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"United States v. Windsor" lawsuit succeeds in having part of
federal DOMA law ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court

2013-JUN-26: More reactions to the Supreme Court's
ruling on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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The acronym "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."
The acronym "DOMA" refers to the Defense of Marriage Act
"SCOTUS" refers to the Supreme Court of the United States

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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  • Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said:

    "Make no mistake: Justice Kennedy's majority opinion in the DOMA case takes the entire nation right to the brink of legal same-sex marriage." 1

    He also wrote that the DOMA ruling:

    "... will be a devastating thing for this country. . .I believe that marriage is a pre-political institution, that is one of God’s greatest gifts to his human creatures and that it always has been and always must be the union between a man and a woman. To radically transform the institution of marriage is to change the definition of what it means for humans to exist together in community."

    Writing on his own web site, he also said:

    "It is virtually impossible to exaggerate the future impact of the DOMA decision, but it is not yet a new Roe v. Wade.  Instead, it sets up a future legal challenge from any citizen in any state that does not have legal same-sex marriage. The Court’s decision in that future case, surely not long in our future, will be the new Roe v. Wade – a sweeping decision that would create a new 'right' that would mean the coast-to-coast legalization of same-sex marriage. Today’s decisions do not take us there, but they take us to the precipice of that sweeping decision. That is especially true of the DOMA case.

    Striking at the heart of DOMA, Justice Kennedy wrote: 'The history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence.'

    As evidence of this judgment, Kennedy cited a document from the House of Representatives in 1996. That statement proposed that DOMA expressed 'both moral disapproval of homosexuality, and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality.' That document went on to state that DOMA would protect the government’s 'interest in protecting the traditional moral teachings reflected in heterosexual-only marriage laws.'

    In the view of five justices, that meant the death of DOMA. They ruled that the only reason that Congress passed DOMA in 1996 was because it wanted to single out same-sex couples to be denied access to marriage, and it did so on moral terms. As Kennedy argued in his majority opinion, ' The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states.' In doing so, he argued, the Congress had passed a law that 'violates the due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government'." 2

  • Dean Obeidallah, a Muslim comedian, said:

    "The Defense of Marriage Act is so clearly unconstitutional that in future we will view that law like laws supporting racial segregation." 1

  • Roman Catholic Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas TX said:

    "Sexual difference matters. ... it is essential for marriage. Only through this difference can man & woman speak the language of married love." 1

  • Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute and religious commentator wrote:

    "Yesterday’s rulings would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. While the general population trends have been well covered, the way those trends have altered the American religious landscape has received less attention.

    If we rewind the clock back to 2006—two years after the nation witnessed 12 states banning same-sex marriage [through state constitutional amendments] in a single election cycle—the debate seemed destined to remain one between secular Americas who supported same-sex marriage and religious Americans who did not. More than six-in-10 (63 percent) religiously unaffiliated Americans supported same-sex marriage, but not a single major religious group approached majority support.  Among religious Americans, support ranged from a high of 41 percent among white mainline Protestants, to a low of only 12 percent among white evangelical Protestants (Pew Research Center, 2006).

    But the debate can no longer be described as one between nonreligious and religious Americans. Support for same-sex marriage has risen by double digits in every major religious group since 2006. ... The National Cathedral, which is affiliated with the mainline Episcopal Church, rang its bells at noon on Wednesday in support of the DOMA ruling and opened its doors for a special service for LGBT families and their allies 'to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God’s love in lifelong covenants'. ..."

    "If there are literal bells ringing in support of same-sex marriage among mainline Protestants, these unheralded but significant numbers toll the fading future of religious opposition to same-sex marriage." 3

  • Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage wrote:

    "Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act.  The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. ..." 

    "Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it. ..."

    "Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified." 4

  • Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:
  • "... God designed the one-flesh union of marriage as an embedded icon of the union between Christ and his church. Marriage and sexuality, among the most powerful pulls in human existence, are designed to train humanity to recognize, in the fullness of time, what it means for Jesus to be one with his church, as a head with a body. 

    Same-sex marriage is on the march, even apart from these decisions, and is headed to your community, regardless of whether you are sitting where I am right now, on Capitol Hill, or in a rural hamlet in southwest Georgia or eastern Idaho. This is an opportunity for gospel witness.

    For a long time in American culture, we’ve acted as though we could assume marriage. Even people from what were once called 'broken homes' could watch stable marriages on television or movies. Boys and girls mostly assumed they had a wedding in their futures. As marriage is redefined, these assumptions will change. Let’s not wring our hands about that. ..." 5

  • The American Civil Liberties Union commented:

    "The core provision of DOMA required the federal government to treat the marriages of same-sex couples one way (as though they had never happened) and the marriages of straight couples a different way (respecting their validity in 1,138 federal contexts). The Supreme Court struck down [Section 3 of] DOMA both because of that unequal treatment and because the federal government had improperly taken over the states' normal role of deciding who is married and who isn't.

    The end of DOMA brings important protections for thousands of married same-sex couples all across the country. For Edie Windsor, what DOMA meant was a bill for $363,000 in federal estate taxes after her spouse and partner of 44 years died, whereas her tax bill would have been $0 if she had been a straight widow. For other married same-sex couples, the dismantling of DOMA means getting Social Security survivor benefits, the ability to take family medical leave, access to health care, the right to sponsor a spouse for a green card, and notification when a spouse in the military dies in the line of duty, just to mention a few. No longer will gay couples be relegated to what Justice Ginsburg memorably called "skim milk marriages." 6

  • Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Association, warned that persecution is imminent:
  • "We are deeply saddened by today’s decision to not only allow but encourage same-sex marriage in our country—a country that was founded on biblical principles. We mourn for America’s future, but we are not without hope.

    Our next line of defense is to vigorously protect our religious liberty. The homosexual lobby and agenda is running rampant across America, and is even pervading our elementary schools. The judicial activism that is being demonstrated is deplorable as the Supreme Court is imposing its will on the people and legislatures of the fifty states in our United States of America.

    Now, we must warn against the coming persecution, the barrage of criticism and the aggressive action of the homosexual agenda to indoctrinate and change the thoughts and convictions of Americans to accept this lifestyle as the new normal. In addition, the trend of classifying statements that have a biblical foundation as ‘hate speech’ is one that AFA will do everything in its power to prevent." 7

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Still more reactions to the Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Daniel Burke, "Jesus wept' or tears of joy? Faithful react to gay marriage rulings," CNN Belief Blog, 2013-JUN-26, at: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/
  2. R. Albert Mohler Jr., " 'Waiting for the Other Shoe' — The Supreme Court Rules on Same-Sex Marriage," AlbertMohler.com, 2013-JUN-26, at: http://www.albertmohler.com/
  3. Robert P. Jones, "After DOMA, the fading future of religious opposition to same-sex marriage," Washington Post, 2013-JUN-27, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  4. "Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage: 'Tragic Day for Marriage and our Nation,' State U.S. Bishops," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2013-JUN-26, at: http://www.usccb.org/
  5. Russell D. Moore, "How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Church’s Witness?," Moore to the Point, 2013-JUN-26, at: http://www.russellmoore.com/
  6. James Esseks, "DOMA Unconstitutional! And Prop 8 Goes Down, Too!," American Civil Liberties Union, 2013-JUN-26, at: http://www.aclu.org/
  7. Tim Wildmon, "AFA: With DOMA Decision, America Is 'Shaking Its Fist at God,' Christians Will be 'Crushed' ," Right Wing Watch, 2003-MAR-26, at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-JUN-29
Latest update: 2013-JUL-02
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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