It looks like same-sex marriage could be heading back to the Supreme Court in the near future. Why? Two federal judges planted their flag and made their stand for the Constitution. On November 6, 2014, in a 2-1 ruling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled the decisions of lower courts that struck down state laws favoring traditional marriage.
Four states passed constitutional amendments by popular vote defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The 6th Circuit Court ruled that the amendments do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Residents of Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee can still define marriage as they have traditionally done.
According to Ryan T. Anderson of The Heritage Foundation the “decision helpfully explained why these laws are constitutional, why it is reasonable for citizens to support such laws, and why arguments for court-imposed redefinition of marriage do not succeed. It also sets the stage for marriage to return to the U.S. Supreme Court…..
“As the 6th Circuit decision helpfully notes, at issue in these cases is `whether to allow the democratic processes begun in the States to continue in the four States of the Sixth Circuit or to end them now by requiring all States in the Circuit’ to redefine marriage. The court ruled that the democratic process should continue:
“`Our judicial commissions did not come with such a sweeping grant of authority, one that would allow just three of us – just two of us in truth – to make such a vital policy call for the 32 million citizens who live within the four states of the Sixth Circuit.’”
The two judges of the 6th Circuit join a federal judge in Puerto Rico in their constitutional stand. On October 21, 2014, United States District Judge Juan Perez-Gimenez found Puerto Rico’s law defining marriage does not require marriage to be redefined. Judge Perez-Gimenez is the first judge appointed by a Democrat president to uphold marriage law since the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision on the Defense of Marriage.
Judge Perez-Gimenez used the Windsor decision to conclude that states have the constitutional right to define marriage. “The Windsor opinion did not create a fundamental right to same gender marriage nor did it establish that state opposite-gender marriage regulations are amendable to federal constitutional challenges. If anything, Windsor stands for the opposite proposition: it reaffirms the States’ authority over marriage, buttressing Baker’s conclusion that marriage is simply not a federal question.”
I will be interested to see how the Supreme Court handles the situation now. Will they accept the issue this time? If so, how will they rule? Will the Supreme Court uphold the right of American citizens to define marriage or will they force all Americans to change their definition of marriage for the benefit of a very small percentage of the people? Only time will tell!