The French case against gay marriage

 

France is also fighting a battle against gay marriage.  But religion and politics are not really entering into it.

For Patrick Laplace, the mayor of this trim little town, the Socialist government’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in France is a colossal mistake.

Laplace has not taken his stand for political reasons. He belongs to the Radical Party, a loyal ally of the majority Socialist Party in Parliament. Nor has he decided for religious reasons. Laplace has faith in God but puts no stock in the organized church. His opposition, he said, arises from a rational analysis defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman for family and filiation.

“And I’ve heard no one here in Blerancourt who disagrees with me,” Laplace, a 59-year-old former banking executive, said in his ornate town hall rising from the flatlands 75 miles northeast of Paris.

As President Francois Hollande’s government prepares to have its comfortable majority vote gay marriage into law, probably late next month, thousands of mayors, deputy mayors and other small-town officials across France have risen up to voice their opposition.

The movement largely ignores political and religious lines, according to its organizers. Instead, they say, it dramatizes another line, one that divides Paris, with its trends and politics, from the countless smaller communities around France where most people remain attached to timeless values in a tradition-heavy society with deep Christian roots. . . .

Here in France, the battle over gay marriage is being fought in the street and in the media, not in the courts. France being France, it is a battle that revolves around ideas and philosophy, not legalities.

via Local officials in France voice opposition to gay marriage – The Washington Post.

Marriage is already a  secular affair under the Napoleonic Code, with these mayors performing virtually all weddings, which then can be solemnized in a church.  Would that Americans could address the issue in terms of ideas and philosophy!

But there is also a cultural divide between a sophisticated elite that assumes it can just change whatever it doesn’t like and ordinary folks who constitute traditional society.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    “Marriage is already a secular affair under the Napoleonic Code, with these mayors performing virtually all weddings, which then can be solemnized in a church. ”

    Good division between the Kingdoms. By accident no doubt.

    “But there is also a cultural divide between a sophisticated elite that assumes it can just change whatever it doesn’t like and ordinary folks who constitute traditional society.”

    How is that different here in the USA?

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    “Marriage is already a secular affair under the Napoleonic Code, with these mayors performing virtually all weddings, which then can be solemnized in a church. ”

    Good division between the Kingdoms. By accident no doubt.

    “But there is also a cultural divide between a sophisticated elite that assumes it can just change whatever it doesn’t like and ordinary folks who constitute traditional society.”

    How is that different here in the USA?

  • Tom Hering

    How is that different here in the USA?

    On this particular issue, it’s different this way:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx

  • Tom Hering

    How is that different here in the USA?

    On this particular issue, it’s different this way:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/147662/first-time-majority-americans-favor-legal-gay-marriage.aspx

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    @ Tom

    “How is that different here in the USA?”

    This comment was referring to an elite assuming it can change whatever it does not like. It does not take a lot of paying attention to see that here. Sure we get promised this and that but after the election it is back to whatever the money wants. Both sides of the aisle get campaign contributions from the same sources.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    @ Tom

    “How is that different here in the USA?”

    This comment was referring to an elite assuming it can change whatever it does not like. It does not take a lot of paying attention to see that here. Sure we get promised this and that but after the election it is back to whatever the money wants. Both sides of the aisle get campaign contributions from the same sources.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    @ Tom

    “How is that different here in the USA?”

    This comment was referring to an elite assuming it can change whatever it does not like. It does not take a lot of paying attention to see that here. Sure we get promised this and that but after the election it is back to whatever the money wants. Both sides of the aisle get campaign contributions from the same sources.

  • http://fivepintlutheran2.wordpress.com/ David Cochrane

    @ Tom

    “How is that different here in the USA?”

    This comment was referring to an elite assuming it can change whatever it does not like. It does not take a lot of paying attention to see that here. Sure we get promised this and that but after the election it is back to whatever the money wants. Both sides of the aisle get campaign contributions from the same sources.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Marriage has always been an estate that has concerned the state much more than the church. This is a secular issue at heart. And it has secular consequences much more than it does ecclesiastical.
    The idea that marriage is between one man and one woman is an idea inherited from ancient Rome, not the Bible. But all this stuff about it being about love, and you should be able to marry whoever you love, as if love was the only thing that should factor into it, is complete foolishness.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Marriage has always been an estate that has concerned the state much more than the church. This is a secular issue at heart. And it has secular consequences much more than it does ecclesiastical.
    The idea that marriage is between one man and one woman is an idea inherited from ancient Rome, not the Bible. But all this stuff about it being about love, and you should be able to marry whoever you love, as if love was the only thing that should factor into it, is complete foolishness.

