraska look like we’re out of touch, that we’re not progressive.”
Peterson says the definition of marriage has been one man-one woman for 2,500 years.
“And I think it’s one that we shouldn’t simply abandon without making sure we’re fully aware of the ramifications that this has on the family,” Peterson says.
Same-sex couples have brought suit against the state, seeking to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. The ACLU of Nebraska argued on behalf of the couples before United States District Judge Joseph Bataillon during a court hearing in Omaha. The Attorney General’s office defended the state law, placed in the state constitution in 2000 by the voters.
Bataillon has stated he will rule expeditiously. In 2006, Bataillon ruled the state law unconstitutional, but the ruling was overturned on appeal.
Peterson has argued that Bataillon should leave the issue for the United States Supreme Court to decide in a case scheduled for a hearing this spring. If Bataillon rules against the state, Peterson says the state will appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Peterson points out the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld constitutional amendments defining marriage in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee; definitions similar to that in Nebraska. The 5th and 7th Circuits have struck down same-sex marriage bans.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]
AUDIO: Attorney General Doug Peterson discusses same-sex marriage case. [5 min.]