Justice Antonin Scalia warned that once the Supreme Court overturned state bans on sodomy, that same-sex “marriage” would soon be before the court. That day has now come, and we could learn as soon as Friday what the Supreme Court will do.
The justices conferenced last week on cases pertaining to same-sex “marriage,” particularly concerning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. The DOMA challenge that originated in Massachusetts is one of them, and MFI filed an amicus brief in that case (CLICK HERE to read it).
Two federal appeals courts (Massachusetts and New York) have struck down the DOMA law as unconstitutional, saying it impermissibly discriminates against homosexuals. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Proposition 8 in February, ruling 2-1 that California had improperly granted same-sex marriage rights and then taken them away.
The Wall Street Journal in a blog post last week explained the three possible scenarios that could play out on this issue with the Supreme Court:
- The court declines to hear any of the gay-marriage cases. Perhaps the justices might feel that the issue is moving too quickly for them to weigh in now. Also there isn’t a split among appeals courts that needs to be resolved. If the justices go this route, the appellate court rulings favoring gay marriage would stand, but there would be no national precedent to guide other parts of the country.
- The court decides to hear a Defense of Marriage Act case but takes no action on Prop 8. The legal issues in the two disputes aren’t entirely the same. In particular, the DOMA issue has a states’ rights component: those who want to strike down the federal law say Washington shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with a state’s decision to recognize a certain kind of marriage; supporters of DOMA, which was passed by bipartisan majorities and signed by President Bill Clinton, say the federal government has a legitimate interest in upholding the traditional definition of marriage.
- The court takes up both DOMA and Prop 8. This would pave the way for a broader landmark ruling by June 2013 on gay marriage. Even in this scenario, though, the justices could avoid taking a stand on whether gays have a constitutional right to marry, perhaps by endorsing the Ninth Circuit’s more limited reasoning.
As you can see, no matter what the Supreme Court decides to do, there will be far-reaching implications for the definition of marriage, states’ rights, and the right of the people to define and protect marriage. The Supreme Court may announce as soon as this Friday which, if any, of these cases that they will be accepting. Be sure to follow MFI on twitter (@MAFamilyAction) for any breaking news on the SCOTUS front, as well as other issues pertaining to the family.
In other news, after same-sex “marriage” advocates sued the State of Nevada alleging the state’s marriage amendment was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, a trial court issues a decision rejecting that claim and upholding Nevada’s law. The court said “the maintenance of the traditional institution of civil marriage as between one man and one woman is a legitimate state interest.” The opinion further held: “Because the family is the basic societal unit, the State could have validly reasoned that the consequences of altering the traditional definition of civil marriage could be severe.” You can read more about this ruling at NationalReview.com.