On July 31, attorneys for supporters of traditional marriage asked the Supreme Court to decide whether the U.S. Constitution forbids a state from defining marriage as the union of a man and woman.
On February 7, a panel the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in a 2–1 decision that the Constitution does not permit Californians to amend their California Constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman. In June, the full Ninth Circuit declined to review that panel decision, over the vigorous dissents of some judges.
Today, lawyers for supporters of traditional marriage in Hollingsworth v. Perry filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the justices to take this case to clarify that there is no fundamental right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution that overrides states in this area.
Lead counsel for Hollingsworth, former Reagan-Meese Justice Department heavyweight Charles Cooper—who formerly clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist—said, “The Supreme Court has made it very clear that the age-old definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is constitutional as a matter of state public policy.”
Austin Nimocks, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) who is co-counsel with Cooper on the case, added, “The Protectmarriage.com legal team looks forward to standing before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the people’s right to preserve this fundamental building block of civilization. The democratic process and the most important human institution—marriage—shouldn’t be overthrown based on the demands of Hollywood activists.”
This is now the second blockbuster same-sex marriage case offered to the High Court. Last month, former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, representing the U.S. House of Representatives, filed his cert petition in Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group v. Gill. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Clement is asking the Supreme Court to reverse the lower court and uphold DOMA.
These cases raise cultural issues of monumental importance, asking the question of what constitutes a family. One issue not widely discussed in public now—but tremendously important—is that once you reject the traditional, Western Civilization definition of marriage—which is currently legally protected—there are no neutral legal principles upon which you can limit marriage to two people if you simply say consenting adults have the right to marry partners of their choice. Thus, if you say that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, this right must also include the right to demand polygamy (also called polygyny—one man with multiple women), polyandry (one woman with multiple men), and polyamory (multiple men with multiple women).
So whether the justices take one of these cases or both of them, the bottom line is that the question of marriage will almost certainly be decided by the Supreme Court over the next year. And it will be a defining moment for American culture.
Breitbart News legal contributor Ken Klukowski is on faculty at Liberty University School of Law and a senior fellow for religious liberty at the Family Research Council.