It was outrageous for the Supreme Court to invalidate Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and allow the potential invalidation of California’s Proposition 8, a law passed with the support of more than 7 million voters. Although Wednesday was a sad day for democracy and for marriage, this is not the end of the battle.
The vast majority of states recognize marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman. Only 13 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex “marriage,” and nothing the Supreme Court just did changes that fact. If anything, the court’s opinion in United States v. Windsor, the DOMA case, shows that the federal government must respect the decision of states to define marriage as they choose.
The National Organization for Marriage intends to vigorously urge Congress to safeguard the remaining portion of DOMA, which protects the right of states to refuse to recognize same-sex “marriages” performed elsewhere.
It should also be noted that Proposition 8 has not been invalidated, as many in the media have erroneously reported. The case was dealt with on a narrow procedural basis; the appellate court decision was vacated, and it now goes back to the trial court to decide what will happen with the law.
It’s the view of many Americans that Proposition 8 remains the law of the land in California unless a higher court invalidates it at some point in the future.
That said, Wednesday’s procedural ruling is an illegitimate decision. California’s governor and attorney general, ignoring their oaths of office and duty to uphold the law, refused to defend Proposition 8 because they opposed the law, and the Supreme Court rewarded their dereliction of duty.
• Brian S. Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage.