The Supreme Court may finally take on a gay marriage case since there is disagreement between Circuit Court decisions.

Background

This article from WORLD magazine reports on the state of marriage laws across the country. WORLD editors put together a detailed list of the history of marriage law in each state and a map which shows which states have legalized gay marriage. The number of states with legal same-sex marriage went from 18 to 35 in 2014.

On January 5, gay marriages started in some Florida counties despite appeals from the attorney general.

Eleven states have passed laws legalizing same-sex marriage: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Washington legalized it by referendum. The other states that now have legal same-sex marriage came by judicial ruling.

Until the Supreme Court takes up one of the conflicting lower court cases and rules on it, the status of gay marriage laws continues to be in flux across America.

Lower Court Rulings

The 6th Circuit and Puerto Rico courts have ruled to uphold traditional marriage, while other circuit courts have struck down laws and constitutional amendments passed by voters.

The issue of gay marriage has been hotly debated in American culture the last several years. Those who wish to redefine marriage have framed it as a civil rights issue, using the 14th Amendment as their rationale. Those who wish to retain civil marriage between one man and one woman have used natural law arguments and recently state’s rights arguments to defend their position.

Both sides have sometimes used sharp rhetoric, distorting the other position as a clash of worldviews obscures dialogue on the subject. Both sides often make valid points, which are sometimes ignored by the other side. The pro-gay-marriage side insists on using its own overly broad language, such as antigay to describe anyone who opposes gay marriage.

Detroit News opinion article

Here’s an excerpt from Heritage Foundation lawyer Andrew Kloster’s editorial piece, which originally appeared in the Detroit News:

“Last spring, in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan’s prohibition of using race as a factor in university admissions. As Justice Anthony Kennedy noted in his majority opinion:

Freedom embraces the right, indeed the duty, to engage in rational, civic discourse in order to determine how best to form a consensus to shape the destiny of the Nation and its people. These First Amendment dynamics would be disserved if this Court were to say that the question here at issue is beyond the capacity of the voters to debate and then to determine.

Will Justice Kennedy, author of the Windsor decision two terms ago, vote to uphold Michigan democracy yet again if the Supreme Court grants review in the 6th Circuit same-sex marriage case? Or will he decide that same-sex marriage is “beyond the capacity of the voters to debate and then to determine?” Only time will tell.”

Ryan Anderson column

Justice Kennedy is often the swing vote on the Supreme Court, as noted in this commentary on Ryan Anderson’s recent column. Anderson, one of the co-authors of the What is Marriage? book, is shown here in a video clip answering a tax question (married filing jointly) from a gay marriage proponent. The interchange is respectful but shows the clash of worldviews. Maybe the two found common ground over lunch.

“What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense” is thoughtful and well-written. It does not base its public policy arguments on religion. Read some of the Amazon reviews (including John Burford, a libertarian student of Professor George at Princeton (one of the other authors) who was converted to his point of view).

Those who are interested can go to the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and read this popular paper on-line. It formed the basis for the What is Marriage? book, which is expanded and heavily footnoted, answering many questions raised by those who objected to the paper.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to see if the Supreme Court decides to review one of the gay marriage cases, which one it decides to review and of course, which way it rules.

Conservative columnist Dale Murrish writes on history, traveltechnologyreligion and politics for the Troy Patch and USA Melting Pot club. You can help this non-profit club by making your Amazon purchases through the link on the left side of their website. You can also see over a dozen ethnic presentations from people with firsthand knowledge under Culture & Country (right hand side), and outdoor presentations (Hobby & Fun), including posts on bicycling, skiing and camping.