Word earlier this month from the U.S. Supreme Court of its intent, during the current session, to review the constitutionality of both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s marriage amendment brings to a head what has fast become one of the most contentious legal issues in America today – the question of whether the people (through either direct vote or their elected officials) will decide the definition of marriage … or whether judges will do that for them.
The California amendment – popularly known as Proposition 8 – was approved by seven million of that state’s voters in 2008. Despite that, the amendment has since been declared “unconstitutional’ in two court rulings, most recently last February by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Alliance Defending Freedom – which has been defending marriage in California for the last eight years – has a particular stake in this case. We are co-counsel on the legal defense team for ProtectMarriage.com (representing the proponents of Proposition 8 ) which last July asked the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
At stake in this case is not only the legal definition of marriage in the Golden State, but the question of whether executive officials and the judiciary have the right to ignore the expressed will of a majority of Californians.
If the high court rules in favor of the California amendment, the decision will underscore not only constitutional support for marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, but also the authority of the democratic process over the caprices of judicial fiat.
The implications of the high court’s judgment on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are considerably more complex. While Alliance Defending Freedom is not part of the legal team defending this amendment, we have filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting DOMA in cases across the country.
Because the DOMA case has multiple facets, and the high court could rule with regard to any of those aspects, the specific implications of their decision are harder to predict. What is almost certain is that any ruling that negates the constitutionality of DOMA will undermine the future of laws protecting marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The majority of states have passed their own DOMA legislation, and 31 have passed state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. A ruling from the high court that redefines marriage will undoubtedly spark mass legal and political upheaval on the issue and throw the doors open for same-sex couples nationwide to sue the federal and state governments for various and heretofore unimagined benefits.
It is our fervent prayer that the nine justices of the Supreme Court will give full weight to all those implications before ruling in either of these two crucial cases, and that God will speak a very specific conviction to their hearts about what marriage means and why its proper definition is so critical to the future of our nation and its families. If that future is important to you, this is the time to fervently pray, and to enlist others to pray with you.
This post originally appeared here.