Connect with Point of View   to get exclusive commentary and updates

Obergefell is Policy

Official Photograph of Justice Anthony Kennedy
Penna Dexternever miss viewpoints

Over three years ago, the US Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples. The ruling has resulted in all states being required to perform and recognize same-sex marriages. This was a 5-4 decision, along liberal/conservative ideological lines. The swing vote was now-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. He wrote the opinion for the majority.

It turns out Justice Kennedy’s thinking had little to do with the Constitution. He sat down recently with Bloomberg TV host David Rubenstein and revealed that, for him, Obergefell v. Hodges was more of a policy preference than a decision based on constitutional reasoning.

Justice Kennedy is Catholic. He stated in this interview that, because of his religious beliefs, he surprised himself in coming to this decision. He said he was concerned about correcting an injustice for the future. He brought up adoption by gay couples, saying: “As I thought about this, and I thought about it more and more, it seemed wrong — unconstitutional — to say that over 100,000 adopted children could not have their parents married.”

But, redefining marriage deprives those children of one biological parent. That’s constitutional?

Justice Kennedy also told host David Rubenstein that, “Your duty in every case is to ask why you are doing what you are about to do.” But where’s the part about a justice’s duty to interpret the constitution? Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg sums up Justice Kennedy’s role in this ruling: “He decided he thought it was a good idea, so he decided to impose it on the country.”

So glad he’s off the court.

Maybe someday a court will return the definition of marriage to the one we had for millennia that does so much good in a society. But, in 2019, we can move forward on marriage. In this post-Obergefell climate, we must explain how natural marriage preserves a healthy culture and enact policies that support and encourage it.

penna's vp small

Obergefell is Policy

00:00 /
Sign up for Viewpoints