Supremes Put Gay Marriage on Hold in Virginia.


Maybe the Supremes meant it when they said that marriage was a state issue.

If they did, a lot of federal judges around the country didn’t get the memo. It’s old hat by now, the steady click, click, click of dominoes falling as one federal judge after another overturns state laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman. This action has long seemed to turn statements made by the Supreme Court that marriage should be defined by the states and that the feds should stay out of it on their head.

The Supreme Court took the position that marriage is a state rather than a federal issue as part of their reasoning for overturning DOMA.

Whenever a lower court rules on something, the Supremes have a number of options. By far the simplest course of action in the case of the Virginia ruling would have been to let it stand. However, they have granted a stay. This is the third time they’ve done this.

What does it mean?

I wish I could tell you, but I don’t know. Maybe the Court meant it when it said that marriage was a state matter. If they did, these federal judges are overstepping. On the other hand, maybe they will use the occasion to rule in favor of gay marriage. Or, perhaps, they are taking small exceptions to parts of particular rulings. The Virginia case in particular may have been given a stay because of the high-handed way that the judicial panel tried to do an end run around the right to appeal.

Whatever comes of this, my feeling about the fight to defend traditional marriage is much the same as my attitude about defending the sanctity of human life: Don’t quit.

In case you didn’t know, that’s how all tough fights are eventually won.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

The US Supreme Court issued a stay Wednesday that keeps in place a ban on same-sex marriages in Virginia until after the high court has had an opportunity to consider the issue.

The high court action maintains the status quo in Virginia until the case is ultimately resolved by the justices. In addition, it sends a clear signal to other appeals courts and federal judges across the country that the Supreme Court expects them to issue similar stays in future cases.

… In the Virginia case, the action means the state’s requirement that marriage be limited to a union between one man and one woman will remain in place while the court considers whether to take up legal challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Virginia and other states.

The Supreme Court has twice before issued orders that federal appeals court decisions concerning same-sex marriages must be put on hold pending high court review. Wednesday’s action is consistent with those earlier moves.

The latest stay order came in response to a July 28 decision by the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. The appeals court panel voted 2 to 1 to strike down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. The court then refused to postpone its ruling to allow time for an appeal to the Supreme Court.


  • Manny

    A glimmer of hope perhaps. Personally I don’t have much hope on the issue. It strikes me that the American people have made a decision on this issue and it isn’t going our way. But I hope I’m wrong.

    • fredx2

      The American people have decided to give up their deeply held beliefs because they will be ridiculed for them. This is not winning an argument, it is bullying. Bullying can only prevail for a short period of time until the truth wins through.

      • Theodore Seeber

        I wish I had your optimism. Unfortunately, in my lifetime, I’ve seen Bullying prevail as near to permanently as my entire 4 decades on this planet will allow. I have NEVER seen the truth win yet.

        I cling to the faith that the battle isn’t permanent; that one day America will once again stand for Truth, and the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in that order of importance, will prevail. But at this point, I don’t think I will live to see it.

      • Manny

        Unfortunately the American people have decided that SSM makes sense. I disagree, but there seems to be a majority that says let them have it, it’s not hurting anyone.

        • hamiltonr

          You guys give up far too easily. What is, can and will change. It may take a while, but this tide will turn.

    • oregon nurse

      I actually think that many people have been brainwashed into believing that ssm is a Constitutional right and as such don’t want to stand in the way even when they object to it on a personal moral level. I think if the SCOTUS ruled that marriage is not a right of all adults, open to individual definition, and the states hold the right to define who is eligible for marriage, it might reduce such people’s support for ssm significantly. When put to a vote, public opinion has always historically been against it. We shouldn’t give up.

      As Scalia made clear, the DOMA decision was about the federal gov not denying equal rights to ss couples when those couples’ marriages were legitimately recognized by the state they lived in. By definition, this put state law first. It only addressed equal treatment by the feds where ssm was legal, it did NOT tell states they had to make ssm legal. He also predicted that was exactly how the decision would be misinterpreted. So I think there is still good reason for hope.

  • Theodore Seeber

    I have very little hope left. In many states, there’s nobody left with any standing to defend traditional marriage.

