Commentary: Supreme Court needs to go to work

By John Krull

INDIANAPOLIS – Last summer when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on same-sex marriage, Justice Antonin Scalia complained in his dissent that the ruling would unleash a wave of litigation at the state level.

John Krull, publisher,

John Krull, publisher,

Scalia is wrong about a lot of things, but he was prescient in this case.

Commentary button in JPG - no shadowAnd the wave hit Indiana a few days ago when four Indiana couples filed suit challenging Indiana’s legal ban on same-sex marriages. The suit filed in federal court argues that Indiana’s ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

The filing produced harrumphs from social conservatives who had fought to amend Indiana’s constitution to ban same-sex unions and some handwringing among advocates for equal rights for gay Hoosiers who worried that the suit was poorly timed.

The truth is that, for several reasons, the quicker the issue of same-sex marriage at the state level can be put in front of the U.S. Supreme Court for final resolution, the better.

The first reason is that the nation’s highest court can spare states many nasty family battles. Indiana just emerged from an ugly fight that pitted Hoosier against Hoosier for weeks over House Joint Resolution 3, the proposed state constitutional amendment banning gay unions. That fight produced bitterness and hard feelings that likely will linger for years.

The tragedy of it is that the whole fight was pointless. Indiana has a ban on the books already – the one that this suit challenges – and adding a state constitutional amendment wouldn’t have created any additional defense to a challenge in federal court.

One way or the other, this challenge was coming. We Hoosiers tore into each other for no good reason.

The second reason the Supreme Court needs to deal with this is that it will prevent states from descending into absurdity.

A federal court ruled a few weeks ago that Kentucky – which has a state constitutional ban with language virtually identical to Indiana’s proposed ban – could not refuse to recognize same-sex unions performed in other states. The court didn’t rule on the constitutionality of Kentucky’s ban – the judge is weighing that now – and that left the state in a strange position.

If that federal ruling stands and the state’s constitutional amendment remains in place, Kentucky will grant more rights to people who have left or who have come to the Bluegrass state from other places than it does to lifelong residents.

That’s untenable.

The third and most compelling reason the issue of same-sex marriage needs to go before the Supreme Court is that it is unfinished business. Only the nation’s highest court can settle this national argument and it needs to do so quickly.

We learned that much from the court’s ruling last summer. In the majority opinion, the court said that the U.S. ban on same-sex unions created insurmountable Fifth Amendment problems.

That raised a question that the court at the time refused to answer: If a federal ban on same-sex marriages violates the Bill of Rights, wouldn’t state bans do the same?

Scalia didn’t like the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage for not particularly judicial reasons. He whined in his dissent that the fact he doesn’t like the idea of gay people being together doesn’t mean that people should think he’s a bigot.

But in one important sense he was right.

The ruling created more questions than it answered. It encouraged citizens of many states, including Indiana, to go at each others’ throats. And it virtually begged for lawsuits like the one just filed here in Indiana.

The Supreme Court should have settled the issue of same-sex marriage last summer, but it didn’t.

The nation’s highest court should do so now.

It’s time for the nine Supreme Court justices – the only nine votes that really count now when it comes to same-sex marriage – to do their jobs.

It’s time for them to lay down the law on same-sex marriage.

It’s time for them to end this fight.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” WFYI 90.1 Indianapolis and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

18 Responses to Commentary: Supreme Court needs to go to work

  1. elkaybee Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Absolutely! However, I doubt that a SCOTUS ruling will put an end to the squabbling. We only need to look at the “trap laws” concerning abortion that are currently being passed, to know that those who would impose their will on other Americans are going to keep up their fight.
    The point that Krull makes about the addition of a State Constitutional ammendment is spot-on. I am amused by the rightie argument that this would not have happened (the lawsuit) if we only had that amendment. I believe all of the states that have had their laws struck down have such an amendment in their Constitutions.

    • Brains Benton Reply

      March 10, 2014 at 11:38 am

      No they won’t give up. All you have to do is look at the anti’s reaction to RU 486 to see that it is not really about “beating hearts” etc.

    • Brandon M Reply

      March 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

      LKB, I have to laugh when I read you trying to say that the republicans are ” those who would impose their will on other Americans…”. You are such a leftist shill that you can’t see the hypocrisy staring you in the face. Your wonderful socialist leader and his cronies has done nothing but force his beliefs and will upon the American peole since he came into office. Most through shenanigans in the congress or illegally through executive orders. You are a sheep wrapped in victims clothing and you have no ground to stand on for anything you spout forth.

      • Brains Benton Reply

        March 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

        So how many private companies has Obama nationalized via executive order like a real socialist would have done?

        Oh yeah ZERO.

        Socialist, the new RW swear word / code word for Obama since it’s not socially acceptable to call him what we really think of him.

        • Heisenberg Reply

          March 11, 2014 at 3:41 pm

          He’s paving the way so in 20-25 years another liberal hack will start nationalization of American companies.

