26 Jun Supreme Court Rules on Marriage
This morning the U.S. Supreme Court announced their ruling on two important marriage cases. In the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) case, one provision was struck down which now allows same-sex marriages (in the states who legally recognize same-sex marriages) to receive federal benefits. In the Proposition 8 case, the Supreme Court simply declared that those defending Proposition 8 did not have standing before the federal courts.
There are many questions as to where the Prop 8 case stands now, but we can be grateful that the ruling was not more extreme. We appreciate this helpful clarification from Andy Pugno, lead counsel of the legal team defending Prop 8:
“It is widely being mis-reported that the Court ruled against Prop 8. IT DID NOT! Rather, the Court said it could not reach a decision because California government officials refused to defend the law. So it did not rule on Prop 8’s validity. In doing so, the Court also nullified the Ninth Circuit’s ruling against Prop 8, which is a great victory in itself!
So, the voter-passed Constitutional Amendment to protect man-woman marriage remains the law of the land in California, because only an appellate court can strike down a voter proposition statewide. But it remains to be seen what California officials will do now.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has reversed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ misguided decision that sought to invalidate Proposition 8. For the more than seven million Californians who have seen their vote stripped away from them, little by little, over the course of five years, that decision is gratifying.”
While today’s Supreme Court rulings may have left us with more questions than answers, one thing seems clear–the question of marriage is back at the state level. For this reason, it is more important than ever that citizens become familiar with, and actively support their own state laws and constitutional amendments protecting natural marriage between a man and a woman.
The rulings today give the battleground some new perimeters, but same sex marriage is far from “inevitable.” We determine the outcome as we inform ourselves and our neighbors of what will happen if stand up to time honored truths or roll over refusing to finish the battle. I invite you to read on as UFI President- Elect Laura Bunker shares her insights about the importance of protecting marriage in the months ahead. United Families International will continue to lead the charge and we encourage your continue support of our efforts!
President, United Families International
A Tale of Two Marriages: How Same-Sex Marriage Religious Freedom
“We were [trying] to prove that allowing everyone to marry the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation, did not–could not–harm anyone.” This was the statement of David Boies, the lead attorney opposing California’s Proposition 8, after today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling. His words are still ringing in my ears. This is a popular claim, but it is not true. Legally recognizing same-sex marriage has great potential for harm. Despite claims of “fairness” and “equality,” same-sex marriage would not be fair or equal for everyone. In fact, those of us who support natural marriage between a man and a woman could find the world very unfair and unequal. Based on increasing legal conflicts throughout the United States, if same-sex marriage is legally recognized, we would be forced to keep our beliefs about natural marriage to ourselves–unable to express them, promote them, or live by them in public.
I will discuss this concern more in a moment, but first let us review why it is so critically important to support natural marriage between a man and a woman. Devoted, natural marriages are the best place in the world for both adults and children. Consider these real-life examples: My parents were born during the Great Depression. Neighbors flung up their hands, telling my father’s parents they were crazy for having five children during such times. But my grandparents scrimped and sacrificed, and their commitment and creativity pulled their families through the Depression. Each of my parents have many fond family memories, but they do not ever remember feeling poor. My grandparents also established a pattern for my parents, who are now in their 53rd year of marriage. Though not perfect, each of these marriages have given their all to each other and to their children–who now profoundly honor them.
My stories are not unique. They represent millions of husbands and wives throughout our nation’s history who have unselfishly dedicated their lives to each other and to their children. Even if they did not have the ideal family, they still believed in the ideal of the family. These are America’s unsung heroes; their selfless commitment to each other and to the next generation has built the sturdy foundation that has made our country great. That strong family foundation has given all of us, in Charles Dickens’ words, “the best of times.”
Unfortunately, the past few decades have seen major cracks in the foundation of the family. The sexual revolution of the 1960’s and legalized abortion ignited a culture of sex without values or consequences. Many began to view marriage as unimportant. This attitude gained momentum with no-fault divorce and increasing cohabitation–which have created “fragile families” that quickly dissolve, leaving millions of children without a father or mother. Sadly, when culture teaches that sex is free, marriage is optional, and family is temporary, everyone suffers, especially innocent and vulnerable children. Decades of research shows that children of single parents are less likely to finish school, to avoid poverty, drugs and prison, and to have successful marriages of their own. Then the cycle continues into the next generation.
Now same-sex marriage could deal the ultimate blow to the already crumbling foundation of the family. Like cohabitation, it considers the wants of adults before the needs of children. Like divorce, it divorces children from one of their natural parents, potentially increasing the disadvantages for children. In addition, it could affect the personal life of everyone who believes in the importance of marriage between a man and a woman. The moment same-sex marriage is legally recognized, those of us who believe in natural marriage could be forced to keep those beliefs quiet in our classrooms, workplaces, and communities.
Here are some examples:
- In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to perform same-sex marriages. Sometime later, Christian parents in Lexington were disturbed to learn that their kindergarten and second-grade children were being taught in school that same-sex marriage was normal and good. They filed a lawsuit for the right to opt their children out of these lessons, but they lost. The appellate court ruled that the state’s responsibility to educate children about same-sex marriage outweighed the rights of the parents who objected to it. As a result, parents are not notified of classroom instruction on same-sex marriage, and are not allowed to remove their children from these lessons.
- Another example is in Washington State, where voters recognized same-sex marriage last November. A Christian florist was recently sued by one of her regular customers when she politely declined to do the flowers for his same-sex wedding. He said he respected her views, they hugged and parted. The next time they met was in court, where she is facing a $2,000 fine.
- When a California gynecologist declined to perform in-vitro fertilization on a lesbian patient because of his religious beliefs, his patient sued him, and the California Supreme Court told him to take up a different line of business.
- In New Mexico, a Christian photographer who declined to photograph a lesbian couple’s commitment ceremony was sued and ordered to pay the couple’s legal fees.
- A Georgia graduate student was expelled from her counseling program after refusing to change her religious beliefs on homosexuality.
- Christian owners of an Illinois bed and breakfast are being sued for declining to host a civil union ceremony at their privately-owned and family-run business.
The cases are multiplying, and so far those who believe in natural marriage are losing.
Is this “fairness” or “equality?”
Not having a say in what your child is taught in school? Having to change professions or educational programs? Losing your family business? While we believe in kindness towards all people, we must stand firmly for the time-honored definition of marriage between a man and a woman as the only legally recognized form of marriage. Our parents’ and grandparents’ marriages gave us more than food and shelter. They gave us heritage, identity, and purpose–and they gave our country a future!
That is the power of natural marriage! That is why we must pass it on to our children, live by it in our workplaces, and promote it in our communities.
Yet in a world where same-sex marriage is legally recognized, we might not be able to do any of the above. Our children would be taught contrary to our beliefs, our educational and professional opportunities would be limited, and our voices would be silenced.
And for millions of us, that would be “the worst of times.”
Laura BunkerUnited Families Utah Director & President Elect of United Families International