After decades of legal battles between marriage equality advocates and self-styled “defenders of marriage,” the Supreme Court is finally going to take up the question in a case that could bring same-sex marriages to the entire country.
The Court is set to review a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld a combination of marriage bans and bans on recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. The Justices will now decide
… whether states are constitutionally required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed outside of their borders.
Same-sex marriage opponents, even when they can muster purportedly secular ground for their opposition, have little in their arsenal beyond a slew of bad arguments: God defines marriage a certain way, marriage is about making children (except for married couples who can’t or don’t have them), same-sex marriage bans aren’t discriminatory since straight people can’t marry people of the same sex either (and gay people are always allowed to marry people of the opposite sex), and so on.
States can argue they have the right to set rules on who can marry, but the Supreme Court intervened before when those laws violated the Equal Protection Clause (in the landmark Loving v. Virginia ruling).
So this seems to be a pretty straight-forward case, then.
On the other hand, the Court has come down pretty heavily on the side of religious conservatives in some recent rulings. Indeed, in their press release about the Court’s decision to take the case, the National Organization for Marriage specifically cited the Hobby Lobby case as a reason for optimism.
It is time for the 50 million Americans who stood for marriage in 30 states to have their day in court. We are confident that the Supreme Court has chosen the 6th Circuit case in order to affirm the finding of the Appeals court, just as it did in the cases of Windsor v. United States and Sabelius [sic] v. Hobby Lobby. We will be watching this case closely and anticipate an eventual victory for the democratic process, religious liberty, and the cherished institution of marriage which forms the very bedrock of our society.
Hopefully, for the sake of families across the country, NOM’s optimism is unfounded. Come June, we’ll find out.
(Image via Shutterstock)