The Supreme Court has another opportunity to determine who defines marriage, but an ADF attorney asserts it's not a last-chance situation.
Supreme Court justices are meeting in a conference to determine whether to consider appeals court rulings on five state marriage laws and constitutional amendments defining marriage as those between one man and one woman.
Last October, the court refused to hear appeals from seven other states.
If the court again refuses to hear the cases, attorney Caleb Dalton of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) says, "That would just leave in place these decisions by the federal courts that have upheld the states' laws, specifically in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Louisiana. It would also leave in place some confusion because other federal courts have ruled the other way, so there would be kind of a split amongst the federal courts."
That confusion would affect the states where marriage amendments have been overturned as unconstitutional and same-gender pairs could continue to marry.
"Regardless of what they decide, it won't be the end of the story," Dalton adds.
Other cases are coming up from the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, so this is another instance where the Supreme Court has an opportunity to step in and reaffirm, as it did in the Windsor decision, that this is an issue for the states to decide and that states have the freedom to affirm marriage between a man and a woman.
Regarding the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, a traditional values group is confident that the marriage laws of three states will be upheld.
The New Orleans-based court is hearing arguments today on federal court rulings overturning constitutional marriage amendments.
"The tradition, until recently, had been adopted by all governments and major religions of the world," notes Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values. "That's how settled the issue of marriage has been in our country and in our world. And in Texas we dealt with this issue before and settled it at the polls the way it should, when voters voted 76 percent in 2005."
Saenz contends, "It's really a shame that all of that legitimate work could be undone by the stroke of a pen of a few federal court judges, but I think that a lot of people and a lot of legal experts believe and agree that the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will rule in favor of state marriage laws. That will be for Texas, that will be for Louisiana and Mississippi, and that will be a significant turning point in the debate and the discussion on this issue."
Saenz adds that homosexuals claim equality as the overpowering argument, but in states where same-gender "marriage" is legal, it is used as a battering ram against Christians and Christian-owned businesses. He suggests that is hardly equality.
The Supreme Court could issue a decision as early as Monday as to whether it will hear the latest appeals to arrive at the court.