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Breaking news -- -- US Supreme Court this afternoon as initial reports from today's argument on gay marriage suggest it was a tough day in court for those defending.
The federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
The defense of marriage act or -- -- as it's known which President Clinton signed in the line 96.
Excludes federal benefits to us to marry same sex couple so at a federal level.
Gay marriage is not recognized under don't -- If the court decides that law is unconstitutional.
What does that mean for gay marriage in this country.
Evan Wolfson is founder and president of freedom to marry and Tony Perkins is president of the family research council gentlemen thank you both so much for being here it's great to see you.
Good to be with you.
And and let me start with you on this on this Tony what does it mean don't don't -- had a tough day in court today and and in -- defense up.
It didn't have the federal government there to -- it as it normally would normally a federal law gets the defense of the the department of justice and pres Obama declined to do that this case because he doesn't leave the -- constitutional so.
They had to go out and hire Paul -- is a very skilled advocate -- he defended the law if it struck down.
What does that mean.
Well as you know -- there's two components to to -- one is protecting the states and their definition of marriage and in the second which was a question today was the federal definition of of marriage did what government does for the federal government defining it as you said as a man and a woman.
Well first it -- -- the government didn't defend it may have a bearing on whether what the what the court does with the case.
But if they do strike it strike -- down.
The bigger question then becomes how do you define marriage in this country because the federal government obviously does have a compelling interest in defining marriage when it comes to.
What it today gives benefits to or what it gives money to where subsidizes so.
Think when the door then is open even broader as to how we define marriage.
And I want to ask you Evan because as I see it if if don't lie is struck down it doesn't mean that's.
Gay marriages now legal in the country.
It it unless the Supreme Court goes way out on a limb here and rules are and the reason it's unconstitutional because of the eagle protection clause but the argument -- some nations I've read.
Nobody seems to think they're gonna go that far.
Well the defense of marriage act so called is the federal law that says that.
We're gonna have a gay exception to the normal way the federal government treats married couples all other married couples -- get married by licenses issued by the states or other countries -- federal government doesn't issue marriage licenses.
All married couples.
Get all kinds of federal protections and responsibilities.
Tax treatment immigration protections access to health care social security and so on.
Except for gay couples.
Who has been married twice in this country if you get -- -- America has been in New York I don't have to go get married the federal level to -- married period.
That's -- that's exactly right in for more than 200 years the practice has been that the federal government honors the marriages that are legally celebrated.
But there's a gay exception created by this -- and what the court was looking at today is.
Can you have a gay exception.
To a law can the federal government say we're gonna honour all -- is that states.
License except the lawfully married gay couples who are gonna get none of the federal protections and responsibilities not the taxes they -- -- and a -- -- woman purity honor his case is an 83 year old woman who got married to her lesbian partner in Canada.
And that her partner died and she had to pay 300 plus thousand dollars in estate taxes that she would not have had to pay.
If she'd been married to a man and that is the -- -- in this case but Tony what is the answer to -- question about whether the federal government as he -- the issue.
Can exclude gays from this did do you recognize marriage.
Well if -- the definition of marriage what his marriage in this country and of course thirty states have placed the definition of natural marriage and their state constitution but you raise a good point about the fact that this couple.
Was married in Canada what happens if man is married in the Middle East and has multiple wives wants to immigrate into this country.
Does that now force -- the government to recognize polygamy in this country so that there is say there is a compelling reason for the government to have a definition of marriage.
And -- the definition the federal government has had -- -- has been consistent with a -- they've been consistent with the vast majority of states in this country.
I wanna get out of that and I want to get to that because.
Tony and and others have raised this issue -- if you've got a fundamental right to marry -- -- you're straight or gay.
-- -- whatever you know whatever you are you got a fundamental right to marry in this country then then.
There has been a concern rate -- by some that that would then opened the door to polygamous marriage down the line.
Because a political comment and say I have a fundamental right to marry and in my religion we -- three people and it was.
