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  • Marriage under Assault in Federal Courts: Why It Matters

    Marriage is under intensified assault in two federal courtrooms.

    Last week a federal district judge in Massachusetts acted alone to overrule 427 members of Congress who voted in 1996 to adopt the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a measure signed into law by President Clinton.

    DOMA has two major provisions. First, it affirms that the definition of marriage and related words like spouse and husband in federal law refers only to relationships between one man and one woman. Second, the law sets forth the intent of Congress that none of the 50 states are required to give “full faith and credit” to the action of any other state legislature or court that redefines marriage as anything but the union of a man and a woman.

    The judge struck down the first provision of DOMA. The immediate effect of the ruling, if it is upheld, will be to overturn more than 1,100 laws conferring benefits and privileges on same-sex couples with Massachusetts marriage certificates. But the court’s ruling is not really about expanding benefits and rights. The court struck a much deeper blow, holding that Congress had no rational basis whatsoever to protect traditional marriage. The ruling inferred that the huge pro-DOMA bipartisan majorities in Congress, and presumably President Clinton, could only have been motivated by “animus” and “irrational prejudice.”

    Meanwhile, an even graver threat to the definition of marriage—as well as to the public’s right to debate the meaning of marriage in the representative branches of government—is coming to a boiling point in California. Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker could rule any day on the constitutionality of California voters’ 2008 decision to reverse their Supreme Court and protect marriage in the state constitution. A decision of this kind — again, if it is upheld — could have implications for every other constitutional amendment and the DOMA laws that now exist nationally and in the vast majority of states.

    The importance of marriage as a pre-political institution that confers immense benefits by wedding mothers and fathers in the cooperative task of raising children is demonstrated with increasing force every passing year. The health of families is central to the health—and wealth—of nations. No institution of civil society accomplishes more than the family unit, enduring over time and building bonds across generations, to undergird civil society. At the same time, a vibrant civil society of core institutions—family, church, and voluntary associations—provides the surest bulwark against the relentless expansion of the state. If the last four decades teach us anything, it is that the growing separation of fathers, mothers, and children through out-of-wedlock childbearing and assaults on cultural norms invites massive state interventions in the name of alleviating poverty, crime, educational decline, and other ills.

    These interventions, in turn, frequently undercut and accelerate the weakening of civil society and the freedoms it guarantees.
    Marriage matters, therefore, because of its irreplaceable role in “nurturing children, providing them with mothers and fathers, and building and maintaining relationships” among them. It “is a fundamental institution necessary for societal existence and well-being” that only the most arrogant of activist courts would presume to redefine for all Americans. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Commentary/2004/03/A-Tough-Decision-What-is-Marriage

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to Marriage under Assault in Federal Courts: Why It Matters

    1. Billie says:

      why is the federal courts lowering themselves to an ignorance of a defined existence and allow it to be raped and leached by intolerants?

      Speaking words of wisdom, let marriage be.

    2. Megan (USA) says:

      I simply do not understand how people can argue that something about being gay entitles someone to be presumed the father (mother?) of a partner's child, when everyone knows it's biologically impossible for this to be true.

      If this goes through, people will be legally listed as the "father" (mother?) of children who have real fathers and mothers, but will never be allowed to ask about them.

      What happened to the best interests of the child?

    3. Chuck Anziulewicz (S says:

      Marriage is not under "assault." Marriage is not being "attacked." For Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples, absolutely nothing is happening to the institution of marriage. Most people are Straight, always have been, always will be, and they will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have. None of that is going to change because Gay couples are allowed to do the same.

      If you feel like your marriage is threatened because the Gay couple down the street wants to get married, I would suggest that it's YOUR marriage that is already on shaky ground.

