Jennifer Biddison

It’s been a craaaaazy week in the policy world. Congress is rushing to get to August recess, and the courts nationwide have been on a tear. Here are five items that you may have missed, but that are sure to get a reaction if you bring them up at your neighborhood BBQ this weekend.

Liberal State Holds Back Gay Marriage

Pro-family insiders warned me early Wednesday morning that they weren’t optimistic about that day’s same-sex marriage decision in Washington state. An hour later, my friends were smiling big.

By a one-vote margin, the Washington Supreme Court decided that the state’s Defense of Marriage Act was indeed constitutional. Instead of rendering the state legislature impotent, as many activist courts have done in recent years, the Washington court deferred to the state law -- and also to what William C. Duncan of United Families International calls “our inherited understanding of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

Interestingly enough, the Court’s majority opinion mentioned the implications of the man-woman definition for both procreation and child-rearing. Duncan believes this case shows that “when courts are willing to honestly examine the purposes of marriage…, they are likely to reject claims that marriage should be redefined around adult desires.”

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Glen Lavy echoes the importance of this decision to kids: “Marriage licenses don’t certify one person’s love for another person; they provide a legal framework to protect the children that result from the marriage.”

Incidentally, United Families International is already preparing for the next round of court cases -- it’s urging Congress to pass a “findings of fact” resolution that shows why it’s important to preserve the man-woman marriage definition. UFI believes that such a resolution would greatly bolster the arguments against same-sex marriage in future court cases.

Ohio Court Protects Private Property Owners

Social conservatives weren’t the only ones wanting to give a court a hug on Wednesday. Anyone who despised last year’s U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision had reason to cheer as the Ohio Supreme Court effectively thumbed its judicial nose at the federal decision.