What Will the Supremes Do with Gay Marriage?

SCOTUS pix 2011

Tomorrow is the day that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hand down rulings that will affect how America deals with the definition of marriage for decades to come.

The legislation in question is the Federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

The Court can do anything. It can remand the whole question back to the states. Or, it can issue a ruling of sweeping proportions similar to Roe v Wade. It can even announce that it isn’t going to rule at all.

People on both sides of the question studied the Justices’ every twitch and cough when the cases were presented earlier this year. We all wanted a crystal ball so that we wouldn’t have to endure the suspense of months of waiting before we found out which way and how far the Court was going to jump on this issue.

Tomorrow, the waiting and guessing will be over. The Court will make its ruling.

After that will come the dissecting and rejecting of whatever they rule. I am reasonably certain that no matter what the Court does on this issue, a large segment of the American population is going to be unhappy and angry about it. I am equally certain that no matter what the Court does, the debate about how we will define marriage under the law will continue.

Which leads me to the question of how we should behave tomorrow and on into the months and years ahead. Much of the debate concerning this issue has devolved into slander of people who hold opposing views. I think part of the reason why this happens is that both sides of the argument believe that their position is a moral imperative. Another part of why we behave so terribly when we discuss how to define marriage is that the temper of our times has taught us that bullying, slander, smear tactics and mud-slinging are legitimate tactics.

Instead of dealing with the issues at hand and talking about the arguments being made, we tend to try to discredit the people making the arguments.

My feeling about this is that if you are a Christian, you have a moral responsibility to forgo this kind of behavior. It does not matter what they call you, you may not slander them back. Let the other side have the low road.

Slander

We are defending home, family, life. We are defending the core institution on which Western civilization is built. We do not need to attack anyone to do that.

Also, we need to remember that homosexuals are just people. More importantly, they are children of the same God whose teachings we are trying to defend. No matter what they say or do, they are our brothers and sisters in creation. We should try to convert them, not destroy them.

The other side of public debates involving Christian values of any sort always seems to try to base their arguments on Christian bashing and degrading our faith. It can be hard to take; especially when they defame the name of Jesus. But do not reply by degrading or defaming them. Do not do it.

That does not mean that we should back away from saying the truth of things. It just means that we should forgo attacking people. We can talk about issues and even bad behavior all we want. Just don’t attack a person while we do it.

I believe that no matter how the Court rules tomorrow, the fight will go on. I also believe that no matter how the Court rules or what detours or setbacks we suffer, the victory will ultimately be ours. All we have to do is our part, and do it in a way that lets everyone who observes us know that we serve a Risen Lord.

  • FW Ken

    Isn’t it interesting that, at root, we are asking the SCOTUS to rule not on a matter of the constitution, but of ontology.

    Is “being gay” an ontological condition of our common humanity – a normal variant, or a disorder/defect? Is “being gay” like having blue or brown eyes, or like being an alcoholic? To my mind, if gay/straight is like caucasian/negroid, then the constitutional question settles itself. Of course, the Constitution would prohibit unjust discrimination.

    It’s not like we haven’t been here before. Roe v. Wade makes a statement on the humanity (or lack thereof) of unborn children. And we have 40 years of civil strife in it’s wake. Whichever way it goes tomorrow, will we have another period of strife in the wake of this decision?

    • James1225

      “And we have 40 years of civil strife in it’s wake. Whichever way it goes tomorrow, will we have another period of strife in the wake of this decision?”

      The way to avoid civil strife is to acknowledge the authority of SCOTUS. If people would agree that, no matter how it rules, we shall abide by its decision.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        No. SCOTUS is not the Papacy. If people had adhered to all SCOTUS decisions we would have never ended slavery or Jim Crow laws. If you want to roll over when society makes a bad decision that’s your perogative but what you say there is bad advice.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Because SCOTUS is the Emperor and SCOTUS is God!

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        Dred Scott. Ferguson vs.Plaxey.

      • FW Ken

        I’m having a really hard time thinking you would say that if things had gone the other way yesterday.

