Nevada Pro-Marriage Lawyers Ask SCOTUS: Must States Redefine Marriage?


From the SCOTUSblog:

Lawyers for a group defending Nevada’s ban on same-sex marriage asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon to decide the most basic constitutional question in that controversy: must a state allow gays and lesbians to get married?  That is an issue that no other pending case at the Court has raised.  The new case involves a Nevada federal judge’s ruling that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and the new petition seeks to defend that even while asking the Justices to step in.

“After twenty years of intense judicial and extra-judicial engagement with the question of the public meaning of marriage, the Nation is now looking to this Court for the federal constitutional answer to the fundamental marriage issue,” the petition said.

The case is Coalition for the Protection of Marriage v. Beverly Sevcik; it is a plea for the Court to hear the case directly from the federal district court in Reno without waiting for a ruling on the case by the Ninth Circuit Court.  The petition and appendix with the district judge’s ruling can be found here.

... Judge Jones’s decision has now been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court by the same-sex couples involved in the case (pending in that court on docket 12-17668).  But the defenders of the state ban asked the Supreme Court to grant review of the case now, before it moves forward in the Circuit Court.   The Supreme Court has the authority to lift up a case like that from a federal district court, if the case already has been appealed to a Circuit Court.  In fact, the Court is also being asked to do that in some of the other pending same-sex marriage cases.

... In asking the Supreme Court to add to the current consideration of the controversy, the defenders of Nevada’s traditional marriage amendment said that if the Court confined its review to any of the other pending cases, it would make a decision “without resolution of the fundamental marriage issue.”   This is the way the petition framed that issue: “Whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires Nevada to change its definition of marriage from the union of a man and a woman to the union of two persons.”

Pressing that question, the petition said it “may be the most nationally important and consequential issue to come before this Court in many years.  Of the ‘marriage’ cases now before this Court, this case is optimal for resolving the fundamental issue for several reasons.  The case is the only one that cannot be resolved without answering the fundamental issue.”


  1. Quinn
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea why gay people think they have the "right" to get married, when even in the U.S.Constitution it doesn't say that. clearly the federal judge in Nevada is absolutely correct, because he/she knows that what the Constitution actually says & gay people don't.

  2. Quinn
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Just because it says in the Constitution 'the pursuit of happiness" doesn't actually mean that people have the "right' to get married whether your straight or gay.

  3. Zack
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink


    "I have no idea why gay people think they have the "right" to get married, when even in the U.S.Constitution it doesn't say that."

    I would say that it's the radicals and extremists pushing for it. Of the 3% of the population that is gay, roughly 2% of that 3% actually engage in forming those unions.

  4. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    No mention of marriage in the Constitution. Equal opportunity doesn't mean equal outcome. Everyone already has the opportunity to get married if they qualify: one consenting unrelated male, one consenting unrelated female. Simple.

    Nor does "pursuit of happiness" mean equal outcome. My business may fail, my competitor's business may succeed. We both pursued happiness, we both had equal opportunity. That's reality. Not everyone gets a trophy, nor should they.

  5. Quinn
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    @Barb - well in liberal schools, they do give out trophies to all who participate in any sporting event so that no one feels left out.

  6. Quinn
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    @Zack - well that could be possible when Obama puts 3 far-left liberal nut jobs on the U.S. Supreme Court

  7. Quinn
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Let me ask those on the other side this - if you gays were to have the same protection & benefits that straight couples have (being married) but still call it Civil Unions, would you be ok with that or are you still determined to redefine marriage?

  8. M. jones
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I don't understand, ".... now looking to the court." Yet Baker v. Nelson already decided the issue decades ago.

  9. Kenneth
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Our rights don't come from the constitution. Marriage is not a "right" it's a choice. The only way it can be a right is to deny another's right to say no. We choose to marry based on the definition of the term "marriage", it requires the consent of another and by definition that requires "choice", not a "right".

    The issue for me is whether or not the government should have the authority to define marriage for the people even against their will. I don't concede it that authority, I will never agree to submit to it having that authority because of the threat to religious freedom and I don't agree that is the purpose of marriage law, nor should it be.

    No one's right to form a relationship of their choice is being denied. We have a disagreement as to the function and purpose of the "term" and that is not something that should be imposed upon the people against their will. Government does not have that authority, it is not our religion and judges are not our priests.

