Since legislators are trying not to offend any of their major supporters, it is inevitable that the US Supreme Court has ended up taking on the decisions that will establish new polices on same-sex marriage.
The arguments before the Court were held on March 25, 2013 for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and on March 26, 2013 for California’s Proposition 8 definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman.
The Court has previously determined that states cannot prohibit marriages based upon the race of couples. The decisions now will determine if states can prohibit marriage based upon the sexual gender of the couples.
Spiritualists believe that marriage is a commitment to a loving, respectful relationship, and the race or sexual preferences of the partners are not a spiritualist church’s or any level of government’s business.
It isn’t known at this point what the Court’s final decisions will be on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Proposition 8, California’s definition of one man and one woman as the only marriage legally recognized there.
Justice Sotomayor succinctly defined the Proposition 8 issue in a question to lawyer Charles Cooper at the Proposition 8 hearing on March 26, 2013.
Justice Sotomayor asked,
“Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision-making that the government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?”
Attorney Charles Cooper, representing support for Proposition 8 replied,
“Your Honor, I cannot.”
Charles Cooper is supporting the overall strategy of making this an issue for each state, and not establishing a federal mandate that makes same-sex marriage a US Constitutional issue. Some of his comments included:
“The concept of marriage as a union of one man and one woman has prevailed throughout most of human history and need not be redefined now.”
“The question before this court is whether the Constitution puts a stop to that ongoing democratic debate and answers this question for all 50 states?”
Same-sex marriage is an issue that will not disappear. Politicians are dancing around the language that shows tolerance, but not support of homosexuals wishing to enter into marriage.
If DOMA is overturned, the decision will establish a policy at the federal level of accepting same-sex marriages for issues such as federal taxes on large estates and inclusions in equal protection issues for health care, etc.
If Proposition 8 is overturned, the decision may be restricted to California or it may be applied to all states, as was the case on interracial marriage prohibitions. Opponents of same-sex marriage want to have each state make the decision on same-sex marriage. The conservative members of the Court are likely to support this approach.
Once again the wisdom of the Founding Fathers is being reaffirmed. The Court is willing to make the tough decisions that congress or the president will not address. This is the court that overturned “separate but equal” in education, and ruled that interracial marriages could not be prohibited under “equal protection”.
There are substantial divisions among the members of the Court along conservative and perhaps gender lines. The public statements made during the hearings on DOMA and Proposition 8 indicate that some of the justices would rather not make any decision at all.
Whatever the decisions on these two cases, same-sex marriage is going to continue as an issue. The usual prohibitions against discrimination based upon religion, origin, sexual gender and race should be applied to marriage. Spiritualists are focused on the relationship, not the genders of the participants.