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      Being homosexual effects less than 2% of the population, on the order of autism. Is that a defect or a variation? Nor is homosexuality an effect of a regional organization of genes, like people born in Africa. Homosexuality pops up in all ethinicities, cultures, regions, just like Downs Syndrome. Homosexulaity actually contradicts the natural, logical function of genitalia, and prevents one of the vital functions of biology, reproduction. God bless homosexuals for their sufferings and their condition, but we all know it’s a defect.

      • Bill S

        “God bless homosexuals for their sufferings and their condition, but we all know it’s a defect.”

        Said like a true anti-gay zealot.

    • Dave

      In other words, the Supreme Court (and the state in general) is acting as God

  • pagansister

    i know what I would like to hear…..equality is a right for all Americans, no matter what their sexual orientation. We should know shortly.

    • FW Ken

      equality is a right for all Americans, no matter what their sexual orientation.

      That would make sense if there were any actual science behind the notion of “sexual orientation”. But since it’s a subjective, self-reported condition, that sentence is nonsense.

      • pagansister

        Since I’m assuming you are not attracted to the same gender, you really don’t know what that would be like. IMO, no one would just “decide” to be gay—though the situation is IMO improving—in order to be discriminated against by man.

        • FW Ken

          I’m not talking about “what it would be like”, nor anything about “decisions”. I’m talking about the lack of scientific basis for the so-called “sexual orientation”.

          But you get credit for trying to change the subject.

          :-)

  • Steve

    Does anyone have any idea how they might rule? I have no idea which way they might lean.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    The trouble is, the debate has become so poisonous, that I don’t see how being heterosexual is compatible with gay marriage.

    At all.

    I’ve been called a breeder and a bigot over this. I feel utterly rejected in having a sacramental marriage- no longer welcome in my own town, no longer welcome in this country.

    I realize that’s exactly how homosexuals used to feel before say, 1995 and the start of the turning of the tide when thinking about this issue became a crime. I’ve always been proud of the work done by both Courage- within Church teaching- and the more Cafeteria Catholic Dignity.

    The Catholic Church was accepting gays long before gay was cool- back when entire convents volunteered to use their vows of celibacy for AIDS research.

    The betrayal in March 2004 was an eye opener for me- it ruined, forever, my relationship with the liberal left in this country. Followed swiftly by noticing I had no home on the right either.

    I mourn for this country, for it is dead.

    • Bill S

      “I mourn for this country, for it is dead.”

      That is such a pathetic response to the striking down of an unconstitutional law and for gays to be allowed to marry. There are a lot of happy gays. Don’t you wish them well?

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I have yet to meet a happy gay. I have only met political gays who want to destroy the rest of society so that we can all be as miserable as they are.

        • Bill S

          You’re just saying that because you don’t like gays. Your faith teaches you to love your neighbor, but your love comes with strings attached.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            No, I’m saying that because I have not met a happy gay. My faith doesn’t change this at all.

            I would classify every gay activist I have ever met as an *ANGRY* gay, not a happy gay.

            Even those in fulfilling relationships are full of anger and hatred. And the relationship itself is perverted and twisted, and speaks more to giving in to lust than self-sacrificial love. Self sacrificial love embraces abstinence when procreation isn’t possible.

            • pagansister

              Just to let you know, those couples I mentioned above are not full of hatred or anger. Life is too short for that.

              • TheodoreSeeber

                So they don’t argue for gay marriage?

                • pagansister

                  Since they live far away from me now, I don’t know if they were politically active in the cause or not. As I mentioned, one has been married, but her partner died. As far as I know, the other couple is also married.

        • pagansister

          I have a very good friend who is a lesbian, who has been married to one partner who unfortunately died several years ago and now has a new happy relationship. Yes, there are may happy gay people. I also have another lesbian couple who have been together for many, many years, and both are happy. So, there are, like heterosexual folks, happy and some not happy folks.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            I seem to only ever hear from the angry ones. But then again, it seems as of late, that’s all I hear from anybody anymore.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I have just decided not to debate anything with the opposing side. The chances of getting someone who will ALLOW you to argue decently and properly are too small. In my experience, the bulk of the anti-marriage brigade does not want to reason but to discharge some personal trauma and hatred.

