A Closer Look: What the U.S. Supreme Court Rulings about Same-Sex Marriage Really Mean

By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©2013
Dr. John Ankerberg takes a closer look at the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings concerning same-sex marriage.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings regarding two key cases involving same-sex marriage has caused many Americans to believe that the preservation of traditional marriage is doomed. But is this true? No.

Though the court’s rulings are of concern to traditional marriage advocates, a closer look at these two new rulings offers a more sober approach. Remember this. The day after the Supreme Court’s two rulings…

  • Marriage laws currently remain exactly the same in all 50 states.
  • 38 states still have laws defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
  • California’s marriage law has not changed (though this will be subject to ongoing litigation).
  • No state has been forced to recognize the redefinition of marriage by another state.

What did happen? The two rulings made by the Supreme Court included the following:

  • The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): Section 3 was struck down, allowing 12 states the right to demand that the Federal Government provide over 1,100 legal benefits to those in same-sex unions. Section 2 of DOMA that declares no state will be forced to recognize another state’s redefinition of marriage remains law and has not changed.
  • California’s Prop 8: As of now, every agency in California is legally bound to regard Prop 8 as binding law. The scope of Prop 8 remains limited only to the particular plaintiffs in the case. FRC’s Ken Klukowski noted at Breitbart.com, “There is no appellate opinion against Prop 8. The Supreme Court refused to issue one, and threw out the only other one (the Ninth Circuit’s). There is only a trial court opinion. So every agency in California is legally bound to regard Prop 8 as binding law… Only when one of those courts hold Prop 8 unconstitutional can the public officials in that state regard it as stricken from the books. That litigation could take years. And in the meantime, supporters of traditional marriage can continue making the case for marriage.”

Should those who value traditional marriage be concerned? Yes. Is the battle over? No. While these two Supreme Court rulings mark a difficult day for the preservation of traditional marriage, the battle is far from over. The key thing is we still have time to preserve traditional marriage.

More sobering, we must understand that many who hold to so-called “marriage equality” now use a growing hostile rhetoric toward those who oppose their view. Even Supreme Court Judge Justice Scalia, who dissented, argued that this demeaning approach toward traditional marriage advocates “treats such citizens as purveyors of ‘hate,’ ‘bigotry,’ and ‘malice;’ as ‘enemies of the human race;’ and as if they are ‘unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob.’” As Christians, we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), knowing we will often be vilified by those who oppose our views. There will likely also be increased opposition in the days ahead.

While the view of our culture and courts may shift regarding issues of truth and morality, the Word of God does not change. We have been called to stand strong at such a time as this, knowing that the Lord is with us even “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

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