Today’s Supreme Court news is one for the history books. As Albert Mohler noted, “It was the day the nation’s highest court took one of the lowest paths of least resistance.”
I initially thought that by refusing to take up the case, the Supreme Court was signaling their desire to leave this as an issue for states to decide. That initial view was not correct. There are other layers and realities, so to speak, that make this issue decidedly not left to the states. Ideally, it would be left to the states and its citizens. But between the Supreme Court and the people, there’s an intermediary—the state, federal, and circuit courts; and they haven’t been any help on this issue thus far (except in Louisiana).
What have others said?
Russell Moore reasoned on what the response of the Christian Church in American must be:
The second, though, is to respond with a siege mentality. We wring our hands or shake our fists at the cultural moment in a way that also detracts from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We live in an era in which marriage is redefined and confused. So did many of our forefathers and foremothers, which is why the Bible is consistently equipping the churches to live in a world of prostitution and adultery and so on. The sexual revolution didn’t start at Woodstock. It is always with us.
We ought to have the confidence of people who have heard a word from God and the compassion of a people who are on a mission with God. The Supreme Court can do many things, but the Supreme Court cannot get Jesus back into his cemetery plot.
Albert Mohler sees the denial of review as the vindication of Antonin Scalia:
What happened today at the Court — or perhaps what didn’t happen — is a direct vindication of Scalia’s warnings. He saw it coming and he warned us.
What the Court’s majority has now decided, evidently, is to allow shoes to fall at the hands of lower courts that will follow its reasoning and obey its signals.
The news from the Court today means a sad vindication for Justice Antonin Scalia. It means an even sadder day for marriage in America.
Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation views the Court’s actions as “an unfortunate setback for sound constitutional self-government and a setback for a healthy marriage culture.”
In a system of limited constitutional self-government, the people and their elected representatives should be making decisions about marriage policy. And there are reasonable arguments on both sides of this debate. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the Constitution.
I weighed in on the matter over at ERLC.com. As I write:
The Supreme Court punted. For now, same-sex marriage remains a matter within the states. It should remain there. But even that needs qualification in light of how the courts have acted on this issue. Even within the states, the signs are discouraging. Increasingly, marriage’s definition is coming from the courts within these states and circuits, rather than through citizens. Today’s actions by the Supreme Court reinforces the troubling trend that individual states and its citizens are left unprotected from the actions of judges that view themselves as Philosopher-Kings. The full resolution to the problem before us is for judges to refrain from ruling on marriage’s definition altogether.
Still, SCOTUS at best has only delayed the inevitable. Legal same-sex marriage in all 50 states—including a constitutional right to SSM—is a fait accompli at this point. It’s like watching water roll down the windshield. You can debate what track the water will take to get there, but it’s going to get there one way or the other.