State Marriage Laws Remain in Force
After SCOTUS Ruling
Marriage in the state of Missouri will continue to be the union of a man and a woman in the immediate years to come, as the result of last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The High Court chose not to invalidate state laws and constitutional amendments which establish the historic definition of marriage.
That means Missouri's marriage amendment, adopted by Missouri voters in August of 2004, remains the supreme law on marriage in our state. That amendment states "that to be valid and recognized in this state, a marriage shall only exist between a man and a woman." Missouri voters approved that proposition by a decisive margin of 71 to 29 percent.
The Supreme Court decision on the Proposition 8 case was a major setback for celebrity attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson. Boies and Olson had pressed the Supreme Court to use the Prop 8 case as the occasion to strike down all traditional marriage laws in the country.
The two attorneys argued that the Supreme Court should declare that homosexuals have a civil right to "marry" each other under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Despite an extended and orchestrated legal, social, and media campaign on behalf of so-called same-sex "marriage," the Supreme Court declined to invent a constitutional right to "gay marriage."
It seems clear that there are not five votes of justices on the Supreme Court at the present time who are willing to force a redefinition of marriage on the entire country. In fact, there may not be five votes to do so without a change in the composition of the Supreme Court. Some legal observers speculate that even liberal justices of the Court were not eager to engineer a constitutional right to "same-sex marriage" at this time, believing that a "premature" decision would provoke the same kind of cultural civil war which followed the Roe v. Wade abortion decision.
The net legal result of the Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry (the Prop 8 case) is that 30 states still have constitutional amendments preserving the traditional definition of marriage. 7 states have laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Three states (Maryland, Maine, and Washington) have redefined marriage through public referendums. Six states (New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota) have established same-sex "marriage" through laws adopted by their State Legislature. Three states (Massachusetts, Iowa, and Rhode Island) have mandated homosexual "marriage" through decrees issued by their state supreme courts.
One state (California) now has redefined marriage through the dereliction of duty of its elected officials. The Attorney General of California, Kamala Harris, refused to defend the Proposition 8 constitutional amendment approved by California voters in November 2008. Voters adopted that amendment after the California Supreme Court had created a state constitutional right to same-sex "marriage."
Vaughn Walker, a homosexual U.S District Judge in San Francisco struck down Proposition 8 in 2010, a decision which was upheld by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Proponents of Proposition 8 were permitted to appeal those decisions in the absence of state officials willing to fulfill their constitutional duty to defend the voter's wishes.
In last week's decision, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Proposition 8 proponents did not have legal standing to challenge the U.S. District Judge's ruling in federal court. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court, stated that the organizers of the Proposition 8 petition drive were "plainly not agents of the state," and that they did not suffer any "personal, particularized injury."
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the dissenting justices, said this kind of definition of standing would frustrate and undermine the democratic process of government in the states. Kennedy said that governors and attorney generals would be empowered with de facto vetoes over laws and initiatives adopted by the people or the Legislature simply by failing to show up in court.
The final result of this complex legal morass is that a single homosexual judge has negated the will of California voters on the status of the institution of marriage in their state. Marriage has now been perverted in the Golden State due to the malfeasance of its leading elected officials.
In yet another example of the growing lawlessness in our nation, same-sex marriages are now being legally recognized in that state. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way on Friday by lifting its stay of the District Court ruling. This is happening despite the fact that the Supreme Court decision is not final. Petitioners still have the right to seek a rehearing of the decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy refused a request to block the Ninth Circuit action, despite the fact that it violates the Supreme Court's own rules.
In response to the latest legal wrangling over marriage, Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler has joined with Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp to reintroduce the federal Marriage Protection Amendment. The proposed constitutional amendment would restore a national definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Hartzler was a leading spokesperson for Missouri's constitutional amendment on marriage when it was passed in 2004.
Prospects for the success of a federal Marriage Protection Amendment are exceedingly poor. Such an amendment would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress, and ratification by three-fourths of the states. The political reality is that neither of those things will happen without a wholesale change in the membership of Congress, and a massive change in cultural concern about this issue.
On the other hand, there is little to no likelihood that the Missouri General Assembly will move to redefine marriage in Missouri any time in the foreseeable future. Nor would a petition drive to amend Missouri's Constitution be likely to result in a different outcome than the 2004 vote.
We will report in next week's Jeff City Update on the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which has been widely misreported in both the secular and religious media. In the meantime, pray that our lawmakers and judicial officers will comprehend the enduring reality that God will not be mocked.