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In Theory: What is the fate of gay marriage without DOMA?

July 05, 2013

The Supreme Court's decisions to strike down the Defense Of Marriage Act and reject a lawsuit aimed at upholding California's Proposition 8 have caused jubilation among gay-rights supporters and anger among opponents of gay marriage.

Conservative Christians have denounced the decision, with Bryan J. Fischer of the American Family Assn. tweeting, "The DOMA ruling has now made the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable." Gay-marriage advocates are now preparing to launch a campaign to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states.

Q: Given the apparent finality of a Supreme Court decision, is this the end of the road for opponents of gay marriage? Or do you see a continued fight over this issue?

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The Supreme Court's ruling struck a severe blow to opponents of same-sex marriage and clearly lent tremendous momentum to its supporters. However, I don't believe the battle is over. It probably won't be for some time.

The limited scope of the court's rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8 allows governors and attorney generals in other states to defend laws upholding traditional marriage, and we can expect that some of them, perhaps many, will do so. The litigation will continue, as will the political and social debate.

The rulings also left open troubling legal questions of just how the DOMA ruling will affect religious groups that cannot as a matter of doctrine and faith embrace same-sex marriage. To what extent will federal agencies try to impose untenable regulations on them? To what extent might agencies attempt to tread on religious freedom which, by the way, is also a constitutionally protected right?

That said, the most important battle won't take place in courts or in the political arena. It will be waged within the walls of churches, mosques, synagogues and temples where religious leaders work to strengthen traditional marriage. This battle also will be waged in our own homes where parents teach children that the ways of God and the ways of the world are not the same.

The LDS church, in a statement issued in response to the rulings, said that it "remains irrevocably committed to strengthening traditional marriage between a man and a woman, which for thousands of years has proven to be the best environment for nurturing children."

I believe it is safe to say that the great majority of LDS members share that commitment.

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