The Supreme Court issued two controversial rulings today on cases pertaining to gay marriage. In Windsor v. United States, the Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment. The case was brought by Edith Windsor, a New York resident who was legally married in Canada. She filed suit against the federal government when she was forced to pay estate taxes on the inheritance she received from her deceased partner.
"First, I want to reassure you that this has no direct impact on the state of Georgia," stated Westmoreland. "Our state ban against gay marriage still stands. Unfortunately, the Court's ruling today is yet another example of judicial activism run amuck. The Defense of Marriage Act was passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. It has been the law of the land since 1996. We need a uniform federal policy regarding marriage across the country and since the vast majority of states do not recognize gay marriage, it only makes sense for the federal government to respect that. The Bible clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman and is a sacred union under God. This ruling is a major blow for the American family and for the sanctity of marriage."
The Supreme Court also held that the outside group defending California's Proposition 8, or Prop 8, did not have standing to defend the law. Prop 8 was a ballot initiative passed in California that outlawed same-sex marriage. The law was challenged in court and was struck down. State officials declined to bring an appeal, so proponents of the ballot measure tried to carry the appeal on their own. The Supreme Court ruled this outside group does not have standing to defend the law if the state declines to defend it. By not ruling on the merits of the case, the Court's decision today effectively reinstates the ban on Prop 8 -- allowing same-sex couples to get married in the state of California. Like the Windsor decision, this does not impact Georgia -- just California.
"I'm not pleased the Court decided to punt on this issue, but the core problem here is that officials in the State of California have refused to enforce a law that was voted on by the people of California," stated Westmoreland. "The people of California voted to ban gay marriage, and state officials should enforce the law of the land -- the will of the people -- even if they don't personally agree with it. What we have seen in California is liberal elitists who run the state's government forcing their opinion and their values on the people. It's disgraceful."