  • Tom Hering

    … after the election it is back to whatever the money wants.

    “The money” wants more money. I’m not sure how anyone ends up with more money if the political elites push for gay marriage. Well, there will be a slight increase in license fees going to local governments, but other than that …

  • Tom Hering

    … after the election it is back to whatever the money wants.

    “The money” wants more money. I’m not sure how anyone ends up with more money if the political elites push for gay marriage. Well, there will be a slight increase in license fees going to local governments, but other than that …

  • fws

    bror @ 5

    +1

    love is na interesting word. No love song or poem has ever completely captured the meaning.

    “God is Love”. It is the Blessed Incarnation that is the concrete Picture of that phrase set before us. To sinful men even with this, love is still a mystery. That is, it is something hidden in plain sight.

    “Love ” is Law. “Love your wife even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. ” That is a most terrifying preaching of the Law. We do not do that. We cannot do that. It is that word “cannot” that makes this preaching of the Law “spiritual” preaching of the Law.
    Love , as Law, demands that a sacrifice be made for it to happen. The law Always demands that something or someone dies. Every romantic makes such a vow.

    The Law demands justice. Justice is what we desserve to have for what we have done. What we desserve is Always and only death. temporal and eternal. WHat we have done Always lacks the love that is the Eternal Will of God.

    In this sacrifice that the Law as Love Always demands and Works, Love-as-mercy also is worked by God.

    Mercy the exact opposite of what we desserve for what we have done. This is Love we receive as purê gift to the unworthy, without our prayer (as faithless ones) and even to us as wicked (as our old adam actively seeks to do the opposite of love and subvert Gods Eternal Will). Mercy also is Love.

    God desires the Love that is Mercy and not the Sacrifice that Love as Law demands that is our self sacrifice that is death.

    God IS Love and Mercy and only believers can know , alone by the HS, that , in Christ, God wills love and mercy to be done…. for ME, with an unshakable confidence. Why unshakable? I dont love. But God cannot lie. In Christ he loves ME. My baptism is my proof.

    Is it good for even gay men and lesbians to do the self sacrifice that is love for another gay man or lesbian ? yes. and if they do not, then God WILL make them do it. It is the Law of God that is driving gays to approximate the bonds of marriage and flee from promiscuity. Romans 2:15.

    Is it “natural”?No. is an artificial limb natural? no. But it is not love to deny someone without a natural leg a functional equvalent asserting the utterly false doctrine that unnatural=sinful.

    That which is not if Faith is sin. The opposite of sin is not to do what is natural. the opposite of sin is , alone, Faith in Christ acquired , not by loving more, not by gays getting what they place in their sin list doctrinally correct. Faith , alone, in christ, alone. In HIS love, alone as the only mercy, alone, that counts before God,

  • fws

    bror @ 5

    +1

    love is na interesting word. No love song or poem has ever completely captured the meaning.

    “God is Love”. It is the Blessed Incarnation that is the concrete Picture of that phrase set before us. To sinful men even with this, love is still a mystery. That is, it is something hidden in plain sight.

    “Love ” is Law. “Love your wife even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it. ” That is a most terrifying preaching of the Law. We do not do that. We cannot do that. It is that word “cannot” that makes this preaching of the Law “spiritual” preaching of the Law.
    Love , as Law, demands that a sacrifice be made for it to happen. The law Always demands that something or someone dies. Every romantic makes such a vow.

    The Law demands justice. Justice is what we desserve to have for what we have done. What we desserve is Always and only death. temporal and eternal. WHat we have done Always lacks the love that is the Eternal Will of God.

    In this sacrifice that the Law as Love Always demands and Works, Love-as-mercy also is worked by God.

    Mercy the exact opposite of what we desserve for what we have done. This is Love we receive as purê gift to the unworthy, without our prayer (as faithless ones) and even to us as wicked (as our old adam actively seeks to do the opposite of love and subvert Gods Eternal Will). Mercy also is Love.

    God desires the Love that is Mercy and not the Sacrifice that Love as Law demands that is our self sacrifice that is death.

    God IS Love and Mercy and only believers can know , alone by the HS, that , in Christ, God wills love and mercy to be done…. for ME, with an unshakable confidence. Why unshakable? I dont love. But God cannot lie. In Christ he loves ME. My baptism is my proof.