    • Bill S

      Shut up, Fabio! Just kidding. There is no “anti-marriage brigade”. No one is against marriage. In fact, they want even more of it.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        The trouble is that you weren’t kidding. And that those who follow will be even more serious. I have met them again and again. As I said to someone who was hiding from reality as you are now, “you can’t tell a guy who is still hanging from a tree that he has not been lynched.”

        • Bill S

          I’m not hiding from reality, Fabio. I am accepting it. An not with the despair that I see some people showing over this.

          • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

            Well, of course. What do you have to despair about? You hate the Catholic Church and you are wholly sold on the filth that Mr.Injustice Kennedy has now codified as SCOTUS doctrine. What should worry you?

  • Araghast

    I don’t envy them one bit for having to make this decision. A Hobson’s choice is never a pleasant one to make, especially when it isn’t exactly clear what the long term consequences will be; other then further disenfranchising at least one community, not only towards their “adversary” but in the american culture as its shaping up to be in the moment.

    Just seems so sad to me that whether consensual relationships are to be given equal treatment under law, or whether certain consensual relationships are going to be second class to others would end up becoming such a divisive issue.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    The fight may go on but I think if the court rules DOMA to be unconstitutional the fight is essentially over. My hunch is that the rulings will essentially allow states to pass their own laws.

    But on a wider note, I can’t help this recurring feeling I’ve now had for a few years, that is that I don’t recognize this country any more. It doesn’t feel like this is home any more. There were always left/right arguments and for most of my life Democrats ruled Congress and the city and state I lived in and won most of those fights. But it never felt like this. The right/left arguments today are not just about the reach of government. They are about the very foundations of western civilization. I don’t feel a connection to the institutions that are evolving. But then i look around the world and it’s basically the same thing, if not worse. I don’t feel western civilization exists any more. I’m becoming a man without a country. The deconstructionists have won. What I need is a time machine and go back into the past.

    A lot of the literature of the 20th century was about people alienated from their society. The literature of the 50′s to the end of the century was especially about people who felt alienated from tradition, people who felt they didn’t fit in. I can now sympathize with them. Today the opposite is the case. People with traditional values are the ones alienated. Perhaps I am a dinosaur, but I have never felt so alienated in my life.

    • Bill S

      Manny,

      These things should have minimal effect on your life. What kind of life do you live that is so affected by things that are, for the most part, not even any of our business?

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Are you familiar with chaos theory? There is no such thing as an action that does not cause a reaction.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Society is an integrated system. What you do in one place effects in all sorts of unforseen ways. Look at the catastrophe that has resulted from liberal divorce laws and the sexual revolution and pornography. The delusion that marriage is arbitrary will have huge negative effects.

        • Bill S

          “Look at the catastrophe that has resulted from liberal divorce laws and the sexual revolution and pornography.”

          So, your life is impacted by liberal divorce laws? How conservative would you like them to be made?

          The other two things you mention just have to do with sexual morality, which has been an issue since the beginning of civilization. What can you do about it? What keeps you from having a good life despite the lack of restrictions on sexual conduct of others?

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            You are so blind. Society is a mess because of divorce laws. And yeah, even if I didn’t care about my fellow neighbors well being, I’m still paying for their dysfunctionalities through my tax dollars.

            • Bill S

              You are so inconsolable because gays can marry. It should be nothing to you. As far as divorce laws, what would you offer as better laws than what we have. Do you want the government to tell couples that they can’t divorce?

  • TheodoreSeeber

    And the word is in. Just as I predicted, Scalia is once again on the losing side. DOMA was struck down, Prop 8 was upheld.

    • Paul McGuire

      Prop 8 wasn’t upheld, it was kicked for lack of standing. There is a huge difference. Practically speaking sure it will go into effect but the justices expressed no opinion on the merits.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        And thus invalidated a democratic election.

  • pagansister

    We know the decisions now– so life will go on, for the better.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Your idea that more civil strife, increasing assaults on freedom of religion, and the discrediting of the legal and lawmaking process, count as “better” strikes me as rather unfortunate.

