Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), handed out opinions on two very important cases: one regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the other regarding California’s Proposition 8 (Prop 8). Once again, SCOTUS got it wrong; however, that doesn’t mean same-sex marriage is now legal in all the nation.
Here’s what happened:
SCOTUS struck down Section 3 of DOMA, the section that stated that the federal government has the right define marriage for the purposes of federal benefits and laws. SCOTUS said that Section 3 was unconstitutional because it discriminated against people who were granted rights under states’ laws and the federal government does not have the right to overrule the states’ definitions of marriage. SCOTUS got it wrong on DOMA because, just as the state has the right to define how state benefits are applied, the federal government has the right to define how federal benefits are applied.
Prop 8 was a referendum to amend the California constitution to define marriage as only one man/one woman. It was passed, therefore, the California constitution would, by definition, forbid same-sex marriage. Elected officials of California were sued in District Court but the elected officials did not defend themselves. The District Court allowed the supporters of Prop 8 (citizens of California) to defend the case.
The judge in the District Court opined that Prop 8 was unconstitutional and ordered the elected officials not to enforce Prop 8. The elected officials did not appeal the ruling and order, but the District Court allowed the supporters of Prop 8 to file an appeal. The Ninth Circuit Court and the California Supreme Court agreed that the supporters were allowed to file the appeal.
What SCOTUS said was that the supporters of Prop 8 had no legal standing to file the appeal in a federal court. In fact, SCOTUS vacated the Ninth Circuit Court’s answer to this question the case was remanded to the District Court. SCOTUS got it wrong on Prop 8 because the people of California should have the right to defend a properly voted upon state constitution amendment if the elected officials will not uphold their constituency’s rights.
Here’s what SCOTUS didn’t do:
SCOTUS did not rule that Prop 8 was unconstitutional
SCOTUS did not strike down the entirety of DOMA
SCOTUS did not legalize same-sex marriage in all fifty states
Why is this important? Because traditional marriage, defined as one man/one woman, is the only type of relationship that can bring forth children, and in the best interest of the children, traditional marriage should be the only legal definition of marriage our nation has.
For more information on DOMA, see the Alliance Defending Freedom’s webpage on DOMA.
For more information on Prop 8, see the Alliance Defending Freedom’s webpage on Prop 8.
2 thoughts on “SCOTUS, DOMA, and Prop 8”
The text of the 10th Amendment is crystal clear – the federal government absolutely does not have the power to define marriage.
And under that same amendment, it also absolutely does not have the power to hand out benefits.
Though it’s not like I expect any SCOTUS justice to understand the plain meaning of words.
Joe, I agree that the feds don’t have the right to define what a marriage is, but are you saying that they don’t have a right to determine who is eligible to receive whatever they decide to dole out? For example, the benefit of filing a joint income tax statement for married couples (not that I agree the IRS is a legitimate entity, but we have to file our returns until that law is changed), should the feds not be allowed to determine who can do that?
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