I too am sick of this subject. But some things which strike me as obvious are not being said, so, even though this is a libertarian-oriented blog, and I’m an outlier on this topic, I’m going to post something. First, full disclosure. I’m a Catholic. The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual conduct is objectively evil. Can’t get much stronger than that. (The Catholic leadership in this country has barely dared to whisper this doctrine, if they say anything, but the doctrine is what it is.) That said, even that strong pronouncement leaves entirely open the question of what our public policy should be on the issue.
My inclination, as a Jacksonian American, is to say I don’t give a shit what they do or what they call it. And, in fact, I don’t. However, by calling a homosexual union marriage, and making it a Constitutional right, the Massachusetts Supreme Court, and soon many like-minded courts around the country, are more or less intentionally making Christianity illegal. Repeat: Christianity is being made illegal. The teaching that homosexuality is a sin is embedded in Christianity. It is in the Pauline letters. There is no getting around it. I have heard the counter-arguments, and they don’t cut any ice. The Christian teaching against homosexuality is organic, it was part and parcel of the attack on the pagan society of the Roman Empire and it is fundamental to the Christian conception of marriage and sexuality. So, again, if gay marriage is a Constitutional right, then anyone preaching the moral teaching of Christianity is committing a hate crime or otherwise attacking the exercise of a Constitutional right. I object to this as a Christian, obviously.
But, I don’t imagine most of our readers will give a damn about that. Many might say, good riddance, I hate religion anyway. OK, try this instead. Even if I weren’t a Christian, I’d object to gay marriage because it is a threat to civic peace, and because it is undemocratic.
I can’t think of anything which will cause so much damage to the public peace and respect for the government, or to an acceptance of the government’s legitimacy, in exchange for so little objective gain to anyone. 100,000,000 or so church-going American Christians will not quietly acquiesce to having a fundamental part of their moral beliefs declared illegal, merely because five unelected judges in Massachusetts chose to revise a foundational element of a 2,000 year old civilization, with no legal or democratic basis at all.
The mere fact that a massive issue like this can be jammed down the public’s throat with no democratic accountability whatsoever is pretty damned offensive, too. Moreover, it is a practical disaster because, just like Roe v. Wade, far from ending the issue, making it into a question of “rights” will only inflame it, polarize it, prevent any kind of moderated resolution or local variation, and keep it perpetually alive as a source of anger. There is a reason we resolve contentious issues democratically — it forces moderate, centrist, unprincipled but acceptable solutions. Doing it by judicial fiat can only to lead to massive and angry opposition which has no viable outlet. Additionally, public debate has a way of forcing an issue to be examined from all sides, which to some degree cuts down on unintended consequences. We’re getting none of that here, and there will be a tsunami of unintended consequences, some foreseeable, many not.
Incidentally, I disagree entirely with Glenn Reynolds and others who, based on anecdotes, say the public is fine with this. I have an objective basis for this, not just my personal preferences on the matter. The fact that Kerry is ducking it and Gov. Blagojevich in Illinois is not supporting it shows that it lacks anything remotely near majority support, either nationally or in moderately liberal Illinois. When liberal democratic poiticians are trying to hide from an issue like this, which is a natural for them, you know the votes are not there.
A prediction. This process will mobilize opposition which will make the Pro-Life movement look tiny. Another prediction: Public schools will soon (next year, September of ’05) have mandatory education in which the struggle for gay rights is depicted alongside the struggle for Black civil rights as central to American history. No teacher who does not teach and support this view will be employable. This will provoke even more, in my view justified, outrage.
One response to the foregoing may be to say, Lex, you’re exaggerating, this will be no big deal. I wish I thought so. But, see, I know lots of liberal activist lawyers. They are smart, and they work hard, they believe in their causes, they never give up, and this is going to place a powerful new weapon in their hands to attack their biggest and most hated enemy, the “Christian Right,” including the Catholic Church. Anyway, I understand the “don’t worry, be happy” argument, but I’m sure it’s mistaken. I expect very rapid movement on this, many lawsuits filed in the next several days and weeks, and an accelerating tempo of activity. Time will tell.
Is there any silver lining? Perversely, the backlash from all this may lead to two outcomes I have always dreamed of but never dared to hope I’d live to see: the wide-scale abandonment of the public (government) schools as the predominant source of educating American children by very large segments of the population, and the end of the abusive, unaccountable, illegitimate federal judicial “review” as we have come to know it in recent decades. Ask me in five years how we are doing on those two predictions. They’ll take time to ripen.
Update: Quite a tempest in a teacup. I gave up on the comments around number 60. Thanks to the few who agreed with any of what I said. Thanks also to those who disagreed, even fervently, but did so with civility and rationality. That is what makes this blog enjoyable. Thanks to the rest of you for demonstrating my point that silencing or shouting down anyone who even raises questions about how this is being accomplished, let alone its purported merits, is a step that far too many supporters of gay marriage will be happy to take if they can get away with it. I did make some predictions. I’m actually more pessimistic than I let on. But, I hope I’m wrong, and that all those who say nothing particularly bad will happen are right. Jonathan puts it well: Most predictions are wrong. I promise all friends and enemies that I will revisit this topic in a year or so, and I hope I will get to admit then that I was overly alarmed. In the meantime, I’m done talking about this topic. I’m going to watch and listen for a while, as far this business goes. We’ll see what happens next.