      • pagansister

        How is this an assault on religion, Fabio? I think I wrote this to you on another post regarding this, churches (in this country, USA) DO NOT have to marry anyone. It is entirely up to the minister/priest/rabbi etc. to make that decision. I expect a civil servant would be required to do so, but if they had a problem with their job of marrying people which could include those of the same gender, perhaps they should get a new job or transfer the job to someone else in the office that is authorized to do so.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          You are living in the past, and in the wrong past at that. First, laws interfering with Christian marriage existed in America for generations; and to make assurance doubly sure, the states not only forbade inter-racial marriage, but forced, by state law, the churches to break up into white and black bodies. That, not any desire from either white or black pastors for separation, is why there are black churches. You are simply saying; I can’t remember the government doing this sort of thing in my lifetime, therefore it will not do it in the future. Now, if this kind of legislation from the bench is not about redefining marriage – which is a religious concept – what the Hell is it about? and if it is out to redefine marriage, how can it tolerate a refusal to redefine it from religious bodies? I tell you you will see priests and pastors in jail before you die.

          • pagansister

            Well, Fabio, now there are inter-racial marriages, and again, no church is required to marry any couples. I remember that ruling. I also lived thru segregation in a very southern state, with the “white” and “colored” everything—water fountains, restrooms, waiting areas in public transportation (buses etc), no “blacks” in my state university.(until after I graduated). So, not living in the past. I do not think I will worry about the government forcing religious institutions to marry folks—so I disagree with you.

            • FW Ken

              Strawman argument.

              Very few churches reject interracial marriage (although I was once picketed by one twice in one week, but that’s a different story), and “being gay” has nothing to do with racial identity. That’s a propaganda tactic with no scientific basis.

              • pagansister

                True, I would agree that few churches reject interracial marriages now—but I suspect in the past it probably happened. IMO, a person is born with their sexual orientation, just as they are born with their skin color.

            • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

              I swear before God I don’t understand what you are saying. Are you saying that the fact that American governments and judicatures have, demonstrably, interfered with churches and with marriage in the not-so-distant past, shows that they will not do so now – when the reach and ambition of state authorities are so much broader? Or are you just expressing a pathetic hope that the hatred implicit in Justice Kennedy’s statement that only prejudice and desire to oppress can explain opposition to gay marriage will not express itself in deeds? Your trust in human nature is rather sad and more than a bit scary. What you don’t seem to understand is that this act is a revolutionary,act, or what modern jargon would call a game-changer. It is built on rules and assumptions that are not compatible with freedom of religion: the first and foremost, of course, being Justice Kennedy’s horrible outburst. These things have consequences. They NEVER leave things as they found them. You just wrap yourself in your sad belief that it will not happen. And may I make a prediction? When it DOES happen, you will find excuses for it, and convince yourself that it is not REALLY an assault on freedom of thought and of religion.

              • Bill S

                “It is built on rules and assumptions that are not compatible with freedom of religion: the first and foremost, of course, being Justice Kennedy’s horrible outburst.”

                Freedom of Religion does not include imposing your religious taboos on the rest of society. That is the antithesis of freedom. I applaud Justice Kennedy for what he has said.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  You are in bad faith and this is the last answer I shall give you. What shows that you are in bad faith is that this answer is about church members and priests being ordered to act against their own beliefs in their own buildings, not forcing anyone else in theirs. From now on any response of yours to any comment of mine will go unanswered, not because I would not find it easy to answer it, but because I don’t regard you as an honourable debater.

              • pagansister

                Big IF and when the government makes churches that disapprove of same gender marriages perform them, I will worry about it then. I sincerely doubt it will ever happen.

                • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

                  Very, very, very small if. Look across the border at Canada’s “human rights courts” – there’s an Orwellian mis-monicker for you.

  • hamiltonr

    NOTE: Do not question one another’s motives, faith or sincerity. Do not get personal. Just talk about the issues.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      When bad faith just howls at you, you cannot just talk about the issues, because the issues themselves become falsified, and they are falsified deliberately. Sorry, but I think one or two people here simply don’t intend to argue correctly. The good news is that I have decided to stop answering them.


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