Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Thursday, July 8th, a Massachusetts judge ruled that the federal law banning gay marriage was unconstitutional. This judge’s claim that there’s no reason whatsoever for marriage to be defined as one man and one woman should go down as one of the most outrageous rulings in court history!

When I was growing up, friends of mine would often declare of crazy intellectuals, “That guy is educated beyond his intellect!” or “He is an educated idiot!” Far be it from me to pass judgment on the judge’s intelligence or education. Nonetheless, I can conclude that he has not ruled with long-term social wisdom. Before I give my reasons why his decision is flawed, let’s review his legal ruling.

US District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) interferes with the right of a state to define the institution of marriage. The law therefore denies some federal benefits to married gay couples. In his opinion it forces the state of Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens. In a different case delivered on the same day Tauro also ruled that DOMA violated the equal protection clause of the US Constitution.

These rulings, if not struck down by superior courts, are designed to chip away at part of the legal authority of DOMA. Further, I believe that this an element of a coordinated national plan by same-sex marriage advocates to undo DOMA nationwide. There is a sophisticated legal strategy being here.

Students of the civil rights movement of the ‘40s through the ‘60s will acknowledge that cultural change through the courts is a slow, painstaking process. Although the comparison of the “substance” of the pro same-sex marriage movement and civil rights movement is “spurious,” the legal strategies employed by same-sex marriage legal advocates are very much in keeping with the incremental approach that Thurgood Marshall and his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, took from the ‘40s onward.

The book, Roots and Branch by Rawn James, Jr., outlines the strategy behind the legal fronts shaped the opinions of the masses concerning civil rights for blacks. What the civil rights legal team of the Houston and Marshall era did was to keep their interests alive in both the courts and the newspapers until public opinion about black civil rights changed.


Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.