Barack Obama appointee to the bench yesterday who asked to -- against that question listen to her.
If you say that marriage is a fundamental right.
What state restrictions.
Could ever exist that gene just what state restrictions with respect to a number of people.
With respect to that could get married the incest laws that mother and child Pacific -- that are being taken as I can accept that.
The state has.
Properly and -- -- interest on.
Protecting a child it's so clear of each to marry.
But what's left.
-- -- actually it's very simple.
First of -- the Supreme Court has acknowledged that there is a freedom to marry that is a fundamental right it's not a new question the freedom to -- has been recognized -- something belonging to all of us under the constitution in at least fourteen.
Supreme cases it has -- question -- it did you have a right to marry another gay person I don't understand -- and that's again what the question is what reason does the government have for denying the freedom to marry to gay couples.
And the answer to their -- in your your putting up here is that.
Gay people are not saying let's have no rules let's just do anything with gay people are saying is let us have what you have.
Just as you have the freedom to marry the person you love the person your building a life with.
And take on that legal commitment and responsibilities so should we.
Other questions or other questions but the the question of what reason is there to deny couples -- made that commitment in life just because they're gay.
Is the question before the.
Court battle that's nice ring to it well heck it's right what was striking to what is what is clearly -- -- -- -- -- -- -- wanna get -- -- is important what.
What is the reason he is right that that -- it seems like the -- -- the quarter as it accepting that states can draw a line somewhere it eat and it's not just going to be.
Anybody -- anybody or anything.
It it that this statement can draw a line somewhere but criteria that these says there has to be -- -- compelling interest and -- -- about how how compelling interest test to be asked to be a good reason.
And Tony let's get to that let's get to what the what is the reason.
That that -- Chicago and -- historically.
Let's look historically at what why the government has defined marriage as it has its follow the natural definition of marriage.
In we've amassed decades of social science research that shows that it's at the government is a compelling interest for kids to grow with a mom and a dad.
Not just to parents but a mom and a dad that's why the government has extended benefits to marriage because marriage benefits society.
But if you want to talk about -- let's talk about the rights that have been lost in those places and what can I get an answer what Tony just talking Atlanta.
How about the loss of religious freedom before we changed talking about the loss of parental rights let's talk about the the loss of business owners to that have been fine door have been sued because they have participated in same sex marriage is that -- photographers or.
Those who bakers so let's talk about the rice and have been lost in those jurisdictions that have created same sex marriage I always kind of thought we could talk their language.
Let me get fundamentally altering America had -- answer that question you know and I didn't Sony's suggestion on the studies of a mom and a dad not just to be right.
Exactly that's -- really crucial point because Tony Perkins had -- chance to go into court.
Along with whatever other witnesses he -- his side want to produce and and say and prove what he's saying and the fact of the matter is the trial held.
Seven weeks of testimony evidence and cross examination and -- was zero evidence produced.
Perkins keeps saying -- -- -- studies and so on but the record is crystal clear there are no such studies it is -- all remember and usually not on him and I don't know Luger wrong not yet you can say I'm -- when you had a chance to go in court you were silent.
The truth of the matter is that you should -- -- kind of in front of this -- it yet -- -- -- brief as your group but you haven't been able to produce a single public health.
-- -- of association net I didn't.
That I don't know I got to focus not against her -- Antonio just -- -- separate apartment on ended at the dead issue I mean what we've heard from his record justices as we've got 2000 -- history on this.
We got you know five to ten years of gay marriage rising -- a trend in this country.
Why should we be the arbiters of what's what's now OK in the country do you see this is more of a democracy issue for the states.
This states are working this that if it were -- if it was it inevitable as -- would like to say.
The court should interject itself -- this but you don't make who met the radical public policy changes like this overnight.
There are unintended consequences when we do things like this.
It's being worked out democratically we shouldn't label our opponents bigots we should allow the American public to discuss this and recheck this debris -- office.
-- -- labels let's leave it that Rihanna -- no great debate you guys Smart informed respectful I appreciate it.
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