The Supreme Court has no choice but to uphold the decision of lower courts to overturn California's Proposition 8, and to rule the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) an unconstitutional violation of the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Neither of these laws are capable of holding up to scrutiny when the motivations for their passage, and the very limited consequences of allowing same-sex marriage, are weighed against the rights of a minority group of individuals.
In the case of Prop 8, those seeking to uphold the ban are making arguments solely on a rational basis. According to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute, proponents of the ban argue that "government has a legitimate interest in promoting opposite-sex marriage in furtherance of responsible procreation and child rearing," and that the addition of same-sex couples to the institution of marriage would not promote that interest. They also assert that "the state has an interest in 'proceeding with caution before redefining a bedrock social institution.'" Those seeking to keep same-sex marriage legal in California claim their Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process under the law were violated by the proposition due to their specific exclusion from the institution of marriage because of their sexual identities.
Essentially, proponents of the ban are claiming that the most important reason marriage should stay between a male and female is to promote procreation, and that same-sex marriage fails to promote the vital government interest in procreation while threatening to, in some ill-defined way, destroy the value of heterosexual matrimony. Proponents of the ban must think that, somehow, homosexuality is going to lead to a decrease in population. Maybe they missed the simple fact that gay individuals are, for the most part, already failing to procreate.
If procreation is such a vital government interest, it almost makes sense that we should establish mandatory 'sexaterias' to which every unmarried legal adult must report on a regular basis, say once or twice a week. Heck, this would even help resolve the abortion dispute - with so many children running around, we'd finally have to come up with a way to care for them all as a community, maybe in combination schools/sex-training camps! What a Brave New World that would be.
Obviously proponents of the ban aren't trying to create a Huxley-esque world, but the suggestion that, in this day where the human population is exploding, procreation is the most important reason for protecting heterosexual marriage makes me wonder how we suddenly jumped into the Battlestar Galactica universe where we'd "better start having babies" to rebuild humanity — and where was I when that happened?
The proponents of the ban also claim that we are unsure of the fitness of gay couples or individuals in the role of parents, despite the accepted multitudes of scholarly studies showing homosexual parents to be just as fit and competent as any other parent. Let me just share with you a section title from the amicus curie brief for the case submitted by the American Psychological Association and several other highly reputable sources: Gay Men and Lesbians Form Stable, Committed Relationships That Are Equivalent to Heterosexual Relationships in Essential Aspects. But, much like the "theory" of evolution or global warming, what do scientists and scholars really know?
While I believe the proponents' logic is fatally flawed, the Supreme Court will walk a seemingly fine line in deciding both of these cases. On one hand, there is a minority group of people wishing to participate in an institution that has been an expression of human societies as far back as history records, a fairly compelling reason to grant the (loosely) estimated four million or so homosexuals the right to marry. On the other, the right to marriage is not guaranteed in the constitution of the United States — theoretically, a state could ban all marriage (as Texas did accidentally in 2005).
But again, that's not the world we live in. The multitude of rights granted to married couples in the states and at the federal level means that the institution of marriage is a de facto law throughout the nation. Not that all minority groups deserve protection (for any number of reasons, think about the mess something like polygamy could create), but when a group has sufficient cause and requests rights they have been denied, purely thanks to a fact of their biology, there is no tenable reason to deny them when no harm can be shown.
Justice Alito voiced concern that "[same-sex marriage] may turn out to be a good thing, it may turn out to be a bad thing . . . [it] is newer than cellphones and the Internet." It's time for the court to get with it, look back at the years homosexuals hid in fear of ridicule or worse, and grant a single civil right that will show the rest of the world (Uganda, anybody?) that discrimination based on sexual identity is archaic and not to be tolerated.
There is no alternative, the Supreme Court must make the prescient decision and grant the right to marry to all human couples under state and federal laws. Anything less would set the fight for civil rights by minority groups back by years and shame all Americans.