Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Must Read: Open Season on Marriage Traditionalists

At his blog, Dr. Denny Burk links and highlights a few paragraphs from an article written by Rod Dreher regarding today's Supreme Court decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. The article is simple titled Scalia: ‘Open Season On Marriage Traditionalists' and pays particular attention to the dissenting paper written by Justice Antonin Scalia.

First, Dreher quotes from Scalia's dissent. Here are some of the highlights.

However, even setting aside traditional moral disapproval of same-sex marriage (or indeed same-sex sex), there are many perfectly valid—indeed, downright boring—justifying rationales for this legislation. Their existence ought to be the end of this case. For they give the lie to the Court’s conclusion that only those with hateful hearts could have voted “aye” on this Act. . . . By holding to the contrary, the majority has declared open season on any law that (in the opinion of the law’s opponents and any panel of like-minded federal judges) can be characterized as mean-spirited.

The majority concludes that the only motive for this Act was the “bare . . . desire to harm a politically unpopular group.” . . . Bear in mind that the object of this condemnation is not the legislature of some onceConfederate Southern state . . ., but our respected coordinate branches, the Congress and Presidency of the United States. . . . It makes only a passing mention of the “arguments put forward” by the Act’s defenders, and does not even trouble to paraphrase or describe them.
See ante, at 21. I imagine that this is because it is harder to maintain the illusion of the Act’s supporters as unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob when one first describes their views as they see them.

The Court mentions none of this. Instead, it accuses the Congress that enacted this law and the President who signed it of something much worse than, for example, having acted in excess of enumerated federal powers—or even having drawn distinctions that prove to be irrational. Those legal errors may be made in good faith, errors though they are. But the  majority says that the supporters of this Act acted with malice—with the “purpose” (ante, at 25) “to disparage and to injure” same-sex couples. It says that the motivation for DOMA was to “demean,” ibid.; to “impose inequality,” ante, at 22; to “impose . . . a stigma,” ante, at 21; to deny people “equal dignity,” ibid.; to brand gay people as “unworthy,” ante, at 23; and to “humiliat[e]” their children, ibid.

I am sure these accusations are quite untrue. To be sure (as the majority points out), the legislation is called the Defense of Marriage Act. But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” ”injure,” “degrade,” ”demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
This is strong language from Justice Scalia, but I concur with his sentiment. The primary argument used by same-sex defenders has been one of compassion while demeaning the other side with inaccurate names of hate, bigotry, and immoral. Scalia makes a good point in arguing that defending traditional marriage is no more hateful than defending the Constitution of the United States. To say no does not automatically equal hate and yet that is exactly what defenders of traditional marriage have been told.

In addition, defenders of traditional marriage have for years made arguments regarding what is best for family, men and women, children, and society at large and yet all of that has been written off as the babbling of baboons. In addition the argument typical referred to as the slippery slope has been put forward with clear evidence. If standing on moral grounds equals bigotry than there is nothing to keep society, and now the courts, from embracing as a Constitutional right any and all forms of sexual vice and marriage including, but not limited to, polygamy, polyamory, incest, and the lowering of the age of consent.

Finally, the implications this decision, and the future decision that will snowball from this one, affects religious liberty. Dreher concludes his article thus:
Scalia has chillingly illuminated the future for marriage traditionalists: the only reason to oppose same-sex marriage is hate. In constitutional law, there is no rational basis for supporting traditional marriage. Henceforth, the Court has declared open season on religious and social conservatives and their institutions. Given the majority’s holding that hatred is the only plausible explanation for denying same-sex marriage, I see no reason why the Supreme Court will not declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

And the logic of the Court’s language here ought to put fear into the hearts of anyone who does not share the belief that homosexuality is morally neutral, or morally good. The Supreme Court says we are haters, full stop. You know the liberal mind: thoughtcrime cannot be allowed to exist. How can the federal government maintain a tax exemption for churches that hew to the Biblical teaching on homosexuality, given that the Supreme Court now has put opposition to homosexuality in the same category as racism? We live in interesting times.
I suspect that in the coming days a lawsuit will be filed from a gay couple who have been denied to marry on church property. Do I, as a pastor, still have the freedom to deny certain couples, heterosexual or homosexual, access to our church property or can I refuse to marry them on convictional grounds?

As Dreher says, we do live in interesting times, but the gospel is greater than this. Regardless of where the winds of culture blow, Christians remain a victorious people not because of any decision from the oligarchs at the Supreme Court, but because Jesus is not dead. The tomb is empty. Regardless of any opposition the church faces our King reigns, the Kingdom is coming (and is already here), and our hope is in him.

Rob Dreher - Scalia: 'Open Season On Marriage Traditionalists'
Denny Burk - A sweeping decision in the DOMA case

For more:
All Around the Web - Gay Marriage Special Edition
Our Strategy Must Change: Dreher's Word to Social Conservatives

A Must Read: Told You So
McCarthy Marches On: They Are Who We Thought They Were
Can It Happen Here? It Already Has: Metaxas on the Threat of Religious Liberty in a Pro-Gay Culture
A Must Read: The New York Times & Ex-Gays
Obama on Gay Marriage: The Full Interview
The Piety of Hate: Identifying the Real Source of Bigotry in the Debate Over Homosexuality
Where Does The Madness End? The Dire Destination Of The Homosexual Agenda - Part 1
Where Does The Madness End? Where the Homosexual Agenda Leads - Part 2 
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