Today, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in the case known as Obergefell v. Hodges. The decision in this case will eventually determine the legal definition of marriage in the fifty states. Few issues loom so large over the nation’s future. Christians should pray for the nine justices of the Supreme Court today, aware of the magnitude of the issues before the Court. Love of neighbor also means that we pray that marriage be honored as the union of a man and a woman. Given the question before the Court, readers will find below an updated essay on the appellate court decision that set the stage for the main case to be heard today.
Some arguments just have to be made, and made well. In the case of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the moment for such an argument arrived late in 2014 when that court had to rule on appeals over the question of same-sex marriage coming from the four states in its federal jurisdiction, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In each case, Federal District Courts had struck down measures banning same-sex marriage. The question then loomed before the three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit. That court’s decision set the stage for the oral arguments that will take place at the Supreme Court of the United States today.
Until the Sixth Circuit’s decision, no federal appeals court had ruled against same-sex marriage in the aftermath of the U. S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision striking down the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]. That changed when the panel of the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed the measure limiting marriage to one man and one woman in the four covered states. The decision sent shock waves throughout the nation.
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