Today, the US Supreme Court invalidated portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and an amendment to the California Constitution (Proposition 8) defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. I have mixed feelings on these two rulings. The attitudes of some who celebrate these rulings is having disastrous consequences for family and marriage -- the crumbling foundation of a health society that already is in very serious trouble. Today, those people are dancing on the sincere, Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs of fellow Americans. I predict that next will come the legitimization of incestuous marriage between immediate family members (eg father to daughter or son, etc.), polygamous marriage, and other practices not generally accepted by today's society. On the other hand, today's SCOTUS opinions hopefully will play a role in pushing government back into its proper role -- that of protecting all of our God-given human rights rather than redefining or dictating arbitrary rights. But, homosexual-rights activists tend to vote exclusively for big government.
According my reading of the US Constitution, there is no legitimate role for the central government in defining marriage or identifying benefits related to marriage (US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 and the First and Tenth Amendments). From that standpoint, today's Supreme Court opinions are correct. If we, the People, really want the central government to have any role in marriage, an amendment to the Constitution would be appropriate. Otherwise, government must stay out of marriage and the family.
Today's DOMA opinion affects perhaps thousands of pages federal, state, and local law and regulation. The resulting bureaucratic and political nightmare has not yet begun. Experience tells me that laws and regulations will only grow even more oppressive, entangled, and incomprehensible. I believe the best course of action would to simply remove all legislation and regulation (including tax law) that benefits one class of persons (eg married) over another (unmarried) in any way. Today's SCOTUS opinions aren't really about homosexual marriage. They are about government treating one class of people differently from another.
Unlike the central government, the states might have some authority to define and regulate marriage where allowed by their respective constitutions. Although legitimized by the respective state constitutions, I generally hold laws defining marriage and family as unwise, unnecessary, and counterproductive. States are generally obligated to give "[f]ull Faith and Credit...to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." (US Constitution, Article 4, Section 1). Therefore, the majority of states which define marriage only as between a man and a woman, will likely soon be forced to acknowledge marriages performed in other states which do not conform to that definition.
For virtually all of human history, marriage was purely a family and religious contract or covenant. As a religious contract, marriage is protected by the First Amendment -- however the religious institutions (including atheism and secularism) chose to define it. As with other religious concepts, adherents of one religion (including atheism and secularism) have no right to impose their religious beliefs upon others by power of government or otherwise. I therefore reject the insistence of heterosexual marriage upon homosexuals just as much as I reject the insistence of homosexual marriage upon homosexuals.
I defend the constitutionally-protected right of all religions to define the standards of worthiness for their followers provided the rights of innocent persons are not violated. Therefore a religion that views premarital or homosexual marriage as sinful must be respected and protected. Likewise, a religion that views homosexual marriage as acceptable must also be respected and protected. However, neither must be forced or expected to endorse or practice a variation of marriage they find immoral or objectionable. Religious bodies have a constitutionally-guaranteed right to admit into full fellowship, or employ in a religious role only those persons who live the standards of conduct defined by that religion.
I believe that control over marriage should be entirely removed from government and returned to religious control except in cases where the marriage partners prefer a government-controlled marriage or a religion defines marriage in a way that is harmful to individual rights such as child marriage, forced marriage, or marital practices that are clearly harmful to society. Only in recent decades has government inserted itself into marriage (initially to preserve the purity of the white race) -- generally with very serious adverse effects, especially broken families, unwed parenthood, and multi-generational poverty. Government historically does a very poor job of defining and enforcing morality, yet we seem to keep demanding it. In my opinion, the only role in marriage and family for government is to provide a process recording of marriages where the partners so desire and for enforcing the marital contract where necessary such as divorce.
Marriage is a formal relationship established by God -- not government. Until very recent years, marriage has always been defined as the union of a man and a woman. I accept my church's stand that marriage is still the union of a man and a woman. I accept my church's stand that homosexual behavior is contrary to Scripture. I expect my constitutionally-protected right to hold such beliefs to be respected by all. However, it is none of my business, nor of government, how others choose to define marriage as a religious covenant. In some historical and current cases, the definition of marriage has been extended to include multiple spouses, but always of the opposite sex. Today's opinions regarding homosexual marriage deviate from the wisdom accumulated throughout human history from experience and from divine guidance.
The most troubling news today was that the Supreme Court seems to think that churches have no say in what defines morality. Churches, apparently, have no First Amendment rights (SCOTUS needs to read the First Amendment.) The central government is already imposing its will on moral issues in the churches (eg forcing churches to fund medical procedures and drugs they find immoral). Whence then, does the definition of morality come? From leftist judges, leftist politicians, leftist journalists, and leftist activists? Again, government (especially leftist government agents) does a very poor job of defining and enforcing morality. Those who denounced the churches for voicing a constitutionally-protected opinion on California's Proposition 8 and who rejoice today over the SCOTUS repudiation of the rights and role of the churches have no idea what they're doing to freedom of speech and of religion. It's gonna get a lot worse. I suspect that is what some activists want even more than homosexual marriage itself.
"America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within." — Josef StalinWhatever benefits some people think they are gaining from today's rulings will be only temporary, superficial, artificial, and, in the end, destructive to themselves and to those they love. One cannot defy God and gain happiness.
We need smarter, and moral, voters.
BTW: One lesson that the Left must learn from today's opinions is that a republican (representative) form of government protects the rights of minorities (eg homosexuals). Democracy -- the voice of the majority (eg Proposition 8) does not. That is why a republican form of government is mandated in the US Constitution (Article 4, Section 4).