January 22, 2015
Will The Supreme Court Legalize
By Mike McManus
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the Constitution requires states
to allow same-sex couples to marry – or do states have the freedom to limit
marriage to one man and one woman?
It will review a November decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which
upheld cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee limiting marriage to
opposite sex couples.
That decision came after 20 consecutive recent court cases supported same-sex
marriage (SSM). Those cases were appealed to the Supreme Court by supporters of
traditional marriage, but in October the court allowed five Circuit Court
decisions to stand that overturned state constitutional amendments limiting
marriage to one man and one woman.
However the Sixth Circuit Court upheld traditional marriage – creating two
conflicting laws of the land. In such cases the Supreme Court often steps in to
decide what the law should be. Both sides supported the court’s initiative.
SSM supporters say “We are thrilled the court will finally decide this issue,”
said James Esseks, director of the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and HIV
Project. “The country is ready for a national solution that treats lesbian and
gay couples fairly.”
However, Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage,
countered, “It is time for the 50 million Americans who stood for marriage in 30
states to have their day in court.” He’s hopeful for “an eventual victory for
the democratic process, religious liberty and the cherished institution of
marriage, which forms the very bedrock of our society.”
What is likely to happen?
The tea leaves don’t look good for traditional marriage.
When it allowed five Appellate Court decisions to stand that overturned state
constitutional amendments in Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Indiana and Wisconsin –
the Court knew that same-sex marriage was likely to expand in other states
covered by those appeals courts – Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, West Virginia,
North Carolina and South Carolina. That happened and two days later another
appeals court invalidated traditional marriage in Nevada and Idaho.
Today gay marriage is legal in 36 states plus Washington DC where 70% of
Americans live. However, it is important to note that 11 years ago not one state
allowed same-sex marriage, and only in only three states have voters voted for
it: Maryland, Maine and Washington.
All of the other 33 states with SSM are the result of decisions by judges.
The Constitution of the United States begins with the words, “We the people” –
not “We the judges.” When given an opportunity to vote, 50 million voted for one
man, one woman.
Only the Sixth Circuit recognized the legitimacy of the people’s voice. Circuit
Judge Jeffrey Sutton, wrote that advocates of same-sex marriage would be better
off persuading their fellow citizens than asking federal judges to force the
“When the courts do not let the people resolve new social issues like this one,
they perpetuate the idea that the heroes in these change events are judges and
lawyers. Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the
customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike,
become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries
in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue
in a fair-minded way.”
However, the Supreme Court unleashed the wave of SSM decisions with two 2013
decisions. By 5-4 the court ruled a key portion of the federal Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. That 1996 law, passed overwhelmingly
(342-67 in the House and 85-14 in the Senate), defined marriage in federal law
as the union of one man and one woman.
At the time, no state had approved same-sex marriage. But when the court heard
arguments on DOMA, nine states had declared SSM legal. Therefore in 2013, the
court overturned DOMA to allow federal benefits to SSM couples in states
However, as Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, stated, the court “did
not create a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage – as it did for
abortion in 1973.”
In a second disgusting case, the Court allowed one gay federal judge who lived
with a man, to overturn Proposition 8 in California that 7 million people had
voted to limit marriage to one man and one woman.
However, public opinion is shifting. A Pew poll in September reported only 49%
supported SSM, down from 54% in February.
Jesus was clear: “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his
wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Finally, children need both a mother and father.
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