On Sept. 18, the Supreme Court of the largely liberal state of Maryland, in the legal decision, Conway v. Deane, declined recognition of same-sex marriage. Last year, the states of New York and Washington also declined to recognize same-sex marriage.
The Maryland decision is lengthy and argues their finding on several arguments. The one I found most interesting was that they reached back into the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that Congress and many states ratified in the 1970s. In 1972 the ERA failed to become part of our Constitution because it failed to be ratified by three- fourths of the states as is laid out in Article V of our Constitution. Those of us who remember the lively and sometimes contentious debate recall that its opponents feared that at some time in the future the ERA Amendment would be used to impose same-sex marriage on the country. Its supporters assured us that same-sex marriage was certainly not what they wanted for the country. In the Conway decision the Maryland court quoted copiously from ERA supporters and proponents in elite law reviews. It simply reached back into their denials and takes them at their word.
The court also noted that marriage is a natural institution that predates human government and something that states can and should make laws for, for the good of all. There may be a "fundamental right to marry" but it is not absolute. Laws prohibit marrying your sister, mother, a 12 year old girl, or multiple wives.
This debate is hardly begun and many other cases will come before the courts. However we can't improve on the Biblical definition of marriage: "For the cause shall a man leave his father and mother (new family recognized by society) cleave to his wife (emotional attachment) and they shall become one flesh (physical union). Gen. 2.24.