Background on the Supreme Court Marriage Cases
Why is the Supreme Court presently considering marriage cases?
After the Court's 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor striking down the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act, many state marriage laws were challenged in federal courts. Mostly as a consequence of judicial action - federal and state - marriage has effectively been redefined in 37 states and the District of Columbia. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth District Circuit, however, upheld the marriage laws in the four states in that court's jurisdiction - Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. In January, the Supreme Court granted petitions to review the Sixth Circuit decision.
What are the questions before the Supreme Court?
1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
What are the consequences in each scenario?
If the Court answers in the negative on both questions, states will be allowed to define and recognize marriages as the union between one man and one woman.
If the Court answers the first question in the affirmative, then marriage will be constitutionally redefined throughout the country, requiring same-sex "marriage" everywhere.
Even if the court were to answer no on the first question but yes on the second, the net effect would be the same - persons could simply travel to states that license same-sex "marriages" and their home state would be required to recognize them as "married" there.
Those who continue to advocate the true definition of marriage (a union between one man and one woman) will be viewed as proponents of discrimination and will be increasingly marginalized in law and society at large.
When is a decision expected?
The Court heard oral arguments on April 28. A ruling is expected by the end of June.
What is our Church's position on the Marriage Cases?
The ACNA College of Bishops will meet in the next couple of weeks. This will certainly be on their agenda. It is safe to say that the ACNA will continue to support the right of states to maintain and recognize the meaning of marriage in law as the union of one man and one woman. Leadership of the parish will respond accordingly.
(adapted from the US College of Catholic Bishops)