WASHINGTON – Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court building today gathered as the justices started hearing arguments in one of two cases that will influence heavily the future of marriage in America and, according to analysts, the future of the nation itself.
Jamal Johnson engaged in several heated exchanges with activists who want to redefine the bedrock institution of civilization and allow same-sex marriage.
Johnson called it a “step in the wrong direction for humanity,” arguing that allowing same-sex marriage will open the doors to a future in which responsibility virtually vanishes.
He described homosexuality as “fighting nature” by denying the basic biological instincts of procreation.
“Heterosexuality requires responsible behavior,” he added, asserting that by condoning homosexual behavior, one is condoning irresponsible behavior.
Today the high court heard a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution passed by voters in 2008 that defines marriage as a unique relationship between one man and one woman.
The fallout from the court’s decision could have far-reaching consequences for the future of “gay” rights in America, as there are almost 40 states that have banned same-sex marriage.
A challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act is next on the agenda for the Supreme Court. The 1996 law, passed under the Clinton administration, denies federal benefits to homosexual couples and permits states to not recognize same-sex marriages created in other states.
In both cases, which will be decided by the end of June, defenders of traditional marriage argue the divisive issue of same-sex marriage should be left to the democratic processes of each state.
Also outside the Supreme Court was French Catholic exchange student Isolde Cambournac, who said the debate is about answering the “universal question” that forms the “base of all societies”: What is marriage?
A French presence in D.C. is timely considering the nation’s Hollande government is pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Last Sunday, some 1.5 million French Catholics and conservatives protested the plan.
Cambournac also mentioned the number of similarities between the social conflicts over the definition of marriage in the U.S. and France. He said the heart of the issue in both countries is “over the meaning of marriage,” which is the “union of man and woman to procreate.
The student said, “If we do not believe in that, we can exchange marriage for a lot of things … it is very dangerous.”
There were an estimated 6,000 protesters on hand.
She emphasized the importance of recognizing the direct connection “between marriage and procreation.”
In the Prop. 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, opponents claim the amendment violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses.
A sweeping precedent by the Supremes on the issue could nullify the laws in 36 states that define marriage as one man and one woman. Currently, nine states, the District of Columbia and three Indian tribes recognize same-sex marriage.
Arguing on behalf of Protectmarriage.com, the group that sponsored Prop. 8, attorney Charles J. Cooper contended in court papers that the state has an interest in protecting traditional marriage because its very future depends on it.
Marriage, he argues, is “inextricably linked to the objective biological fact that opposite-sex couples and only such couples are capable of creating new life together and, therefore, are capable of furthering, or threatening, society’s existential interests in responsible procreation and childbearing.”
He further pointed out that domestic partnership laws offer homosexuals “some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation.”
Lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies want the court to overturn the will of California voters, writing: “The unmistakable purpose and effect of Proposition 8, is to stigmatize gay men and lesbians – and them alone – and enshrine in California’s Constitution that they are unequal to everyone else, that their committed relationships are ineligible for the designation ‘marriage’ and that they are unworthy of that most important relation in life.”
Many analysts believe Justice Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote, with the liberal wing, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are expected to rule against it.
Defenders of traditional marriage have much to be concerned about with respect to Kennedy’s position on “gay rights,” considering he voted to overturn Texas’ ban on sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003
Kennedy wrote in his opinion: “Liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions into a dwelling or other private places. In our tradition the state is not omnipresent in the home.”
WND CEO Joseph Farah writes in his daily column that while Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, has been a disappointment as a swing vote, he made a statement earlier this month “that was somewhat encouraging.”
Kennedy told reporters from his hometown, Sacramento, that legislating from the bench is “a serious problem.”
“A democracy should not be dependent for its major decisions on what nine unelected people from a narrow legal background have to say,” Kennedy said.
When the California Supreme Court created same-sex marriage in the state, a decision later overturned by voters, Justice Marvin Baxter in his dissenting opinion warned of the consequences of judicially ordering a change in the standard for marriage.
“The bans on incestuous and polygamous marriages are ancient and deeprooted, and, as the majority suggests, they are supported by strong considerations of social policy,” he wrote for his court. “Our society abhors such relationships, and the notion that our laws could not forever prohibit them seems preposterous.
“Yet here, the majority overturns, in abrupt fashion, an initiative statute confirming the equally deeprooted assumption that marriage is a union of partners of the opposite sex. The majority does so by relying on its own assessment of contemporary community values, and by inserting in our Constitution an expanded definition of the right to marry that contravenes express statutory law.”
His concluded with a warning.
“Who can say that, in 10, 15 or 20 years, an activist court might not rely on the majority’s analysis to conclude, on the basis of a perceived evolution in community values, that the laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified?”
The subsequent federal district court decision in the case raised outrage when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that homosexuals must be allowed to marry. That was because Walker, who retired almost immediately after the case, was found to have been living with another man in a long-term homosexual relationship through which he personally was in a position to benefit.
Critics also noted:
- “Before the trial even began, the 9th Circuit issued an extraordinary writ of mandamus to overturn Chief Judge Walker’s order requiring proponents to turn over confidential internal communications.”
- “Also before the trial … the Supreme Court of the United States issued an emergency stay … enjoining Chief Judge Walker from video recording and disseminating the trial proceedings.” (He later used video recordings anyway.)
- “Walker’s decision recognizing a right under the Federal Constitution for same-sex couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages conflicts with the judgment of every State and federal appellate court to consider the validity of the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage.”
- Walker peremptorily held that gays and lesbians are a suspect class … even though all 11 Circuit Courts of Appeals … have repeatedly and squarely held to the contrary.”
- “Walker refused to stay his judgment pending appeal. As a result, the 9th Circuit was forced to issue such a stay.”
In his ruling advancing same-sex marriage Walker also arrived at the following highly controversial legal findings:
- “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
- “Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
- “The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment.”
- “The evidence shows beyond any doubt that parents’ genders are irrelevant to children’s developmental outcomes.”
- “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”
- “Many of the purported interests identified by proponents are nothing more than a fear or unarticulated dislike of same-sex couples.”
In the Defense of Marriage Act case, up next, Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have decided to no longer defend the federal law, as they are required.
Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute asserts that should Obama succeed in overturning DOMA, the broader implications are staggering.
“This would give the executive branch a constructive veto over any law,” he said.
Whatever already is on the books as a law of the U.S., when challenged, simply could be allowed to fall, he said.
Snider warned of the “enormous power” such a precedent would grant presidents.
For example, a president who objects to the income tax could order the IRS to stand down and not defend any tax laws. Default judgments would follow, and the tax laws would be struck.
Snider’s organization also is filing ethics complaints against federal attorneys who were involved in DOMA disputes and were defending their clients, the American taxpayers. As Snider sees it, the attorney’s simply got up from the defense table and walked over to the prosecution’s table by filing briefs that call for the courts to rule against their own clients.
See the action outside the Supreme Court today:
And the audio of today's arguments: