The United States Supreme court convenes soon. This season, the court will look at several cases concerning family law. On September 24th, the Supreme Court will begin its first review of Hollingworth v. Perry, commonly known as Proposition 8. On this same day, the court will review Windsor v. United States, one of the four court cases challenging DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act).
Every year, the Court receives approximately 10,000 petitions for a writ of certiorari. The Court grants and hears oral argument in about 75-80 cases. With so many cases concerning gay-marriage appealing to the Supreme Court this year, it is almost certain that 2013 will be the year that gay-marriage is argued in front of the nine justices of the Supreme Court.
Of the four DOMA cases and the proposition 8 case, none require the court to address the constitutionality of gay-marriage on a national level. In all four DOMA cases, section 3 of the law is the main portion being challenged. DOMA’s Section 3 — affecting more than 1,000 federal laws — restricts provisions in any federal statute to marriages between a man and a woman. The Supreme Court only needs to take up the issue of whether or not the federal government is required to validate the marriages of homosexual couples from states where gay marriage is legal.
In the proposition 8 case, the ninth circuit court of appeals ruled in such a way that affects only the state of California—ruling that if a state once grants a right to same-sex marriage it is unconstitutional to remove that right when it serves no other purpose than to “lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians.” The Supreme Court need only to decide if Proposition 8 is unconstitutional for removing a right already given.
These cases, however, do grant the court opportunity to decide whether or not gay marriage is a “right” under the Constitution. If the justices decide to rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage, then the legalization of gay marriage for the entire United States will be decided by nine non-elected persons.
Where gay marriage is legal, abundant changes in law, education, and society occur—religious freedom and the right to act on one’s conscience is threatened. With so much social change that gay marriage brings, one would think that the Supreme Court would do better to leave this sort of legislation up to the elected officials in Congress. If gay marriage is to be legalized throughout the United States, shouldn’t it be decided by the hundreds of law makers the people have chosen rather than nine appointed judges?