    • fredx2

      Don’t get distracted by a well funded, well publicized political campaign, designed to present gay marriage as inevitable. Gay billionaires like Tim Gill are pumping lots of money into this thing. The Federal court decisions that have allowed gay marriage are pathetically weak. Their Due Process analysis is so lacking its shameful. . The kind that if you did this in law school, you would be sent to the back of the class.
      Even in the Windsor decision, the court emphasized that states are the ones that should make marriage law, not the Federal government.
      No, the fight is not over by a long shot.
      Even if the court decides in favor of gay marriage, the fight will never be over, because gay marriage is simply an impossibility. They can choose to call them “marriages” but they never will be real marriages. Think Roe v Wade – the court is going to get involved in another one of those? Not likely. And now, abortion is getting less and less popular. More and more states are passing statutes that challenge the practice.

      • Theodore Seeber

        My problem is more that in my state, such changes are near-dictatorial. The moral rural portion of the state has 1/3rd the population of the urban immoral portion, and it is the immoral portion that rules state government. Sexual libertines have held the offices of governor and attorney general for over 20 years now, and there is no sign of possible change. So when the 10 year old change to our constitution in defense of traditional marriage got to federal court, there was nobody left to defend it at all that the gay judge appointed by Obama would accept as having standing in his court. For Oregon, the fix is in, and Christ has lost- Divorce, Abortion and Euthanasia were already quite popular here, and I don’t see gay marriage as the bottom of this particular slippery slope either. The sexual libertines will not be satisfied until erotic cannibalism comes back (consensual, of course, since that is their only moral that they accept).

  • Lark62

    Gay people exist. Gay relationships exist – some of the couples getting married have been in monogamous relationships for decades. Gay families exist and are raising children.

    Serious question – let’s say opponents of SSM win completely and gay marriage is outlawed everywhere – what exactly do you expect will happen then?

    It is one thing to fight the battle. It is exhilarating. But what do you realistically expect upon winning? As in:

    If gay marriage is illegal, then:

    Yes/No. There will be no more gays
    Yes/No. Gays will no longer form decades long relationships
    Yes/No. Gays will all be celibate
    Yes/No. Gays will not raise children
    Yes/No. Children with gay parents will be removed from their families and placed in foster care, despite known poor outcomes of foster care
    Yes/No. Gay families will continue to exist, but the children will be legal strangers to one parent
    Yes/No. Gay families will continue to exist, but will need to spend thousands in legal fees for inheritance, child custody and other basic legal protections
    Yes/No. ____________?____________

    I’m not in any way trying to be snarky, and I did my best to be neutral. It is one thing to say SSM is illegal, but what then? What is outcome opponents of SSM realistically hope for? It is because I don’t know the answer that I find it hard to empathize with this side of the battle.

    • oregon nurse

      Let me turn this around. What is so important about being able to ‘marry’ if all the legal and financial perks of marriage can be conferred through a civil partnership?
      Why is it so important to erase any distinction between an always sterile ss relationship and a heterosexual one?
      Civil marriage law has always been about protecting and facilitating procreation and the biological family as the stability and the future of society.

      • pesq87

        Oregon Nurse, your last statement is just … inaccurate. Rebecca often points out how this same discussion just goes round in circles, and she’s right. Because your last sentence has been posted on this blog many times before. And then it gets refuted:

        The response is that, in truth, we have a host of laws and public policies governing parenting and a separate host of laws and public policies governing marriage. Neither is dependent upon the other. Sure, the nuclear family does best when they use both sets of laws together and to their best advantage. But to conflate marriage and parenting is to misdescribe our system of laws. And none of what I’ve stated is new public policy.

        • hamiltonr

          No reason to pick on Oregon Nurse pesq87.

          • pesq87

            R, truly didnt mean to pick on an individual. I just realized that my response was likely to bring about a reprimand from the moderator ;)
            about the same old argument going in circles and wanted to head that off (or rather, not be the one blamed!)

            Nonetheless, I will try to be more careful with the tone that i convey.

      • Lark62

        A gay coupled, married in a different state, moved to Florida and cared for partner A’s elderly parents. Partner A died. Partner B was committed to continuing to care for her elderly in-laws. However, since she was not considered married in Florida she was denied Social Security Survivor benefits. She was forced to sell the home and three people are homeless.

