The Supremes and Marriage: The Battle Goes On

Eric Metaxas

Eric Metaxas

Another excellent article by Eric Metaxas:

Yesterday, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court, as expected, overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

At the same time the Court declined to rule on California’s Proposition 8, citing what lawyers call a “lack of standing.”

Here’s the bottom line: Same-sex marriage is not the law of the land. The Supreme Court did not issue a Roe v. Wade type of decision for gay marriage. Yes, DOMA is gone. But same-sex marriage in California is still up in the air, and everywhere else the battle goes on.

The DOMA decision, U.S. v. Windsor, involved the estate of a woman who left everything to her same-sex spouse, a marriage recognized by the state of New York. The surviving spouse was barred from claiming the federal estate tax exemption by Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the District and Appeals Court’s rulings that DOMA was unconstitutional.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the “history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power,” was “the essence” of DOMA.

Its “avowed purpose,” he said, was to “impose” a “disadvantage,” “separate status” and “stigma” on those who enter into “lawful” marriages recognized by the states they live in.

For long-time BreakPoint listeners, Kennedy’s reasoning may bring to mind his opinions in Romer v. Evans. There, he opined that Colorado’s exclusion of sexual orientation from civil rights protection was the product of “animus.” To which I recall Chuck Colson retorting, in essence, “hogwash.” I would use a stronger word–cover your ears–balderdash. There. I’ve said it.

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