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  • Definition of Marriage Headed to the Supreme Court

    Announcements today and last week from the First and Ninth Circuit Courts have set the stage for the Supreme Court to weigh in concerning the central institution that has ordered society since before the advent of modern states.

    Massachusetts v. HHS and Perry v. Brown represent two sides of the same activist coin in attempts to redefine marriage through the courts. This process strips power from citizens and the elected branches of government at both the state and federal levels to determine a question not directly addressed in the text of the U.S. Constitution, because the meaning of marriage was assumed.

    As my co-authors and I recently explained, the current debate is not about who can marry, but about what marriage is. This question should not be answered by unelected and electorally unaccountable judges, but by citizens and their elected representatives.

    May was a busy month for the marriage debate. On May 8, citizens of North Carolina voted by an overwhelming majority (61 percent to 39 percent) to constitutionally define marriage as the union of a man and woman. A few days before that vote, Vice President Joe Biden expressed support for same-sex marriage, so it came as no surprise when, a day after North Carolina’s vote, President Barack Obama announced his full “evolution” to support same-sex marriage. Then late last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit struck down as unconstitutional the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and woman in Massachusetts v. HHS. DOMA was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton after passing Congress by large majorities in both houses (342–67 House, 85–14 Senate).

    The First Circuit stayed its ruling pending a likely appeal to the Supreme Court, so DOMA remains in effect for the time being. If the case does reach the Court as anticipated, a decision is possible by this time next year. DOMA is also being contested in several other federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit (in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management and an expected appeal to the circuit court from the Northern District of California in Dragovich v. Treasury); the Southern District of New York (in Windsor v. United States); and the District Court of Connecticut (Pederson v. Office of Personnel Management).

    At the same time, Perry v. Brown, the case challenging the constitutionality of California’s amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and woman, known as Proposition 8, remains pending in the federal courts, where defenders of the law had asked for a rehearing by the full Ninth Circuit panel. The court announced earlier today that it will not reconsider the case, thus upholding the lower court and circuit court panel’s prior decisions invalidating Prop 8 as unconstitutional. Like DOMA, Prop 8 remains in effect pending a trip to the high Court. (Several other cases challenging the validity of state marriage laws are at preliminary stages in Nevada, Hawaii, and Illinois.)

    This should remind us of important truths: Marriage exists to bring together a man and woman as husband and wife, to become father and mother to any children their union brings forth. This union of sexually complementary spouses, valuable in itself, is naturally oriented to and fulfilled in childbearing and rearing, and is rightly governed by norms of monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence. The state takes an interest in marriage because children are highly needy and dependent, and marriage provides them with the best chance in life to be loved and cared for by their mother and father—mothering and fathering being two distinct, complementary, and critically important forms of “parenting.”

    The law will either reflect this truth about marriage or promote a falsehood—that marriage is essentially an emotional bond. Such a view can’t possibly explain in principle or support in practice the marital norms of monogamy, exclusivity, and permanence, or explain why the state is in the marriage business in the first place. Settling this question is a job for citizens and their elected representatives, not a usurping court.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    20 Responses to Definition of Marriage Headed to the Supreme Court

    1. Bobbie says:

      why is this even being considered but to waste time and money when there isn't 300,000,000 people in favor of changing it? This isn't democracy, it's favoritism and discrimination…

      • Don says:

        1.7 percent of the population which doesn't naturally reproduce dictating what has been the norm for thousands of years to 98.3 percent on what marriage isn't right. Homosexuals have had thousands of years to establish institutions to establish permanent bond; they haven't done anything until AIDS and liberals fell in love with them. If they got the right to marry, the majority will simply ignore the marriage right and do what they have always done with anyone who catches their fancy. Gay marriage hasn't worked in Europe; it won't work here. And, liberals after they have destroyed marriage will walk away and destroy something else without excepting blame.

    2. Nancy says:

      I guess I've lived too long if I have lived to see this!

      • DEAR NANCY:

        As a law-abiding, taxpaying Gay American, I have waited too long to see this. But now it is quite possible that I'll see full marriage equality for Gay couples in my lifetime, and years after that happens, people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

        • Finn says:

          Thats because society always devolves to the lowest possible common denominator. The debased are always wanting to be normalized rather than being defined as proudly aberrant. Let all be aberrant if thats whats desired. I'll support their right to be. I wont support their attempts to redefine
          .

          • Bobbie says:

            Excellent observation of reality, Finn! It's too bad the innocent have to suffer the consequences while these intolerant of word definition types won't tolerate the words' truth and reality…

            Remember when the democrat types were screaming "everyone has to be tolerant?" They must of been talking "tolerant of the intolerable." Such a display of cowardice! That's not America or true Americans or strong and faithful leadership. Hypocrites and cowards!

    3. EddieFontaigne says:

      I can only hope at least 5 of the 9 supreme court justices recognizes that at the core of this issue for them is the question of what role definitions should play in law. If society can simply change a definition such as marriage to include same sex couples and the law and the constitution must be reinterpreted accordingly, then where would that leave our constitutional republic? Can society redefine without legislative action in order to effectively change laws? I hope the court recognizes this as the issue and votes to protect our constitutional republic and over turns the previous ruling.

