October 17th, 2014, the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage. State Attorney General Tom Horne subsequently announced that he would not appeal the district court’s ruling, thus making same-sex marriage legal immediately in the state of Arizona. The ruling by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick prohibits Arizona state officials from enforcing a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment and 1996 state law that outlawed gay marriage in Arizona.
This ruling comes in light of a recent United States Supreme Court refusal to hear multiple appeals on similar district court rulings, on October 6th, 2014. The appeals the Supreme Court refused to hear were all related to similar circuit court rulings that struck down gay marriage bans in their respective states. As a result, the Supreme Court’s decision de facto legalized homosexual marriage in 11 new states. Just days later the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that gay marriage prohibitions in Nevada and Idaho also violated the equal-protection rights of same-sex couples.
These states include: Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Today’s ruling, including these 13 states, brings the total number of states where same-sex marriage is currently legal to over 30.
What does this mean for our NAME Certified Marriage Specialists? As a CMS with NAME you are provided with a Nouthetic Counseling Form. It is required that every couple who receives marriage counseling from a NAME Center must first fill out and sign this form before receiving counsel. This form provides legal protection for our counselors based on the foundation of NAME’s counseling. NAME Centers only provide biblically based, or Nouthetic, marriage counseling. Therefore, our counselors are protected from outside legal battles related to professional marriage counseling. Couples that agree to receive Nouthetic counseling from NAME centers consent that NAME marriage counseling is not professional psychiatric, psychological, or psychometric counseling. Therefore, NAME Certified Marriage Specialists are only expected to provide counseling based on interpretation of scripture through a Christian worldview, and thus are not held liable to certain rules and laws that govern professional psychological and psychiatric counselors.
Therefore, NAME Centers and Certified Marriage Specialists will only be required by law to provide biblically based counseling to heterosexual married couples. National and state laws and policies are ever shifting and changing; however the mission and purpose of NAME is not. NAME is dedicated to helping Christian couples reconcile and strengthen their marriages, as they both grow closer together with their spouse, and as they both grow closer together with God.