Supreme Court hears Same-Sex Marriage Cases
Court can accept or redefine definition of marriage
The United States Supreme Court heard arguments for same sex marriage for the first time in U.S. history. Some are calling this the most anticipated legal showdown in decades. The country is severely divided on the issue with nine states allowing gay marriage and 30 states having a constitutional amendment prohibiting it.
Today the court will hear related arguments of whether the 1996 Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples, should be struck down.
For those of us who followed the oral arguments Tuesday about Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, we left more confused at the end of the day then at the beginning and we are no clearer to understanding how they might rule. For instance, the justices could rule the plaintiffs didn't have standing to bring the case. What if they make this decision? The court could decide to dismiss the case, which could overturn Proposition 8 in California but would not outline a decision for the rest of the states.
How did we get here?
The case, which reached the Supreme Court when a gay couple and a lesbian couple, who wanted to get married, sued the state of California to overturn Proposition 8. The Governor and Attorney General would generally be responsible for fighting the suit, but they declined because they agreed with the plaintiffs. A group of citizens then decided to fight the case.
How will the Justices rule?
How the justices will rule is anyone's guess. Scalia, in his arguments, seemed to suggest the Court should stay out of the same-sex marriage question altogether stating, "They're arguing for a nationwide rule which applies to states other than California, that every state must allow marriage by same-sex couples. And so even though states that believe it is harmfuland I take no position on whether it's harmful or not, but it is certainly true that there's no scientific answer to that question at this point in time." If this opinion stands then the states would be free to decide on their own at a state level.
How does each side feel on the issues of Marriage?
Those against same-sex marriage would argue that marriage has historically and religiously always been defined as one man and one woman. They would also suggest that whether redefining marriage in the most radical way ever conceived and completely changing its intended meaning is good for society.
Dennis Prager noted in his recent article, "Why a Good Person Can Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage" that "The history of left-wing policies has largely consisted of doing what feels good and compassionate without asking what the long-term consequences will be."
Well-intentioned liberals may want to redefine marriage but do we as a society really understand how the "good intentions" of pro-gay activists may actually bring unintended negative consequences for our children such as gender confusion and the loss of motherhood and fatherhood as values?
Justice Samuel Alito seemed to agree with at least some of Prager's ideas when he urged caution, noting that gay marriage, as a concept, is "newer than cellphones and the Internet."
Prager concludes his article by stating there are reasons no moral thinker in history has ever advocated same-sex marriage. This at least should give pause to the great thinkers of our generation.
Proponents of gay marriage site the idea that same-sex marriage provides a more stable environment for children of lesbian and gay couples and the purpose of the Constitution is to protect human rights.