Author: Alliance Defending Freedom Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek
Dear Allied Ministry Friend,
As I walked out of the Supreme Court last Tuesday, I had the words of Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice Samuel Alito in my ears. During the oral arguments in the Prop 8 case, Justice Kennedy said at one point, “We have 5 years of information [about same-sex marriage] to weigh against 2,000 years of history, or more [about marriage] … the problem with this case is that [the advocates of same-sex marriage are] really asking … for us to go into unchartered waters …” And Justice Alito similarly pointed out, “Traditional marriage has been around for thousands of years. Same-sex marriage is very new…[s]o there isn’t a lot of data about its effects…but [the advocates of same-sex marriage] want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of [same-sex marriage] which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?”
The Justices are absolutely correct. It is sobering to realize how little information our country currently has regarding the impact redefining marriage could have on children, families, and society at large. Even more notable is just how young the conversation of “What is marriage?” is in our country. And yet our opponents want the High Court to stop short the discussion, and impose a 50-state mandate, redefining marriage for everyone – everywhere.
Last Tuesday, Mr. Chuck Cooper, lead counsel in the case to preserve California’s marriage protection amendment, gave an outstanding oral argument, articulately defending the right of the people of California to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Mr. Cooper highlighted well the important role marriage holds for the creation and rearing of children when he noted to the Court, “The concern is that redefining marriage as a genderless institution will sever its abiding connection to its historic traditional procreative purposes, and it will refocus the purpose of marriage and the definition of marriage away from the raising of children and to the emotional needs and desires of adults.” Truer words could not be spoken.
Marriage is indeed society’s time-tested way to ensure as many children as possible have both a mother and a father, and it was powerful to hear Mr. Cooper articulate for the Court the importance of bringing together the two complimentary halves of humanity. The arguments I heard presented by attorneys on both sides, as well as the Justices’ questions, further underscored the path the Supreme Court should take in this case: respect the freedom of the American people to define marriage between a man and a woman—the unique relationship that has been the very bedrock of our society throughout history.
Last Wednesday’s oral argument before the Supreme Court involved the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed by an overwhelmingly bi-partisan Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996. The take-away point I came away with from this argument was similar to Tuesday: we live in a great country where we are free to discuss our ideas, to engage in debate, and to consider together as people of good will what the best policy is for our country. Perhaps even more significantly, we have the right to go to the ballot box and to vote on these ideas—and to elect individuals who share our values to represent us.
As Mr. Paul Clement, the attorney defending DOMA, explained, our elected officials enacted DOMA in 1996 to ensure that one state’s law could not impose “same-sex marriage…throughout the country.” In other words, “[l]et’s take a timeout here. This is a redefinition of an age-old institution.” Clement also reminded the Court that Congress asked the Justice Department three times about the constitutionality of the statute and every time received the same answer: “It’s constitutional.”
As the arguments concluded in both cases this week, I anticipate the Court’s decisions in late June or early July and trust that the Court will take the wisest course: to respect and affirm the constitutional right of the American people to uphold marriage and let democracy work rather than radically redefining marriage prematurely.
And one thing is for certain after last week, something that I hope is absolutely crystal clear to every ally and friend of Alliance Defending Freedom: no matter what the Supreme Court decides in June, the mountain to restoring a strong marriage culture may get steeper, but it will NOT stop us from going over it. God’s design for marriage won’t change, and neither will our commitment to defending this good and noble institution of husband and wife.
Forty years ago the Court tried to “settle” the abortion issue, and the fact that my generation is more pro-life than ever before only proves that the Supreme Court cannot impose a radical view on the entire American people without consequences. Just as the culture of life flourishes today in a way no one could have predicted in 1973, so too the truth of marriage will continue regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. How quickly we rebuild and fortify a marriage culture in our country is up to those of us courageous enough to defend this unique and special institution.
This post originally appeared here.