        Yes, when a long-term couple is denied the benefits of marriage there are bad results. Real people are harmed.

        This is from Huffington Post in the last two weeks. I’m sorry I could not find the article again to post the link.

    • Barbara

      This is a very good question and I wish someone would answer it. This is why I am not sure of my position on the gay marriage question. Gay people are already raising children in committed relationships. I personally would prefer to focus my energies on banning ART, surrogacy and the like to keep both heterosexual and homosexuals from cooking up anymore vanity children and let gay people create their own commitment ceremonies.

  • Asemodeus

    “The Supreme Court took the position that marriage is a state rather than
    a federal issue as part of their reasoning for overturning DOMA.”

    Wrong. DOMA was overturned because it violated the 5th amendment. They used a federal amendment to overturn a federal law. Anything else was just fluff used to credit this position.

  • FW Ken

    I read something interesting the other day. Of all the bodily systems that make us – circulatory, nervous, lymphatic, and so one, all are complete in each human being, except one. The reproductive system is dividied between male and female. That’s why same-sex marriage does not exist, whatever some court or church says. At base, it is the union of the male and female reproduction sub-systems that makes a marriage possible.

    This is why marriage pre-dates any known religioun or political system. Certainly, some religious enbue marriage with spiritual or mystical factors, but those are secondary. Governments use marriage for their own purposes, but at base, all they can do is recognize some relationships/unions as worth special privilege. Marriage is an anthropological fact, rooted in biology.

  • pagansister

    How do you rationalize that being attracted to the same gender is a mental illness? The couples I know are far from that. They are just people who happen to be attracted to a person who is the same gender they are. Simple. They live, love and work just like us heterosexuals.

    • oregon nurse

      Let’s put something into perspective in terms of medicine and mental illness.

      Gender dysphoria is considered a disorder, i.e., not normal. It is defined by the DSM, which is for mental and behavioral disorders/illness. But the medical community ‘treats’ this disorder through the use of genital mutilation and dangerous hormonal drugs. An extreme reaction to an admitted mental disorder don’t you think?

      Let’s add to that. Some people who undergo transgender surgery end up as functional homosexuals. For instance a man who may be sexually attracted to women thinks he is a woman (lesbian) trapped in a man’s body. So instead of having a natural sexual relationship with a woman, he mutilates his body to become a ‘woman’ and lives thereafter as a lesbian. And the medical community facilitates this delusional thinking because a) there is political pressure to accept sexual perversion as OK, and b) once homosexuality is no longer called a mental disorder then surgery to turn a person into one has to be considered treatment.

      Put all religious morality aside and just look at it logically. Why on earth would you take it for granted that the psychiatric community is acting medically rather than politically when it comes to sexual disorders?

  • hamiltonr

    Manny, you put too much stock in the Republicans. It was never more than a vote-getter for them, just as the Ds view it as a voter now. The Rs and Ds are about getting power and keeping power. Nothing else.

    This thing will turn around because, as Martin Luther King said, “a lie cannot live.” Faithful people who stay the course will do the yeoman work necessary to do the turning. In time, the political parties will follow these faithful people because they see a political advantage in it.

    Trust God and do your part.

    • Manny

      Yes, trust God. All issues are politically driven for – and this should not be a surprise – for politicians. ;) Oh I don’t intend to change my mind. I’m just stating a political reality.

      • hamiltonr

        Actually, Manny, I see you as one of the good soldiers, my brother in Christ. That’s why I argue with you so much. Sounds odd, but it’s true. :-)

        • Manny

          I have fun arguing with you. :)

          • hamiltonr


  • FW Ken

    I didn’t say they were.

  • FW Ken

    No, in essence I did not. I said nothing about procreation, only the biological system. Try reading what I wrote.

    And yes, there are animals that mate for life, as if that matters.

  • FW Ken

    Reproductive systems are not reproduction. They are biological structures, which are, in fact, divided between the male and the female. Yes, marriage is more than biology, but it is not less. Without union of the structures, there is no marriage. That’s one reason societies have often made unconsummated marriages easily annulable, and some cultures have made checking the sheets virtually a ritual.

    If you disagree with that concept, that’s fine with me. But quit misrepresenting what I wrote.