    4. Kevin says:

      The judicial branch holds in check the legislative branch so it will not enact laws in violation of the constitution. That can not be determined unless there is a judicial review or trial. Gay couples marrying (with or without children) can only strngthen family bonds, and society, as you correctly point out. DOMA actually flaunts the constitution by allowing states to NOT have "full faith and credit", the first time a law has been enacted AGAINSTS a certain class of people. Also, my partner and I being dnied the righ to marry is hardly the hallmark of a "free civil socirty"/ As far as volun teerism is concerned, I think many gay groups do a fine job of that. Volunteerism and community involvement is very high amongst homosexuals. Your well written article just demonstrates that "majority rule" is the only tenet of government that is valid. I respecfully disagree,

    5. Spencer - Grand Rapi says:

      I truly cannot believe that I just read this. It is clear that this author has no clue on the history of marriage to begin with. Marriage has been evolving for millenia and will continue to do so. To say that marriage between two people of the same sex is going to ruin marriage is just foolish. Furthermore, how is two people loving each other going to degrade society. There is no science to show that 'out-of-culture-norms' degrade society in any of the ways that he mentioned.

      To only further prove his point that he had no clue on marriage, the author then called a married couple 'mother' and 'father' as if to say that all marriages end with children. Straight couples and well as gay couple do not necessarily need children to constitute a marraige

      Finally, laws change. If the courts did not step in during the 50's and 60's to end discrimination based on race, then we would certainly not be as far as we are today. It is not the job of judges to create laws, it is their job to decide the constitutionality of laws that people put in place. Clearly DOMA was not constitutional based on the 14th amendment.

      Gay marriage will not end society nor will it hurt the family. It will just help to end some of the benefits and rights that gay people do not have.

    6. Brad, Los Angeles says:

      The author argues that 'traditional' marriage must be upheld for the sake of the children. First, allowing me and my partner of 13 years to consider ourselves as married in no way affects children in a loving, opposit-sex marriage–in no way. Second, same sex couples do adopt/raise children. This will continue whether same-sex marriage is recognized or not. There are hundreds of thousands of children being brought up in healthy families headed by same-sex couples. The states have a definite interest in these children and these families should be given the stability that marriage offers a family.

    7. Ray says:

      With the title of this post being "Why It Matters", I expected to read for once something that would explain what these people are so afraid of. I still just don't understand. My dad died when I was 4. I wass raised by a single mom. When she had a bad day everyone had a bad day. If she had met the girl of her dreams and I had two parents, well, then if one parent was having a bad day the other could take over. Just like my wife and I with our own children.

      Heterosexual marriage is in shambles. Half of all kids are born out of wedlock and half of all hetero marriages end in divorce. What is wrong here? Letting more people marry is the solution to having less one-parent homes. THere is no other answer.

    8. Billie says:

      Spencer – Grand Rapids, MI on July 16th, 2010 at 5:00pm said:

      I truly cannot believe that I just read this. It is clear that this author has no clue on the history of marriage to begin with. Marriage has been evolving for millenia and will continue to do so. To say that marriage between two people of the same sex is going to ruin marriage is just foolish. Furthermore, how is two people loving each other going to degrade society. There is no science to show that ‘out-of-culture-norms’ degrade society in any of the ways that he mentioned.

      Spencer: Marriage has been evolving? Since when? Into what? Homosexuality has been around since the beginning of man. This begging for attention is a huge interference as the people begging for it won't accept the definition of marriage so they manipulate it using self-pity. You seem not to know the history of marriage or the meaning itself? To say that two people loving each other is not going to degrade society, I agree, When two people who love each other, want recognition and favoritism to show that love, will. God Bless

    9. West Texan says:

      Again, it's up to individual states' residents if they choose to honor homosexual unions for whatever reason. Current law has nothing to do with majority rules but rather an established civil moral code. Regardless, gays will continue to live together. As far as Holy Matrimony is concerned, the church has every right not to recognize same sex marriages as such violates the core tenets of their faith.

    10. West Texan says:

      PS: finding fault with traditional heterosexual unions to rationalize gay marriage is based on a false premise.

