The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals over state marriage amendments defining marriage as the union of one man to one woman in five states. This means lower court rulings overturning the amendments will be allowed to stand.
Some of the activists who want to redefine marriage are treating this as a victory. The truth is all the court is doing is kicking the can a little further down the road.
As you probably know, federal judges around the country have issued rulings on state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage. Several judges have declared these laws unconstitutional; recently, however, a federal judge in Louisiana upheld the state’s marriage amendment.
The reason we’re beginning to see differences in how judges rule on state marriage amendments has to do with conflicting interpretations of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision.
In Windsor, the court struck part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court stated that marriage was under the purview of the states–not the federal government. This means states are in charge of defining and regulating marriage.
Many–including Family Council–believe Windsor means that states may define marriage as the union of one man to one woman. However, Windsor also discusses same-sex marriage, and rogue judges are using that as a springboard for striking state marriage laws and overriding the will of the people.
In the end, what you have is a mess the U.S. Supreme Court helped create when it issued its Windsor ruling. The only way that confusion will be cleared up is if the court decides to issue another ruling (which it likely will have to someday) or Congress passes a law identifying states’ rights to define and regulate marriage in light of Windsor. One thing you can be sure of: Americans are going to demand action on this issue.
Either way, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to weigh in on some of the lower court rulings over same-sex marriage around the country is a little surprising, but it is not the final word on the matter. It’s simply a delay.