    4. J. Eggen says:

      Its biblical prophecy in the making… This things must take place… I will continue to teach my children truth and teach them against perversion

    5. Greta Rich says:

      The government didn't establish marriage, God Himself did. God (Elohim) in the Old Testament brought the man and woman togerther and said they are one flesh. In the New Testament, we go further saying a man should leave his father and mother and cleave (become one with) to his wife. This is clearly taught. The 'state' since the beginning of time has recorgnized this basic building block of society since the beginning of governance. The issue of 'same sex' co-joining wasn't included in God's plan for man and woman. Romans 1 is clear about how God views the issue.

    6. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Marriage is between a man and woman. As the Evangelicals say, "God created Adam and Eve. Not Adam and
      Steve."

    7. Lee says:

      It's in the dictionary. Their wishing it does not change the definition!

    8. Dale Kramer says:

      Good reporting, sound thinking

    9. Jebby Boy says:

      The. Law in question is The Natural Law…which cannot be changed by any man,or woman,or court, or presidential aprobation. The primary purpose of marriage is the exchange of mutual and exclusive rights to one another's bodies for the procreation and education of children. If Society is so twisted, give same sexers legal property and tax breaks… But you can't twist the Natural Law and give them marriage. It is abhorrent to human nature. Period.

      Jenny .boy

    10. This shouldn't be an issue. If we lived in a truly "free" society, anyone could live together as they pleased and call it whatever they wanted. As has been pointed out, marriage is a religious institution, not a governmental one. The government should have no say whatsovever in who can or can't get married. Where does it derive that right? I don't see it anywhere in the constitution. It's just another way of controlling people and causing strife where there shouldn't be any.

    11. John Bachar says:

      I understand that everyone is out of the closet now and so be it. But please STOP cramming this same sex marriage crap down our throats! I am sick of it .It is morally and spiritually wrong. The vast majority STILL believe marriage is between a man and a woman. No other definition will take its place ever!

    12. Robert says:

      Personal experience often caries some weight. I was born into a monogamous family with a female mother and a male father. At the age of ten, my father passed away. I was totally devastated by his loss, and although the grief has long since assuaged, the effects have not. For a boy to grow up without a male figure in his family leaves a horrendous vacuum that can never be filled by anyone else. No female can be a father to a boy.
      It is an obvious impossibility. Fathers provide male values that no female can ever provide.
      I am now 81 years old, and I have never gotten over the loss of my father, because being raised by my mother, whom I loved dearly, left me with no one to discuss male matters with. It is a terrible loss.

      How, then, can "two mothers" or "two fathers" provide the balance any boy or girl needs in order to develop the dominant characteristics of his/her gender? Those characteristics are caught, nopt taught, by example. A male father and a female mother are the basic family unit providing stability and balance to any child.

      No nation or society can long survive when it departs from that standard.

    13. Marriage a loving bond between a woman a man in the presence of allmighty God
      for without God there is no marriage.

    14. Mark says:

      Marriage has had a definition and purpose pre-existant to government and government wisely encourages it only because of its beneficient effect to society making governance easier. The whole argument in favor of the oxymoron seems centered on personal favor and a transmuted raison d'etre for marriage; which the courts, if they followed the axiom that where the Constitution is silent so must SCOTUS be, should eject. However, they too often seem to reject the axiom, which leaves me less than optimistic. As was written below, this was foretold for the last days; would that it could wait a while longer.

    15. Jim777 says:

      Our Constitutional Amendment (the "rule of Universally-beneficial law") should read:

      “The family being a cornerstone of this nation; Congress shall make no law for the benefit of any group of persons whose benefit proves unavailable or undesirable to all citizens; whereby the rights of the several states, localities, and religious organizations therein shall not be infringed; Marriage is defined as a union between one man and one woman.”

      True marriage (we all have a mother and a father) is universally beneficial. If the left attacks it they simply prove to be pandering to a special interest. Hey, this fixes the HHS birth-control/abortion mandate also!!

      Also, marriage is not an issue of individual rights; marriage is not an act of a single individual; 14th amendment does not apply (even if the 14th amendment wasn't limited to race, as it was constructed).

      Being a public (not private) act, "privacy" precedent, even injustices such as Roe v. Wade, do not restrict a statutory definition of marriage. Rather 1st amendment religious freedom of the individual requires statutory protection (as discriminatory malice reveals itself) of individual's conscious in the public square.

      Folks of good will, we have the opportunity to strengthen our foundation, roll back abortion, and hem government back as America was founded; where the "little guy (in the back pew in church)" is protected from inane endless special interests and federal diktats; and enshrine deeper our government of, for, and by the people. Study the truth. Let's not be bullied.

      Thank you.

    16. sam says:

      marriage is a union between a man and woman a gayriage is a union between a man and a man or a woman and a woman.no more argument please we love you all equally as children of the same God who created us.

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