The LGBTQ equality movement just achieved another victory! According to Reuters, the Supreme Court rejected appeals involving same-sex marriage bans that had been struck down by lower courts in five states: Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. Thus, same-sex marriage stands in those states, but the Supreme Court has not issued a national ruling on same-sex marriage.
Six other states may experience legislative upheavals as well. The New York Times reports that today's Supreme Court move allowed decisions from federal appeals courts to stand with regard to six states that ban same-sex marriage: Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia. If those appeals courts strike down same-sex marriage bans in those states, the number of states permitting same-sex marriage could climb to thirty.
LGBTQ equality advocates were delighted by the news. Predictably, the Religious Right was not.
First, in a press statement at the Family Research Council website, FRC president Tony Perkins claimed that the decision would allow "rogue lower court judges" to allegedly undermine democracy and marriage.
"Unfortunately, by failing to take up these marriage cases, the High Court will allow rogue lower court judges who have ignored history and true legal precedent to silence the elected representatives of the people and the voice of the people themselves by overturning state provisions on marriage. Even more alarming, lower court judges are undermining our form of government and the rights and freedoms of citizens to govern themselves. This judicially led effort to force same sex 'marriage' on people will have negative consequences for our Republic, not only as it relates to natural marriage but also undermining the rule of and respect for law.Next, Concerned Women for America president Penny Nance expressed relief that the Supreme Court did not issue a national ruling on same-sex marriage. " Americans are having a robust debate on this important issue, and for the Supreme Court to interrupt that debate and decide the issue for the country would be disastrous," Nance said in a press release.
"The Court decision ensures that the debate over natural marriage will continue and the good news is that time is not on the side of those who want to redefine marriage. As more states are forced to redefine marriage, contrary to nature and directly in conflict with the will of millions, more Americans will see and experience attacks on their religious freedom. Parents will find a wedge being driven between them and their children as school curriculum is changed to contradict the morals parents are teaching their children. As more and more people lose their livelihoods because they refuse to not just tolerate but celebrate same-sex marriage, Americans will see the true goal, which is for activists to use the Court to impose a redefinition of natural marriage on the entire nation."
Nance frowned on lower courts that supposedly "overstepped their bounds" by overturning state same-sex marriage bans, labeling their decisions "judicial activism".
"The problem we have in this case is that some lower courts have overstepped their bounds and ruled several state marriage amendments unconstitutional. That judicial activism, overturning the will of millions of Americans who went to the polls to say they wanted marriage to remain as the union between one man and one woman, will stand. But also other decisions and marriage amendments supporting natural marriage will also stand. That means the battle to protect God’s model for marriage will continue, and the Supreme Court will have to take the case at some point. We must continue to stand boldly for freedom of conscience and for natural marriage."The National Organization for Marriage expressed its disappointment with today's decision. NOM president Brian Brown fumed that marriage was being "redefined from the bench".
"We are surprised and extremely disappointed that the US Supreme Court has refused to grant review of the same-sex marriage cases pending before them. This is wrong on so many levels. First, the entire idea that marriage can be redefined from the bench is illegitimate. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman; it has been this throughout the history of civilization and will remain this no matter what unelected judges say. Second, it's mind-boggling that lower court judges would be allowed to impose the redefinition of marriage in these states, and our highest court would have nothing to say about it. Third, the effect of the lower court rulings is to say that a constitutional right to same-sex ‘marriage' has existed in every state in the union since 1868 when the 14th Amendment was ratified, but somehow nobody noticed until quite recently. That's the absurd belief we are being told to accept."Whether the Religious Right likes it or not, marriage is evolving. Today's Supreme Court decision reflects that evolution, and the LGBTQ community is better for it.