Current TV's Viewpoint host Eliot Spitzer spoke yesterday with Richard Socarides, former senior adviser to President Clinton, and Akhil Reed Amar, a professor of law and political science at Yale University, about the two same-sex marriage cases the Supreme Court announced it will take up.
The first challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as DOMA, which bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, and the second seeks to overturn Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that outlawed same-sex marriage in California after the courts there had legalized it.
Socarides said that "the change in public opinion has been very fast" and that "the Court is willing to move forward a little more quickly." Recognizing that the current cases may not be decided because of procedural issues, he opined that within "the next small number of years [...], the Supreme Court will have to tackle this issue head on and it's going to move the country forward."
According to Amar, one of the questions will be whether states that do not recognize gay marriage need to respect gay marriages that are solemnized out of state. "If so, then the nine states that allow gay marriage can become kind of the Nevada of America, and so even if 41 states don't let you get married in that state, if you can go to another state, get married and come back, we're going to have gay marriage across America very soon." He thinks that Full Faith and Credit could be the stepping stone to national gay marriage.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sponsor of the Perry case challenging California's Proposition 8. AFER's lead counsel, Ted Olson and David Boise, are high-profile attorneys who are aligned with the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively.
“This case is about the fundamental constitutional right of all Americans to marry the person they love. The plaintiffs we represent are two loving couples who, like millions of other gay and lesbian Americans, are being denied the right to marry and the right to be treated with equal dignity and respect under the law,” said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson. “The Supreme Court’s decision to grant review in this case illustrates the national significance of marriage equality, and brings us closer to the day when every American will be able to equally enjoy the fundamental freedom to marry.”
“Fourteen times the Supreme Court has stated that the freedom to marry is one of the most fundamental rights—if not the most fundamental right—of all Americans,” said Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies. “As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. It serves no legitimate state interest. We are ready to defend our victories before the Supreme Court, where we will urge the Justices to reaffirm our Constitution’s central promises of liberty, equality, and human dignity.”
AFER reports that the Supreme Court will now receive written briefs from the parties and hear oral argument by April 2013. A decision on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 is expected by the end of June 2013.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represents religious conservatives opposed to same sex marriage, says that "These cases are unprecedented in their potential impact for the future of marriage in America. Watch this video to learn the timeless truth about marriage, the background and importance of DOMA, and what's at stake when the High Court goes to hear arguments over these cases in 2013!"
According to its video (embedded below), "Marriage is a personal promise with a public purpose," referring to children born of the union of one man and one woman. "DOMA doesn't stop individual states from debating marriage," the video goes on to say. "Our history books do say something about marriage. They tell us that other groups have tried to redefine marriage before, like polygamists in the 1800s, racists in the 1900s, and of course, same sex activists today."
ADF has also issued a prayer guide concerning marriage, which states:
Praise God for the impact of Marriage:
Thank Him for how marriage refines our character, creates stable community for the birth and nurture of children, and unites men and women in an enduring whole-life union.
Thank Him for giving the distinct, irreplaceable gifts a mom and a dad each uniquely bring to children, through marriage.
Pray for the marriages in your community:
For healing, restoration, and divine protection over the relationships between husbands and wives in your church, neighborhood, and among your friends and family.
That Christians will hold fast to the biblical Truth about marriage and boldly stand up for children, who are most protected and impacted by marriage.
Pray for the future of Marriage:
For the nation to uphold the truth that marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of society and the best environment for raising children.
For Americans to remember the damage already done to marriage in our society, and how that has hurt children.
Pray for the judges hearing marriage cases – and specifically the Supreme Court Justices – to rule with wisdom and discernment to protect marriage.
Pray for God’s design for sex and sexuality in Marriage:
Pray for sexual purity; that sex will be reserved for marriage, and celebrated in marriage.
Pray for God’s blessing and restoration on those hurting and suffering from going outside of His design for sexuality.
Pray for sexual fidelity and faithfulness between husbands and wives.
Pray for children’s innocence to be protected from false sexual indoctrination in schools.
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, is happy that the U.S. Supreme Court took the case, telling Fox News that lower federal courts were wrong to determine that voters were motivated by animus when they passed Proposition 8. "It's time for the Supreme Court to correct some wrongs that have happened … we think that the Supreme Court is going to overturn the lower court decisions and is not going to create out of thin air a U.S.Constitutional right to redefine marriage."
In the same Fox News interview, Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center said that "[B]oth cases really implicate core Constitutional values of equal protection and freedom and the fundamental right to marry. I'm surprised that Brian seems to be suggesting that some of these most important constitutional rights can be put up to a vote. That's not how the Constitution works. Here, we have the equal protection clause guaranteeing equal protection of the laws to any person, and that broad language includes men and women, black or white, straight or gay, and it's not expanding or creating out of thin air some new right. It's about simply applying the plain text of the Constitution, and when federal judges have applied that plain text of the Constitution, they have found discriminatory marriage laws unconstitutional, and those judges range from died in the wool 9th Circuit liberals to George W. Bush appointed judges."