As the world now knows, a bare 5-4 majority of the United States Supreme Court ruled last Friday that the U.S. Constitution requires every state in the nation to perform and accept same-sex "marriage," even if doing so violates their laws as determined by their own elected officials or voters.
The majority's opinion is as long on empathetic rhetoric for same-sex couples — waxing poetically about their "nobility," "dignity," "intimate choices" and "personal identity" — as it is short on constitutional authority to redefine marriage. The majority doesn't rely on any enumerated constitutional provision, nor is it based on prior court precedence. Rather, as Chief Justice John Roberts noted in his stellar dissent, the majority has essentially decided that it knows what's best for America, basing its ruling on "new insights" into the "nature of injustice" and its own "under¬standing of what freedom is and must become."
This not the first time that the Court has relied on its own conception of liberty to justify a decision. One of the best examples of this phenomenon was the Dred Scott v. Sandford case in which a majority of the Supreme Court ruled that restrictions on slavery were unconstitutional because of the implied right of slaveholders. African Americans were thus not people entitled to the rights of citizens, but instead property subject to the will of their masters.
In terms of its legal reasoning, the marriage case, Obergefell v. Hodges, is the Dred Scott decision of our time. It is illegitimate and completing lacking in constitutional authority. It is the product of unaccountable judges legislating from the bench, usurping the role of elected officials and voters and imposing a social policy on the nation because they think they know best.
And like Dred Scott, America need not accept it as the final word, the "law of the land" or even a decision worthy of respect. After the Dred Scott decision was rendered, President Lincoln said in his first inaugural address that "if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made … the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."
The decision last week is by no means the final word concerning the definition of marriage. NOM is committed to overturning this ruling and containing its effects. Specifically:
1. We call on Congress and state governments to move immediately to protect the rights of people who believe in the truth of marriage from being discriminated against by passing the First Amendment Defense Act through Congress (S. 1598/H.R. 2802), and similar legislation in the various states.
2. We also call on Congress to advance to the states for consideration a proposed constitutional amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
3. We call on the American people to make the definition of marriage a pivotal issue in the 2016 presidential contest and to elect a president who will be a true champion for marriage, one who is committed to taking specific steps to restoring true marriage in the law, including appointing new justices to the Supreme Court who will have the opportunity to reverse this decision.
We will not rest until the injustice of this decision is undone and marriage is restored to our nation's laws as it exists in reality — the union of one man and one woman.
Brian Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.