|Supreme Court approves same-sex marriages|
|June 26, 2015 Jerry Purvis|
In a landmark ruling decided by a slim 5-4 vote, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that bans on same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. Officials in Nebraska have said they will adhere to the decision.
Scotts Bluff County Clerk Vera Dulaney, whose office handles marriage licenses, said according to the county attorney, they are to go ahead and issue marriage licenses to anyone.
U.S. Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska issued a statement that “There are good people with strongly-held beliefs on both sides of this issue. Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, it is my hope that all Nebraskans will treat one another with dignity and respect.”
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said the state will comply with the ruling of the United States Supreme Court and will not enforce any Nebraska laws that are contrary to their decision. However, Peterson said he agreed with the dissent of Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent.”
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said the state will follow the law and respect the ruling outlined by the high court, although 70 percent of Nebraskans approved an amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Writing for the majority in the Supreme Court decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy cited that state-enacted defense of marriage laws unconstitutionally impose a disability on an entire class of citizens, which in effect tells them their relationship is less worthy of marriage than others.
The brief concluded “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those person as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
As with any controversial case, the decision generated negative feedback among the other Justices. Antonin Scalia called it a “judicial Putsch,” writing in dissent that the issue wasn’t about what the laws of marriage say. “It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.”
Kennedy’s brief did state it was important to protect the First Amendment rights of persons of faith who object to the ruling on religious grounds. How that will play out in the future is still unknown.