The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two significant marriage cases today — deeming Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which provided that for federal laws “marriage” refers to the union of one man and one woman, unconstitutional, and ruling that California’s Proposition 8 defenders did not have legal standing.

“The Supreme Court had the opportunity to uphold both marriage and democracy, and it did neither,” said Galen Carey, Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). “The Supreme Court also did not unilaterally create a new right to redefine marriage. Instead the Court has allowed the conversation on marriage to continue.”

The NAE joined amici briefs at several stages of both the DOMA and Proposition 8 cases, supporting the right of the federal government to define marriage for purposes of federal law as between a man and a woman, and the right of citizens to vote on state marriage definitions.

Regarding the DOMA ruling, Carey said, “Congress should be able to define words used in its laws and policies. The decision to overturn Section 3 of DOMA misconstrues federalism. States do not have the right to impose their diverse definitions on the federal government.”

“The Proposition 8 ruling disregards the millions of Californians who voted twice to affirm the unique nature of marriage between one man and one woman,” he said. “When elected officials refuse to uphold the decisions of voters, citizens should have the right to defend their decisions in court.” The Proposition 8 ruling does not directly affect the 37 states that continue to recognize marriage as only between one man and one woman.

The NAE is committed to advocating for wise public marriage policy and to promoting healthy marriages and families in our churches and communities.