The Supreme Court struck a blow to marriage this week. In two 5-4 decisions by the Justices, the Court ruled unconstitutional the federal definition of marriage as one man and one woman in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and it rejected a bid to save California’s popularly-enacted Proposition 8 upholding marriage.
“The decisions announced today at the High Court stand on its head the notion of government of, by, and for the people,” declared Dr. Frank Wright, NRB President & CEO.
While NRB was pleased that the Justices rejected activist calls for a Roe v Wade type of decision that would tear down the millennia-old institution of marriage nationwide, the majority decisions of the Court were still alarming. Craig Parshall, NRB Senior Vice President & General Counsel, was particularly troubled with the DOMA decision. He explained, “This decision of the Supreme Court is a warning to all those who support and articulate publicly traditional and biblical values. In the words of Justice Scalia, who dissented, it treats such citizens as purveyors of ‘hate,’ ‘bigotry,’ and ‘malice;’ as ‘enemies of the human race;’ and as if they are ‘unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob.’ With this in mind, can legal, regulatory, or legislative attempts to stifle the free speech rights of Christian communicators be far behind?"
In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia rejected first the Court’s position to rule on the case, and, even if it could, he also did not believe there was a constitutional problem with DOMA. “The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America,” he said. He railed against the majority opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy and stated plainly that those who passed DOMA were “supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.”
NRB will continue to be a voice in defense of marriage, the bedrock of the family and, thus, the future of the Republic. Moreover, regardless of changes in government policies, NRB will continue to insist on the fundamental First Amendment freedoms of Americans to uphold their religious beliefs in all areas of daily life.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: June 28, 2013