  2. Bandana Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 11:44 am

    The Supremes do need to address gay marriage forthwith. The pastiche of state laws and proposed restrictions should be brought into consonance. America is fractured enough without the Supreme Court letting these things continue to fester.

    The states that have passed patently illegal restrictions making obtaining an abortion difficult or impossible should also be dealt with appropriately. Just as any lawbreaker should be dealt with appropriately.

    Like Elkay said, it won’t end the fighting over these issues but with the passage of time and the inevitable die-off of the older demographic, things will eventually get calmish.

    It is time for that merry band of political appointees squatting on the high court to do their job.

  3. Brains Benton Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    It’s time to end this “state’s rights” crud once and for all.

    First of all a legal tower of Babel with 50 different sets of rules is just insane. One person standing in one spot is given different individual rights than another standing in a different part of the country? That makes no sense at all.

    Second state’s rights have long been used as a pretext for some of the most hideous and discriminatory practices in US history, slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws and on and on.

    Even differences in tax rates are a bad idea. It just leads to governors and state legislatures effectively trying to bribe businesses to come to their state in a race to the bottom.

    If we are truly one nation then we need one uniform set of laws.

    • elkaybee Reply

      March 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm

      I’m just dying to hear the arguments made by the “states right’s” fans against the concept of a level playing field. They hate that idea, and think it’s downright “un-American.” This should get interesting.

      • disaffected Reply

        March 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

        Why don’t you stay trolling on the C&P site and not dilute the intelligent discussion on here? We realize you and Brandon can only get any type of interaction with people on the web, but your constant refrain of hatred wears thin.

        • Armstrongres Reply

          March 11, 2014 at 5:11 am

          elkaybee is right.

          You have to admit that the “more state rights, less federal rights” drum has been beat here on this sight for a long time!!!!!!!!!!

          It just so happen that these two thoughts, state rights and marriage rights, dose not mesh together this time. Result is the attack of the poster.

  4. apollos Reply

    March 10, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    If unmarried heterosexuals want to sleep around playing musical beds, that’s theirs and God’s business. They are not interested in marriage, they are interested in satisfying their lusts. If married heterosexuals want to sleep around on their spouses, that’s the business of their spouses, families, and their God, even if they don’t recognize or follow Him. If homosexuals want to participate in sexual abominations, that’s the business of their God, even if they don’t recognize or follow Him. Marriages are based upon the union of one man with one woman in marital love. In the beginning, God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. God’s intention was never for Adam and Steve or Susan and Barbara to have sexual relationships with one another, witness the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The nine robes may validate homosexual marriage someday, but it was never the intention of the Real Supreme Court Judge. Do not blame God for the reaping of what America has already sown in arrogance, abortion, and immorality. Our day is coming.

    • KnowNothing Reply

      March 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Cue the circus music… what a bunch of crazy talk.

    • Weinzwestside Reply

      March 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm


      has an excellent point.

      There are plenty of religious idiots and religious bigots running around and they have NO place in an organized, civil society’s government or its laws.

      THAT is why we have a Constitution. To hand the Westboro Baptist Christians the right to tell the rest of us how we should live and what our laws would be is PREPOSTEROUS.


    • Brains Benton Reply

      March 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Jesbus saves! Liberals can only provided equal opportunities, and the power of science and knowlege.

      Jesbus offers eternal life! (Forget that pesky second law of thermodynamics) and who doesn’t want to live forever?(Lots of people but never mind that)

      But listen my friends you must get together with your holy man and get the medieval ritual correct. Do the medieval ritual wrong and you will be sent to eternal damnation!!

      On the third day Dog created Earth and then on the fourth day Dog created the Sun and the moon….

      Hey wait a second how can you have days with no sun???!!

      And if Ken Ham needs a multimillion dollar bond offering how come Noah didn’t?

      And how is the stoning of the unruly children, fornicators and adulters going?

      A good christian should follow the word of Dog and stone of few people to death every day!
      (Please note the sarcasm)

      Oh nevermind.

      • Indianaenoch Reply

        March 10, 2014 at 5:46 pm

        We get it My Morals Only, you’re a Christo-phobe.

        • Weinzwestside Reply

          March 10, 2014 at 6:42 pm

          ….Thou dost protest too much.

          It’s your morals that violate the Constitution. (…you’ve resorted to whining I-E)

  5. Brandon M Reply

    March 11, 2014 at 11:49 am

    All the hypocritical lefties on here throwing their intolerance of gays drivel. Yet they turn around and are just as intolerant of those who are christians. Pot meet kettle.

    If gay folk want to be in a union go for it, I don’t care. But quit trying to take over a tradition of the religious faiths. Marriage was created as a union of a man and a woman. We don’t change a centuries old tradition for a bunch of whining leftist trying to win their victimology merit badge.

  6. Brains Benton Reply

    March 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    You got any examples of christians being legally discriminated against????

    Ummm yeah none, just yours and their widdle, widdle sensibilities/feelings being hurt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>