Defending the family

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What Will the Court Do to Marriage?

TownHall Reports:

If you get your news primarily from entertainment shows or social media, you might think that same-sex marriage has already been recognized as a constitutional right.

In fact, the Supreme Court held just the opposite in 1972 and has since refused several opportunities to revisit that ruling.

A new hearing will be held on April 28, and defenders of the traditional definition of marriage are just now having their say.

The first of those pro-marriage briefs to reach my attention was filed on behalf of 57 Republican members of the U.S. House and Senate.

It was written by a brilliant young lawyer, D. John Sauer, who is a grandson of my friend Dr. Dean Sauer, an influential conservative activist in the 1950s and '60s.

The brief outlines seven principles of constitutional adjudication declared by the Supreme Court in the last 25 years, and it shows how each of those principles counsels against a sweeping decision redefining marriage for all 50 states.

Many of those principles have been supported by Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom everyone expects to provide the deciding vote for whatever the Supreme Court decides.

The first is the principle of federalism, which Justice Kennedy has said "was the unique contribution of the Framers to political science and political theory."

It was "the insight of the Framers," Kennedy continued, "that freedom was enhanced by the creation of two governments, not one."

Second is the idea that the states are "laboratories of democracy" for devising solutions to divisive domestic issues, especially those where, as Justice Kennedy said, "the best solution is far from clear."

Third, the Court said it should be cautious when asked to rule in an "unchartered area" that lacks "guideposts for responsible decision-making."

If marriage no longer requires both a husband and a wife to be legally valid, there's no clear boundary that separates marital status from other domestic relationships that are not entitled to public support.

The foregoing seven principles are not the most important reasons for upholding traditional marriage, but they ought to persuade the judges who hold the power to decide.

If they don't, the other branches of government should use their constitutional powers to check and balance a bad decision.

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Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.