    11. Johann Wolfgang von says:

      Sounds like it is time to practice "nullification" as Jefferson described it when he thought the Federal government could find ways to over extend its powers that should be reserved to the states. An ammendment to the constitution is another route, it would take time thought, but it is impossible for a court to declare the constitution "unconstitutional!" Once the gate is open to "redefine" marriage, who is to say it cannot include groups, animals, etc. i.e. two women, a horse, a chicken, a lizard, and a geranium are all married?

    12. Dennis Georgia says:

      Throw God out with the trash, is this the way we want our country to be???? I really do not think people want this, gay marriage is just wrong. Read your bible and see what happened when this was going on, see what happened to the two cities that God held up for His rath anf judgement. This is where this country is heading, just because some people want it and the courts will go along. IT IS WRONG!!!!

    13. Joe Coleman, Los Ang says:

      Well about state intrusion….

      Marriage in itself is controlled by the state. Want to limit interventions? Abolish civil marriage! The concept of it was dumb from the days it was invented. If you are religious, get married by your church. If you're not religious, don't get married. It's that simple. The state never had any right to get into the marriage business. Marriage should be a private affair – not a civil duty. I'm 24, male, agnostic, and I intend on having kids in a few years with my girlfriend – we don't need the government to issue a license to us, and I'd reject any federal benefits on principal alone.

    14. Ron, ND says:

      Chuck Anziulewicz is wrong in his comment about nothing changing for heterosexuals if gays marry. One only has to look at Scandinavian statistics to see the flaw in his reasoning.

    15. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      I am a parent of a gay son, he and his partner have papers so that what they want will be carried out. I am nuetral when it comes to a cival marriage, this just assures the person of having share in property, this can be obtained by legal papers as well. My son and his SO own a house together, each have a car and Ins. policies state how they are to be distributed and there are papers showing every phase of estate division. A marriage lic. does not guarantee all this is going to happen, wills are for this purpose as well as joint ownership of property. Goverment has no business decreeing this, let everyone form there own concious decision, as far as children, do what a friend of mine did, one had the baby by IVIF and the partner adopted her, 2 men can adopt as well, the jury is still out on how this will effect these kids in the future. I will not judge as the Bible says, it's for Gog alone to judge right and wrong.

    16. Al, Fl says:

      It is interesting to note that the gay arguement is always to attack the sad state of marriage or some other example as if to try to justify bad behavior with other bad behavior. They never explain why they want to redefine marriage or what marriage, once redefined, means in any case. I can understand a desire to have benefits that married people have but civil unions were an attempt to provide that.

      Dr.Skousen in his book, 5000 year leap, mentions the following:

      "It may be surprising, even to Americans, to discover how much of their Constitution and their life-style is based on Principles of Natural Law. For example: The concept of unalienable rights… The Concept of Habeas Corpus… The Concept of Limited Government… Laws protecting the Family and the Institution of Mariage … these are all based on Natural Law. …" Our country is, unfortunately, declining in morality and knowledge of the principles that our Founding Fathers held. The result is a loss of prosperity, the introduction of political correctness and conflicts such as those we find in the homosexual community. Because this decline, including an assault on marriage, effects our daily lives and even our ability to live in a free republican form of government, we should care about what is happening. People need to relearn the difference between Freedom and License, between discrimination and appropriateness etc.

    17. James Matthews III, says:

      I suspect that federal judge is also gay. As a matter of law he/she should have recused him or herself from the case instead of making a ruling.

    18. Bruce Barron says:

      In the Massachusetts case they will have to appeal it. If I were Goverenor I would arrest her and charge her with perjury and failure to uphold the Constitution.

      The case in California,if the ruling is unfavorable,that will have to be appealed. And I would do the same for this judge.

    19. Jim Winn, Lawrence, says:

      Mr. Donovan. Please. The speaker implies and the listener infers.