  10. ed
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink


  11. Good News
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    The money loving powers that be in our Western civilization are so rotten that I find it hard to believe that squeezing them will produce anything but bad juice.
    The very questions that we are asking could only be done so by a sick peole.

  12. Good News
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I'm not on the other side. But "Civil Union" is not exclusive enough nor respectful enough to be offered as a serious name for people who want to signal out the dignity of their union to the community. A new word would have to be invented.

    But to get more to the point. It is not the homosexuals that are going after the word marriage. Its the money lovers that are, their just using the homosexuals. They see $$$ and they will do anything! anything! to get $$$. Human life, dignity or a higher value than $$$? Don't make them laugh.

  13. jojn
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    How about calling it what it can only be, a civil union. Marriage is one man and one woman.

  14. MarkOH
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Barb. Yes, everyone should be allowed to pursue his goals - be is opposite or same sex marriage. Even if they fail or succeed. And, please, show me where in the Constitution it says one man and one woman?

  15. Ash
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    SSMers don't want SCOTUS to decide (again) the larger question of whether there is a right to ssm. Those litigating against Prop 8 are literally begging SCOTUS not to address that broader question. Why? Because if SCOTUS rules (again) that ssm is not a constitutional right, their whole movement loses a lot of steam. This entire debate comes down to "I really, really want this and I think you should give it to me." There will be no justifiable reason to oppose public votes on the matter, as a declaration from SCOTUS that ssm is not a right would demolish the "you don't get to vote on rights" meme.

  16. MarkOH
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Oh, Ash, the SCOTUS will eventually rule on this issue and marriage equality WILL be upheld.

  17. FemEagle
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Oh, MarkOH, "marriage equality" is the equivalent of "truth in advertising". It's B******. How can equality be ascribed to something that's NOT equal? Homosexuality has no validity or importance in the natural world. It's a deviation from the norm at best. Homosexuals suck up resources and give nothing in return, so far as nature is concerned. As for the Supreme Court, it now has the example of 3 dippy states voting for SSM and over 30 states voting against it. How can it legally and ethically choose one side over another, if the issue was put to a fair vote in all of those states? Face it - the score is 39 to 4 in favor of true marriage. Guess which side is winning?

  18. Son of Adam
    Posted December 7, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    "Oh, Ash, the SCOTUS will eventually rule on this issue and marriage equality WILL be upheld."

    Yes - as being between a man and a woman. That is REAL marriage equality.

  19. MarkOH
    Posted December 9, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Well, obviously FemEagle and Son of Adam are in support of discrimination and denying fellow citizens their rights.

    And, seriously, "the score"? Let me remind you, in our history, "the score" was against interracial marriage too, both written and unwritten. How did that turn out?

  20. Son of Adam
    Posted December 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    That's a strawman if I've ever heard one, MarkOH. Defending natural marriage is no more discriminatory to homosexuals than it is to incestuous couples and polyamorous groups. Redefining marriage for anyone is NOT a right. Believing that it is is just as groundless and as sophomoric as comparing family values to racism.

  21. MarkOH
    Posted December 9, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Son of Adam: "Defending natural marriage is no more discriminatory to homosexuals than it is to incestuous couples and polyamorous groups. "

    And yet, I do not see NOM spending millions of dollars and ad space to go after incestuous couples, a FAR greater number of people than same sex couples. And, again, to prevent same sex couples the right to marry, there needs to be a sound reason, one that hasn't appeared yet as was evident in the Prop 8 case. Otherwise, it's just animus against gays.

  22. Randy
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    @MarkOH, "Far greater number of incestuous"? Based on what definition and statistics other than those in respective of the immediate area in which you live?? Good luck.

    And there is no animus, just common sense to which liberals ignore. Animus rant just indicates either the victim mentality or petty immaturity.

  23. Son of Adam
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    "And yet, I do not see NOM spending millions of dollars and ad space to go after incestuous couples"

    No one is attempting to redefine marriage to include incest, MarkOH. Overlooking that obvious fact demonstrates your lack of reasoning skills.

  24. leehawks
    Posted December 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    MarkOH: Repeat after me.........
    Gay is not a race, gay is not a race, gay is not a race..... Keep working on that until you figure it out.

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