On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in a 5 to 4 ruling. The law, which was signed in 1996 by then President Bill Clinton, recognized only marriages between one man and one woman under federal law, thus not allowing gay couples to receive federal benefits.
The Court also ruled in a case concerning California’s Proposition 8. Proposition 8 is a law that was passed by a vote of the majority of the people in California that outlaws homosexual marriage. The court didn’t rule that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, but instead, it found that the party who brought the case didn’t have standing because the party defending the California law wasn’t the state, but rather, one of the main backers of Proposition 8.
While the Court’s ruling on the Proposition 8 case wasn’t a win or a loss for either side, the result will be the resumption of same sex marriages in California, despite having a state law that precludes it. The Court’s decision to basically punt the question before the court sets a disturbing precedent for the future. So long as any governor with the support of his or her Attorney General chooses not to uphold a law in their state, there is no recourse for the citizens of that state.
Some Quick Thoughts:
Defeat of DOMA is Bad News
The defeat of DOMA will ultimately lead to the undoing of every state constitutional amendment that has been passed. Some Republican politicians, like Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who believe the Court’s DOMA ruling is a win for federalism aren’t looking down the road to what’s coming.
You can’t have one set of rules for people in 12 states and a different set of rules in the other 38 states. At some point, the Supreme Court will have to rule on what rights married gay couples have in states that prohibit gay marriage. At that point, it is very possible that the Court could recognize a federal “right” to gay marriage.
For years, presidential candidates like Fred Thompson, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and others have always used the state’s rights argument to avoid taking a position on controversial social issues, especially when it comes to passing a federal constitutional amendment to protect the right to life and traditional marriage. That position may have been politically expedient, but as we look to the horizon on the marriage issues, sadly, the states are not going to be the final arbitrator on this issue.
Presidential Elections Matter
It was shocking to me that the Romney campaign never made the Supreme Court an issue during the campaign. While the configuration of liberal, conservative, and moderate justices has not changed under President Obama, should he have the opportunity to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who turns 77 later this month, liberals will have complete control of the court. What a scary thought.
The Root of the Problem is the Tax Code
Think about it for a minute. If our tax code didn’t give certain benefits to people based on their marital status, there would have never been a need for a Defense of Marriage Act in the first place. Our tax code was also the justification the Supreme Court used to validate Obamacare. I can sense the Fair Tax getting more popular by the second.
While gay couples say they just want the same rights as everyone else, we have also seen plenty of examples lately of anyone who disagrees with the homosexual lifestyle being castigated or deemed to be unfit for public service. Just because the Supreme Court grants a group of people certain rights, that doesn’t mean that everyone must now condone that behavior. I have long said that the issue of gay marriage isn’t a political issue, it’s a religious issue. Thus, no Supreme Court ruling is going to make the issue disappear overnight.
Potential 2016 Presidential Candidates Weigh In:
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul: “Ruling on DOMA was Appropriate”
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told ABC News he believes the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act was appropriate, and that the issue should be left to the states. He praised Justice Anthony Kennedy for avoiding “a cultural war.”
“As a country we can agree to disagree,” Paul said today, stopping for a moment to talk as he walked through the Capitol. “As a Republican Party, that’s kind of where we are as well. The party is going to have to agree to disagree on some of these issues.”
The comments from Paul, a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2016, highlight how the party’s field could divide over gay marriage. Many Republicans have been unusually muted in their reactions to the Supreme Court rulings today.
Paul said he agreed with Kennedy, whom he called “someone who doesn’t just want to be in front of opinion but wants government to keep up with opinion.” He said Kennedy “tried to strike a balance.”
Rick Santorum: “The DOMA decision is another case of the high court overstepping its role.”
“I am very disappointed with today’s Supreme Court rulings regarding marriage. The DOMA decision is another case of the high court overstepping its role, just as it did with Roe v. Wade. Further, the Proposition 8 ruling refuses to affirm the process envisioned by our founders for the American people to express its will. These great moral issues of our time should be left to the democratic process, not to five activist judges. Time and time again, when the definition of marriage has been put before the people, we have affirmed the unique and irreplaceable role the union of a man and a women play in society. The family unit, with a married mother and father, is a special and unique institution and gives children the maximum opportunity to thrive. I join Americans across the country in continuing to fight for a definition of marriage that gives children their birthright, a mom and a dad, and our country the best chance for a great future.”
Iowa U.S. Senate Candidates
Sam Clovis: “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act is yet another step in the wrong direction for the social and physiological strength of our nation.”
“The American family and traditional values have been under attack by progressive liberals like Congressman Braley for years. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act is yet another step in the wrong direction for the social and physiological strength of our nation.
“If elected, Iowans can be assured that I will be a strong voice for the traditional nuclear family. I will uphold the premise that a family with one man and one woman brought together in holy matrimony is the most important building block of a society.”
David Young: “With DOMA ditched, we must ensure religious institutions remain free from coercion and aren’t forced to perform marriages against our beliefs.”
Matt Whitaker: The Whitaker campaign has not made any public statements on the ruling.
Notable Iowans Respond to Supreme Court Ruling
Senator Chuck Grassley: “I support traditional marriage, and I hope the states, where the debate had been for more than 200 years, will uphold marriage between one man and one woman.”
Congressman Steve King: “I am disappointed in the Court’s ruling today because the American people should hold the power to determine marriage policy, not the Supreme Court.
“I believe DOMA meets all constitutional standards and I am disappointed that a technical, standing issue means that gay marriage is legal in California despite the will of the voters who enacted Proposition 8.
It is important to realize that the Supreme Court intentionally chose not to find a constitutional right to marry anyone you choose, whether same-sex, or otherwise. The definition of marriage is not redefined this day. Legally speaking, states are now the sole body responsible for identifying legal marriages. Thirty-eight states to date have chosen to identify only traditional marriage. The attempt to redefine marriage will not change the fact that limited government should be responsible for making this decision, and that marriage marks the sacred union of one man and one woman.”
Bob Vander Plaats: “It is important to remember this is not the Roe v. Wade of marriage.”
It does not authorize so-called “same-sex” marriage across the board and does not grant a civil right to marriage. Both Supreme Court opinions have recognized that marriage is a state issue, and need to be decided at that level. Iowans have yet to make that decision for themselves.
Vander Plaats applauded Justice Roberts when Roberts stated that “We are judges, not policy makers.” This confirms that the Iowa Supreme Court exceeded its Constitutional authority by forcing same-sex “marriage” on Iowa.
Vander Plaats continued, “We are disappointed that Justice Kennedy rationalized the decision he wanted to reach in determining that DOMA is unconstitutional. We agree with the dissenting opinion, especially Justice Scalia, where he rightfully blasted Kennedy for not using a “rational basis” or “strict scrutiny” in reaching his opinion.
The definition of marriage affects everyone is foundational to our society, and Iowans need to decide for themselves how marriage will be defined. We will continue to defend and protect marriage at every opportunity.
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