Evangelical Minister After Observing Same-Sex Marriage Cases at Supreme Court: DOMA is Doomed
Contact: Peggy Nienaber, Faith and Action, 202-546-8329; after business hours, 202-236-0953
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), evangelical minister to top-elected and appointed officials on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, and a long-time observer at the Supreme Court, issued the following statement after sitting in on both historic same-sex marriage cases argued before the justices this past Tuesday and Wednesday:
"While each of the same-sex marriage cases before the High Court involve different questions on the constitutionality of limiting legal definitions of marriage to one man and one woman, it was clear at the end of the second day of arguments that there is a majority of the justices ready to grant some form of federal accommodation to it. The first question on Tuesday was whether states have the right to define marriage for themselves, as occurred in California with the Proposition 8 amendment to the state constitution limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The second question on Wednesday was whether the federal government can similarly limit legal marriage to a man and woman, as it did in the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
"Indications of the High Court's answers to these questions came in the tone and nature of the questions they posed to lawyers for both sides. After listening and watching the behavior of the justices over the course of the two days, I believe the first question will be answered as yes, states retain the right to define marriage, but only for now. The answer to the second question will be no, the federal government cannot limit the definition of marriage to a man and a woman because it's obligated to defer in that matter to the respective states. I predict Justice Kennedy will be the decisive vote in that majority.
"Again, based on what I saw and heard, together with other information I've gathered from very good sources here in Washington, I predict the Court will not find a sweeping, across-the-board right to same-sex marriage, but it will provide another impetus toward its full acceptance by striking down DOMA and removing all federal impediments towards it. This will bring about a whole rack of new challenges for Christians of every tradition, but especially for members of the clergy. It will most immediately affect military and other federal institutional chaplains, such as prison and V.A. chaplains, but it will eventually reach every pastor that must be authorized by a court to preside at weddings. These are challenges we must meet prayerfully and carefully, and we must begin doing so now."
Rev. Schenck was the only proponent of traditional marriage to address the media outside the Supreme Court building following the arguments in the DOMA case. The legal team arguing for the preservation of DOMA opted not to make public statements, leaving Rev. Schenck alone at the podium against approximately 30 opponents of DOMA, including lawyers, the petitioner who brought the suit, and numerous activists.
Rev. Schenck is available for further comment by contacting Peggy Nienaber at 202-546-8329, or, after business hours at 202-236-0953. Biographical note: The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK) is president and lead missionary of Faith and Action, the only Christian outreach to top elected and appointed officials on Capitol Hill, located immediately behind the US Supreme Court, one block from the US Capitol, and ten minutes from the White House. Dr. Schenck also serves as chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance, one of America's oldest associations of independent evangelical clergy and an endorser of more than 300 military chaplains. Dr. Schenck has ministered on Capitol Hill for almost twenty years.