When the Supreme Court decides how to define marriage, lawyers will need to be prepared
Posted On August 4, 2021
A high court ruling on the definition of marriage could have a ripple effect in the legal profession and beyond, and legal experts say that in the meantime, they need to prepare.
Legal experts say they have been asked to prepare for a Supreme Court decision that would give states the power to define marriages.
“The issue is whether the Court will define marriage as an institution within the law,” said David Tatel, an attorney at Perkins Coie and the law firm of Morrison & Foerster.
“It will have a real impact on how the profession and the profession’s practice are going to operate.”
Tatel said the issue of redefining marriage comes up often during the courtship of new cases and could impact not only the practice of law, but also the practice in the profession as a whole.
“The way I would categorize it is, the issue is how much are we going to allow people to do what they want in their personal lives?
How much are people going to be able to do in their professional lives?
The issue is not so much about whether we should define marriage.
The issue really is about how do we allow people the ability to do this in their private lives?”
Tatel is not alone in wondering how the Supreme “will define” marriage.
Several legal experts and advocacy groups have asked the court to consider whether a definition of a marriage should be defined at the state level, as opposed to the federal level.
The court’s ruling on same-sex marriage could make the issue even more complex for legal professionals, as states are not allowed to redefine marriage.
The case was filed in 2016 by two gay couples, one in Washington and one in Pennsylvania, who were seeking to redefide their marriage.
The two couples filed a lawsuit challenging Washington’s definition of marriages.
Both cases were decided by the same three-judge panel of the high court that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2015.
The Washington Supreme Court upheld the state’s decision to recognize a married couple’s marriage, saying the state cannot define the nature of marriage, such as whether a man and a woman have sex, or the nature and scope of marriage.
A different federal appeals court agreed with the state in 2016.
In both cases, the Supreme court ruled that the states’ interpretation of marriage should not be given the benefit of the doubt and that states are allowed to change their laws to reflect the changing landscape of society.
In Washington, a judge ordered that the court not grant a stay in the case because the parties had asked for it.
A federal appeals judge in Oregon, who is also gay, has also said he will not grant the stay.
The federal appeals judges in both cases have said they believe Washington and Oregon’s laws should be changed to reflect reality.
In the Washington case, the U.S. Department of Justice argued that the state constitution, which is the federal law, does not permit the state to redefinaire marriage.
But a judge, citing the federal government’s interpretation of the Constitution, said the state can amend the constitution if it feels that it would violate federal law.
The judges also ruled that Washington and the state are allowed by federal law to amend their constitutions to reflect current trends in the society, such to a woman being able to get an abortion.
Washington, however, does have a requirement that men and women be married.