Today the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act which restricted federal benefits to opposite gender couples. It also refused to allow the democratically voted Proposition 8 banning gay marriage in California to stand. Here are my initial thoughts.
The tragedy here is multi-fold. There are many reasons for concern here, not the least of which is the inevitable trampling on the religious freedom and civil rights of those of us who cannot, in good conscience, participate in acts that show approval of homosexuality as morally acceptable. The First Amendment was written not simply to protect private opinion or the behavior of religious people while they are at church or synagogue. None of this would be of much consequence without the full intent of the amendment, namely, to prohibit the State from infringing on the free-exercise of religion in daily life. In other words, the 1st Amendment prohibits the State from forcing citizens to violate their conscience in the way they run their businesses, homes, voluntary charities, recreation, etc., whether in public or private. These rights are already being trashed by a militant, pro-gay lobby, that has supported anti-Christian bigotry at places like my alma mater, Vanderbilt University, where 14 Christian groups have been banned from campus for requiring all members to adhere to biblical teaching on sexual morality. Here. Such anti-Christian bigotry is also behind the controversy in Denver where a Christian business is being persecuted for not showing approval of “gay marriage” (an oxymoron as I will explain) by providing a cake (which would necessarily involve creating a decoration depicting the normalcy of the event). Here. We need not kid ourselves. Gay activists will continue to cram their own religious and moral viewpoint down our throats until we are forced to accept it in our (private) schools, churches, and homes.
This is only one concern. It is instructive to note that some of the most adamant opponents of “gay marriage” are adult children of same sex couples. Some of these folks are gay themselves, yet they testify from experience to the way that THEIR civil rights, to have both a father and a mother, have been trampled on in the name of so-called equality. (As seen here). While the pro-gay lobby is loathe to admit it, there is no question that children do best with both a male and female parent. Their dishonesty in dealing with this does not change the fact. Today, SCOTUS has thrown these kids under the bus.
Finally, (though there is much more), this ruling is profoundly disturbing for what it reveals about the liberal justices’ theory of the nature of human civil rights. Essentially, it tells us that they believe rights are defined and granted by the State. And the rejection of Prop 8 shows that they understand the State not to be the people acting democratically, but rather the ruling elites such as themselves, who they suppose have superior moral knowledge and authority. That this goes against everything our Founders, our Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution stands for would be obvious to everyone if our public schools had not done such a pathetic job of teaching history and civics the past two generations.
Our Founders believed, and they enshrined in our Constitution, that human rights are inherent and inalienable. They are granted to us by our Creator God. They are not conferred by the State. The purpose of the government is to protect those rights, period. It can neither take away rights that we have, nor can it simply invent rights out of thin air that do not exist. One of those inalienable rights is that of a free people to govern themselves. Today, by striking down Prop 8, SCOTUS has shown its contempt for that right. But beyond that, SCOTUS has decided that it has the authority to proclaim the existence of new rights that have no basis in either history or nature.
The decision today is not really about the equal right for homosexuals to marry. It is about an attempt to redefine marriage so as to destroy its inherent meaning and essence. With this decision, SCOTUS has decided that nature of marriage, as agreed upon by all societies and peoples up to now, must be thrown in the trash bin in favor of a new and profoundly impoverished definition that renders it all but meaningless. That our legal system has made this move, however, is an exercise in fantasy. It is the creation of a legal fiction out of a delusion of the first order. The justices imagine that they can change the nature of marriage by a simple declaration, but they cannot.
What is not understood here is that marriage is not just a particular type of legal contract or arrangement. Marriage has an ontological structure. It has an essence; an inherent nature without which it does not exist. That nature is deeply imbedded in our own nature as human beings. Marriage is the union of two opposites, male and female, into a unity of oneness. This unity encompasses mind, soul, and body. The true nature of marriage only exists where this complementary unity of two who are different but equal exists. And no matter how much the gay rights lobby protests, that ontological reality that defines marriage CANNOT be changed. The nature of that unity is symbolized and consummated in the biological unity of male and female, whose biological fitness for one another represents the spiritual and emotional fitness they share.
What this means is that there is in reality no such thing as a same sex marriage. There never can be such a thing, in the nature of the case. Marriage is defined by nature’s law just as surely as gravity, and it is just as immutable. The fact that the State decides to declare two men or two women to be married to each other no more makes them married in reality than declaring a porcupine to be a kitten makes it soft and cuddly. The State cannot nullify the law of gravity by declaring it unconstitutional. Jumping off a building will result in injury or death, the opinion of SCOTUS not withstanding. The social consequences of blindly ignoring the laws of nature regarding marriage will also have similarly negative consequences, though it may be many years before that becomes self-evident.
The more immediate result, beside the erosion of religious freedom, is that the already tottering institution of marriage will be further weakened. Numerous experiments with many people living in these and other types of pretend marriages will erupt. Marriage will become more and more to be seen as merely a contractual arrangement for the benefit of the adult parties, with an expiration date tied to the fickle status of human emotion. It will become even more of an ego-centric institution, seen as merely one potential path for the self-actualization of the already overly selfish, consumerist individuals who make up our society. It will strengthen the already prevalent sense of moral relativism. It will force the legal recognition as morally acceptable and normal upon vast numbers, in violation of their civil rights, of a practice that at a deep level they know to be aberrant, harmful, and immoral. And the ones who really suffer will be the children. Perhaps in another generation or two, when they are in charge, they will be able to revisit this issue with more wisdom than has been shown today.