Opponents of same-sex marriage are applauding the Supreme Court’s decision to rule on a California ballot that outlaws the practice, as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Two federal appeals courts have already ruled against the marriage act, or DOMA, saying it unlawfully treats legally married gay couples differently than straight couples. The federal law, signed in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, blocks gays from claiming the same federal tax breaks and other benefits allowed for male-female spouses.
Activists on both sides of the gay-marriage issue said the Supreme Court is doing the right thing in reviewing the cases
John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, told CNN the the decision "is a strong signal that the court will reverse the lower courts" and uphold California's Proposition 8 that outlawed same-sex unions.
"That is the right outcome based on the law and based on the principle that voters hold the ultimate power over basic policy judgments and their decisions are entitled to respect," said Eastman.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who chairs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ marriage defense subcommittee, said the high court’s decision is "is a significant moment for our nation.
"I pray the Court will affirm the fact that the institution of marriage, which is as old as humanity and written in our very nature, is the union of one man and one woman," Cordileone said in a statement from the conference.
"Marriage is the foundation of a just society, as it protects the most vulnerable among us, children. It is the only institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers together. We pray for the court, that its deliberations may be guided by truth and justice so as to uphold marriage's true meaning and purpose."
Meanwhile, Jim Campbell, a lawyer with the conservative group, Alliance Defending Freedom, told the Christian Science Monitor that Americans have a right to preserve traditional marriage.
“Marriage between a man and a woman is a universal good that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western civilization,” he said. “Marriage expresses the truth that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life.”
Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com told National Public Radio that arguing the case gives supporters of traditional marriage a chance at a fair hearing. His organization put Proposition 8 on the ballot and asked for the Supreme Court review.
“We are delighted that the nation's highest court will decide whether to uphold the will of more than seven million Californians who voted to preserve the unique definition of marriage as only between one man and one woman,” Pugno said.
Penny Nance of Concerned Women of America told the Christian Post that the Supreme Court’s decision means it will have “the opportunity to affirm our most cherished values by preserving the American people's right to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
She maintains that people who “persist in forcing their preferred redefinition of marriage on the country by rule of law stand squarely against everything on which this country was founded — most notably against the freedom of religion, which they argue should be suppressed whenever it interferes with their newly discovered constitutional 'right' to
homosexual 'marriage.' "
On the other side of the issue, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights organization, said it was "a milestone day for equal justice under the law."
"As the court has ruled 14 times in the past, marriage is a fundamental right and I believe they will side with liberty, freedom and equality, moving us toward a more perfect union as they have done in the past," he said.
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