Bob Unruh / WND
Just as homosexual “marriage” advocates were hoping they could point the U.S. Supreme Court to an unbroken string of federal court rulings advancing their cause, a federal judge in Alabama blinked, giving traditional marriage proponents hope that the issue will be left up to states.
The high court justices will be hearing arguments on the dispute in just weeks. In recent years, federal judge after federal judge has determined that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike the federal Defense of Marriage Act meant state definitions of marriage as only the union of a man and a woman also had to go.
However, majority justices on the Alabama Supreme Court argued that U.S. Supreme Court opinion doesn’t support the argument.
In its order that probate judges in Alabama issue marriage certificates, only to man-and-woman couples, the state justices noted: “An open question exists as to whether Windsor’s ‘equal dignity’ notion works in the same direction toward state laws concerning marriage as it did toward DOMA. The Windsor court stated that ‘the history of DOMA’s enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the states in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute.”
The Alabama court wrote: “In Windsor, New York’s law allowed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses. Thus, the ‘dignity’ was conferred by the state’s own choice, a choice that was ‘without doubt a proper exercise of its sovereign authority within our federal system, all in the way that the Framers of the Constitution intended.’”
But it then raised a question: Why, if New York could make that choice, would Alabama be deprived of exactly the same choice?
“The problem with DOMA was that it interfered with New York’s ‘sovereign’ choice,” the Alabama court said. “Alabama ‘used its historic and essential authority to define the marital relations’ and made a different ‘sovereign’ choice than New York. If New York was free to make that choice, it would seem inconsistent to say that Alabama is not free to make its own choice, especially given that ‘the recognition of civil marriages is central to state domestic relations law applicable to its residents and citizens.’”
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