Yesterday, the US Supreme Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Two things it must be said about the ruling:
- it did not create a constitutional right to gay marriage, and
- five members of the US Supreme Court effectively decided to disregard the will of
the people of California (who, by Proposition No. 8, said no to gay marriage) and of the American
people (through a clear bipartisan majority of its elected congress when
it passed the DOMA). That narrow majority also
decided to ignore natural law arguments on behalf of traditional marriage.
What the ruling did essentially say is that if a State already legalizes gay marriage (which around 11 or so US States do, with around 30 US States still maintaining that marriage is only between a man and a woman), then the federal benefits given to traditional marriages must be given to gay marriages as well. So, though the Supreme Court's ruling did not create a constitutional right to gay marriage but, by ruling as it did on equal protection, the US Supreme Court somehow
signaled that it sees no fundamental difference between the two types of
designed to maintain distinction between such marriages even if a State legalized gay marriage. In effect, DOMA was still trying to
maintain preferential status of traditional marriage. The US Supreme Court essentially struck down that distinction. If a lawsuit crops up in the future whereby a gay couple wants to compel a State to recognize gay marriages, how can the US Supreme Court deny such through States' rights doctrine if the Court had already recognized (albeit impliedly, through its equal protection ruling) that no distinction of rights should be made on the right to marry between heterosexuals and those of the same sex.
Copy of the ruling here. Reactions by Ryan Anderson can be found here and video interview here, Matthew Franck's here, Robert P. George's here, and of the NCR's here, while an article on the media bias for gay marriage found here.
As an aside, former President Bill Clinton (along with wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) applauded the Supreme Court's striking down of a provision of a law that he, Clinton, passed during his presidency.