    20. pericone says:

      We are lost, people are lost this is plain WRONG it is all over when people erects themselves as little gods and decide what is right and what is wrong and we know that God is the same always and forever AMEN

    21. John Clancy, Wyandot says:

      During the last 25 years or so, the universities, largely through "women's studies" have been underlining the idea that sex is basically "cultural," not biological.

      Since men, indeed most, have some feminine qualities and women, indeed most, have some masculine qualities there is no significant difference between a little boy and a little girl, between a man and a women. If you have a little boy play with dolls and a little girl play with trucks, you can "determine the sex."

      The differences that everyday people, as opposed to the elites, have observed and acknowledged for ten thousand years, including not only the physical but the psychological and emotional, are merely "constructions" by societies.

      The result of this thinking enables people for pleasure or convenience or power to choose to be transexual or bisexual or straight or whaterver they wish.

      This view has moved from our universities into the mainstream and in it there is no fundamental basis for the ten thousand-year view of marriage, no natural law, no morality, no right or wrong. Since it is not based on truth (reality), this view breeds chaos in the individual and families, and anarchy in society.

    22. Samuel says:

      Family is the most basic unit of society; destroy it, and society will crumble.

      Also, could someone explain to me why it is that polygamy is still a taboo (why else would the polygamist compounds be seperated from the rest of society?) while gay marriage is fought for with the same zeal one would have found in the Inquisition?

    23. dkid says:


    24. Ron Tosi, Ridge Mano says:

      Everything you say about the importance of mariage is correct except your not including families of ss couples. Your readers must read the 12 days of testimony on prop 8.My dad is 86 and just married a 66 year old wonderful lady. No children in their future, but as with all they are to care for each other. If children were a primary purpose they would be alone. Lets pray for understanding and true equal rights. I spend 3 months a year in Canada and all is well with their country,and they do not feel their marriages are any less by including all in equality of marriage between loving and careing couples. They feel the US still is discriminating. Step back and you will see they are right.

    25. Billie says:

      If a blind man applies for a bus driving job and is denied because of his blindness, That's discrimination. If a man's background has on record pedophilia and applies for a day care position, civil law would allow discriminating against him being hired. For ever bending the laws, lessens civility. In order to have civil law, (the only law fair to all mankind,) there is discipline and discrimination. Not because of a persons skin color, as that is not their choice. But of their behavior which is a persons choice.

      The definition of marriage should be respected as it has since it's existence,, between man and woman. Balanced between genders. Those who choose not to tolerate, can call it discrimination all they want or grow up and stop their ignorance wasting time and money interfering where they don't comply with the rules, causing hardships all along the way.

    26. Matt, Colorado says:

      Well done Chuck!

      I for 1, am for male-female definition of marriage. I have read enough supporting articles, stories and studies that show marriage is a fundamental building block of a productive, healthy and morally just civilization. It is about balance, and the male – female relationship contains balance. They are both equal and different at the same time. 2 women or 2 men can NOT (& do NOT) offer that same balance when it comes to the offerings of a family environment.

      All this is aside from my faith beliefs, that God created all and created the gift of marriage between a man and woman.

      Thanks again Chuck, keep up the great work!

    27. frank keen says:

      If you think its going to stop there people,Think again, the next thing will be that gay sex be force fed to all your children in schools starting at fourth grade, they open one door it will lead to others, And another thing I am getting Dammed sick and tired being called bigiot just cause I do not believe in their sick immoral life style, Have you ever looked up the word immoral,…..these Gays aren't going to stop here, the next thing will be that they will demand to have Gay Day in your towns and cities, and then their will be the sick Gay Parades,…..so don't any of you homosexuals tell me its none oif my bussiness,…..it is every bit my bussiness,…..we don't want you distorting our childrens mines with your life style

    28. Pingback: Good to See the GOP Has Their Priorities Straight | Snowflakes in Hell

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