Statement by Faith & Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed
Today’s Supreme Court opinions on marriage are a stunning and indefensible display of judicial activism. The Defense of Marriage Act merely codified what federal law already stated with regard to marital benefits. It passed Congress with a bipartisan majority large enough to pass a constitutional amendment and was signed into law by Bill Clinton. There has never been any attempt by either party to repeal or modify it. Social Security, income tax, family and medical leave law, Medicare, and other federal programs defined marriage as between a man and a woman long before DOMA became law. For the Supreme Court to rule otherwise is an Orwellian act of judicial fiat. We will now seek the passage of federal legislation to remedy this situation as much as possible given the parameters of the decision.
The Supreme Court remanding the California marriage case back to the district court that overturned Proposition 8 endangers federalism as well as the most time-honored institution in the history of Western civilization. If states have the right to set marriage and family law as they have for 226 years, then the people of California were fully within their rights to define marriage as between a man and a woman by popular referendum. For a federal court to rule that upholding traditional marriage is ipso facto discriminatory is bad law and a jurisprudential fantasy of epic proportion. Sadly, these twin decisions will undermine the already low respect for the federal courts and the rule of law. They underscore why people of faith must remain engaged and energetic in seeing genuine conservatives nominated and confirmed to the federal courts.