By Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., www.albertmohler.com
Some arguments just have to be made, and made well. In the case of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the moment for such an argument arrived last week when that court had to rule on appeals over the question of same-sex marriage coming from the four states in its federal jurisdiction, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In each case, Federal District Courts had struck down measures banning same-sex marriage. Now, the question loomed before the three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit.
Until last week, no federal appeals court had ruled against same-sex marriage in the aftermath of the U. S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Windsor decision striking down the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]. That changed when the panel of the Sixth Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, affirmed the measure limiting marriage to one man and one woman in the four covered states. The decision sent shock waves throughout the nation.
The panel had indicated its impatience with arguments put forth by proponents of same-sex marriage when the case was heard months ago, but the decision came even after the Supreme Court on October 6 had refused to accept an appeal from states that had seen their defense of natural marriage go down to court challenges. The nation was watching for the decision from the Sixth Circuit, and when the decision came down at the end of last week, the ruling instantly became headline news.
But, important as the decision was in itself, the larger event was the opinion released for the majority by Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton. Judge Sutton is known for his eloquent prose and forceful argumentation. The opinion released last Thursday was a blockbuster in terms of forceful argument. Judge Sutton’s opinion is a triumph of constitutional argument and the defense of common sense. It is a masterpiece of logic and a compelling argument for the rule of law.