    Is it good for even gay men and lesbians to do the self sacrifice that is love for another gay man or lesbian ? yes. and if they do not, then God WILL make them do it. It is the Law of God that is driving gays to approximate the bonds of marriage and flee from promiscuity. Romans 2:15.

    Is it “natural”?No. is an artificial limb natural? no. But it is not love to deny someone without a natural leg a functional equvalent asserting the utterly false doctrine that unnatural=sinful.

    That which is not if Faith is sin. The opposite of sin is not to do what is natural. the opposite of sin is , alone, Faith in Christ acquired , not by loving more, not by gays getting what they place in their sin list doctrinally correct. Faith , alone, in christ, alone. In HIS love, alone as the only mercy, alone, that counts before God,

  • DonS

    This is what made the Proposition 8 decision so maddening, where the court essentially declared that there is no rational basis for a government choosing to protect children and the women who raise them by recognizing the special status of marriage between a man and a woman. You can disagree with the policy, but there is no question that it is rationally based. It should never have been a Constitutional question.

  • DonS

    This is what made the Proposition 8 decision so maddening, where the court essentially declared that there is no rational basis for a government choosing to protect children and the women who raise them by recognizing the special status of marriage between a man and a woman. You can disagree with the policy, but there is no question that it is rationally based. It should never have been a Constitutional question.

  • fws

    Don @8

    there is no rational basis for a government choosing to protect children and the women who raise them by recognizing the special status of marriage between a man and a woman.

    don, please explain how revoking the law allowing gays to get a marriage license threatens the safety of women and children
    . How are the gays who were married before prop 8 revoked the law and are STILL legally married in California threatening the welbeing of women and children?

    thank you.

  • fws

    Don @8

    there is no rational basis for a government choosing to protect children and the women who raise them by recognizing the special status of marriage between a man and a woman.

    don, please explain how revoking the law allowing gays to get a marriage license threatens the safety of women and children
    . How are the gays who were married before prop 8 revoked the law and are STILL legally married in California threatening the welbeing of women and children?

    thank you.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 9: That’s not the issue. The issue is whether a state is Constitutionally prohibited from establishing a law limiting marriage to between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court has established that this question must be answered using the lowest level of Constitutional review — rational basis review. Thus, the 9th Circuit had to twist and turn to improbably find that California had no rational basis for amending its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The result was an utterly nonsensical decision which should readily be overturned by the Supreme Court.

    No law was revoked allowing gays to get married in California. They were briefly allowed to get married because the California supreme court overturned (revoked) the state law limiting marriage to between a man and a woman even though the constitutional amendment was already scheduled for vote a few months later. It was an absurd intrusion of the court into a matter it had no reason to decide.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 9: That’s not the issue. The issue is whether a state is Constitutionally prohibited from establishing a law limiting marriage to between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court has established that this question must be answered using the lowest level of Constitutional review — rational basis review. Thus, the 9th Circuit had to twist and turn to improbably find that California had no rational basis for amending its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The result was an utterly nonsensical decision which should readily be overturned by the Supreme Court.

    No law was revoked allowing gays to get married in California. They were briefly allowed to get married because the California supreme court overturned (revoked) the state law limiting marriage to between a man and a woman even though the constitutional amendment was already scheduled for vote a few months later. It was an absurd intrusion of the court into a matter it had no reason to decide.

  • fws

    Don @ 10

    1) its News to me that the Supreme Court said that “rational basis” would be the set legal bar. Where did they establish that? can you give me a link?

    2) In 8 you said that something else was THE issue. Again: In what way do the wumun and childrun need protection? From what exactly? You cant answer that “rational basis ” question can you? So that is why you changed the subject!

    3) “no law was revoked”. Really now. You are an attorney. So the gays who got marriage certificates were not following….the law? There was no law that was revoked? Since when do supreme court decisions not establish law?

    What damage has happened in the states where marriage has become legal for gays? again: from what clear and present danger is the state protecting the wumun and childrun from by denying gays from getting a piece of paper called a marriage license?

    Dont change the subject.

  • fws

    Don @ 10

    1) its News to me that the Supreme Court said that “rational basis” would be the set legal bar. Where did they establish that? can you give me a link?

    2) In 8 you said that something else was THE issue. Again: In what way do the wumun and childrun need protection? From what exactly? You cant answer that “rational basis ” question can you? So that is why you changed the subject!

