An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
The key message for Tennesseans from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions today is this: The definition of marriage in our state Constitution as the union of one man and one woman is preserved. The debate across our nation will now continue over whether marriage is about the emotional desires of adults or about the societal good of encouraging a timeless union between a man and woman that provides unique benefits for the nuture and well being of children.
It is important to note that the Court did not find a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Here are the facts:
- United States v. Windsor (Defense of Marriage Act) - The Court struck down DOMA as violating the Fifth Amendment in a 5-4 decision, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion.
- Hollingsworth v. Perry (Proposition 8) - The Court ruled that private parties who stepped in to defend California’s Prop 8 after the state’s Attorney General and Governor declined to do so did not have legal standing in federal court to defend that ballot initiative. It therefore sent the case back to Federal District Court and vacated the Ninth Circuit Court’s earlier decision striking down Proposition 8. The ruling was a 5-4 decision with Chief Justice Roberts writing the majority opinion.
Though FACT strongly disagrees with aspects of the Court’s decision, we are grateful that the Court did not undermine the will of Tennessee voters who strongly supported our state’s 2006 marriage amendment.
Regarding DOMA, FACT believes that the Court erred in claiming that a state that has redefined marriage can force that definition on the federal government for purposes of federal marriage laws. Congress should be able to define the terms it uses in its own statutes. Nevertheless, the fundamental point today is that the Court’s rulings do not undermine marriage in Tennessee.
As the debate over the meaning and purpose of marriage continues, be assured that The Family Action Council of Tennessee is committed to continuing to stand for natural marriage and to defeat any efforts to redefine this essential union.