John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council, released the following statement on June 26, 2013 regarding the US Supreme Court’s decisions on marriage:
Today the U.S. Supreme Court has handed down two major decisions on marriage with mixed results. The decisions are complex and will take days for legal analysis to understand the full implications. What we do know, is that there are both good and bad that have come from the court’s decisions.
In the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, the nation’s highest court has once again exceeded its proper authority and limited role as the interpreter of law. Justice Anton Scalia stated, “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.” The court’s decision was wrong because Congress should have the power to simply define the meaning of words like marriage in the other statutes that Congress itself has enacted. The DOMA decision was a narrow one and only effected federal benefits for same sex couples who are married in states which have adopted homosexual marriages.
Fortunately, in the California Proposition 8 case, the U.S. Supreme Court did not overturn Florida’s Marriage Protection Act enacted by 62% of Floridians in 2008. Nor did it overturn the 32 other states that have defined marriage through an act of direct democracy by amending their state constitutions. The court also did not force one standard upon all the states and instead respected states’ rights to define marriage. The court did not create a new sweeping right of same sex marriage and force that upon the rest of the country as many thought they might.
America, and Florida specifically, will continue the debate and advance the truths about why marriage is between a man and a woman and why it matters for children, civil society, and the common good of society. We will also be able to engage in a debate about the direct harms that same sex marriage causes to children, to public education, to small businesses, religious liberty and to free speech.
Marriage–the union of husband and wife–is timeless, universal, and special, particularly because children flourish best with a mother and a father. A total of 38 states and 94 percent of countries worldwide affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In addition every major world religion affirms marriage as the union of a man and a woman. No court decision or public opinion poll can affect that which is evident in biology, logic, common sense and the collective wisdom of human history.