    3) “no law was revoked”. Really now. You are an attorney. So the gays who got marriage certificates were not following….the law? There was no law that was revoked? Since when do supreme court decisions not establish law?

    What damage has happened in the states where marriage has become legal for gays? again: from what clear and present danger is the state protecting the wumun and childrun from by denying gays from getting a piece of paper called a marriage license?

    Dont change the subject.

  • DonS

    Frank @ 11: I’m not changing the subject. I was pointing out that the 9th Circuit and district court below ruled that the very position taken by the French, as posted by Dr. Veith to begin this thread, does not support a rational basis for a state to legislate, or amend its constitution, to limit marriage to between a man and a woman.

    Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) is the binding Supreme Court case, holding that a gay couple had no right to marry under the Constitution, including Equal Protection. This case is why Judge Walker’s decision was lawless. However, it is also why he decided Perry v. Schwarzenegger</i< using rational basis review, as you know since you read his decision.

    Marriage laws exist, in part, to protect women and children in the event of abandonment or death of the father. They allow for direct transfer of assets to the mother and child, for example, as well as other streamlined legal protections. That answers your second question. As to your third one, the original law, passed by proposition in 2000, was never revoked by the people. It was ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court, while a constitutional amendment (Proposition 8) was already on the ballot and awaiting a vote. An egregious slap in the face of the voters by a court intent on making its own law.

  • fws

    don s @ 12

    Marriage laws exist, in part, to protect women and children in the event of abandonment or death of the father. They allow for direct transfer of assets to the mother and child, for example, as well as other streamlined legal protections.

    How does extending these legal protections to the children of gay couples by granting them a marriage license threaten, or not “protect” women and children? You still did not answer the questioning of your original assertion that you claimed, specificially, is what made the ruling “irrational”.

  • fws

    don s @ 12

    Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) is the binding Supreme Court case, holding that a gay couple had no right to marry under the Constitution, including Equal Protection.

    Before 1970 and “Loving vs State of Virginia” it was an imprisonable offense for black to marry White.
    Now…. laws that enforce the opposite proposition are ….lawful.

    My point?
    There have been other supreme court decisions since the one you quoted from…. 1973 when gay men and lesbians could be imprisoned even for what they did behind closed doors in their own bedroom, and what happened in the ruling on colorado.

    In fact, there was one supreme court justice, scalia, who agreed that the 0nly logical result of the texas ruling would be for the Supreme Court to allow for gay marriage! What? You question the legal judgement of Scalia on that point?

    What you say only makes sense if you ignore the ruling in texas overturning sodomy laws, and also the ruling in colorado denying the state of colorado to remove rights as it did.

    Your argument is disingenuous.

    But you do know that Don right?

  • DonS

    Frank, your post @ 13 concerns policy. My comments in this thread are not about policy, but about whether a court should be able to substitute its own judgment for that of the people and overturn duly passed laws.

    My argument is not “disingenuous”. The Baker case was precisely on point that the miscegenation cases were different in that they involved a suspect classification, race. Thus, they receive a higher standard of constitutional review — compelling interest — as opposed to rational basis.

    The Baker case is binding precedent on lower courts, and was utterly ignored by the 9th Circuit.

  • fws

    don s @15

    All this time, i have been, narrowly so, focussed upon your assertions in post 8

    This is what made the Proposition 8 decision so maddening, where the court essentially declared that there is no rational basis for a government choosing to protect children and the women who raise them by recognizing the special status of marriage between a man and a woman. You can disagree with the policy, but there is no question that it is rationally based.

    Your comment addressed policy to assert rational basis. Tell me where I misunderstood your post 8 if I read it wrong.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 16: I am talking about the rational basis standard of review of constitutional law questions, not about a policy issue. You can disagree with a policy basis for a government taking a particular course of action, such as establishing a law that marriage licenses will only be issued to couples comprising a man and a woman, but that doesn’t mean the policy at issue is not rationally based. Historically, cases decided on the rational basis standard are practically always upheld, because otherwise you have to prove that the law was established because of malice or that the policy underlying it is irrational. A very tough standard to meet, which pretty much involves judging hearts. Notably, that is exactly what Judge Vaughn Walker did in the Prop. 8 case — he judged the hearts of the Prop 8 supporters.

    The proper way to change a law is through legislation or voter ballot, not in the courts.