Monday, March 25, 2013

Supremes Hearing Same-Sex Marriage Arguments

Tuesday March 26, 2013 and Wednesday March 27, 2013 the US Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue of same-sex marriage.

On Tuesday, the court hears oral arguments on Hollingsworth v Perry, a challenge to California's controversial Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state. The major question posed before the court considers the applicability of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment requires fair and just treatment under laws regardless of race, religion, creed, ancestral origin, or color.



12-144 HOLLINGSWORTH V. PERRY
DECISION BELOW: 671 F.3d 1052
QUESTION PRESENTED:
Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the· union of a man and a woman.
IN ADDITION TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE PETITION, THE PARTIES ARE DIRECTED TO BRIEF AND ARGUE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION: WHETHER PETITIONERS HAVE STANDING UNDER ARTICLE III, §2 OF THE CONSTITUTION IN THIS CASE.

Wednesday's case revolves around the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was championed by President Bill Clinton.  One portion of DOMA identifies the federally accepted definition of marriage as a union of two spouses of the opposite sex. United States v Windsor challenges the law.

US v Windsor questions DOMA's constitutionality under the Fifth Amendment which guarantees fair and equal treatment under the law. Since some states, such as Massachusetts have decided to legally define marriage in terms that accept same-sex unions, the argument is that this law unconstitutionally invalidates those marriages. Other states, such as Texas, currently have laws in compliance with DOMA that do not recognize same-sex marriages, even those performed in other states.

Also questioned is the Article 3 of the US Constitution's applicability of this law. Article 3 of the US Constitution governs the US Court System and jurisdiction in court decisions.


12-307 UNITED STATES V. WINDSOR
DECISION BELOW: 833 F.Supp. 2d 394

QUESTION PRESENTED:
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines the term "marriage" for all
purposes under federal law, including the provision of federal benefits, as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." 1 U.S.C. 7. It similarly defines the term "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Ibid. The question presented is:  Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.
IN ADDITION TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE PETITION, THE PARTIES ARE DIRECTED TO BRIEF AND ARGUE THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
WHETHER THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH’S AGREEMENT WITH THE COURT BELOW THAT DOMA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL DEPRIVES THIS COURT OF JURISDICTION TO DECIDE THIS CASE; AND WHETHER THE BIPARTISAN LEGAL ADVISORY GROUP OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES HAS ARTICLE III STANDING IN THIS CASE.
CERT. GRANTED 12/7/2012

Due to the high level of interest among our republic's citizens in this issue, the US Supreme Court has announced that it will expedite releases of transcripts and audio clips from these hearings.


The dictionary definition of marriage leaves it to a society to decide its own rules. Several states have amended their state constitutions to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The foundations for these decisions to enact such amendment stem from two places. The first is the so-called "Biblical" definition. That means the definition is one common to the religious views of the majority of the citizens. The second is the scientific basis. As of yet, it is impossible for two humans of the same sex to biologically reproduce. Many consider marriage to be a contract to run a household. The corner stone of that idea is parenting children.

Taking the biblical definition is a violation of the First Amendment. It implies the establishment of a state religion. There are some religions that do accept same-sex marriage. In essence, the biblical definition is legally negated because it would necessitate that states accept any same-sex marriage conducted under the religious dogma of a religious sect that consecrated such.

However, the biological basis holds traction in establishing a state's legal definition of marriage.

Regardless, the dictionary definition states it is a condition recognized within the cultural rules of a society. The United States is a nation under the rule of law, not the dogma of any religious sect. It is up to the common views of the segment of society (each state) to define marriage.

Hopefully, the US Supreme Court will recognize that definition. In doing so, they will bolster states' rights. That would mean that states such as Texas and California will have to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in other states. However, such would also recognize that the citizens of each state have the right to legally define marriage within their state.