Five moral matters are about to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, in two of the many civil marriage disputes that have been percolating for 22 years in agencies, legislatures, and courtrooms across the nation.
The Court, yesterday and today, will hear oral arguments challenging two same-gender marriage bans. California’s Proposition 8 bans civil marriage for same-gender couples and families, and forces them into second-class domestic partnership. The federal Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) ignores civilly married couples and families whenever spouses are of the same gender, and denies them access to 1,138 federal programs, including most military pay and benefits. These are the first two marriage equality cases to get Supreme Court reviews since 1967, when all laws banning interracial couples from civil marriage were declared unconstitutional.
In these and many similar lawsuits now underway, looming over the cases, the judges, and America are five moral questions. In order to recognize the moral questions, one must first understand the disputes, and then hear the arguments.