Today, five of the nine Supreme Court Justices voted to legitimize one tenth of our population by acknowledging the equality granted to them by law. While celebrating this long overdue step (and lamenting that we now have to go to 10% more weddings), it’s easy to forget that this is the Roberts Court, a legacy of the Bush and Reagan administrations, and that four Justices voted to keep DOMA as is.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY we were reminded that Justice Antonin Scalia is a wild narcissist hell-bent on ruining everything ever.
The dissenting opinion of Justice Scalia has been popping up in conservative circles as the counter argument to the ethical evaluations put forth by Justice Anthony Kennedy in his rendering of the majority opinion.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity… By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” – Justice Anthony Kennedy
Justice Scalia has always had a problem with anyone who disagrees with his draconian world view, and he really doesn’t like being told that maybe, just maybe, he’s a bad bad boy. Here’s Scalia’s response to the mere implication that supporting state sponsored discrimination means you’re not a nice person.
“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 con- demn, 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 “dis- parage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo- sexual. 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.” – Justice Antonin Scalia
Scalia’s argument falls into the common deflection of ethical responsibility about opposition to marriage equality, the concept of “defending traditional marriage”.
This has been the rallying point for bigots and homophobes in the last few years. It’s a convenient shield to hide behind, since it’s no longer the 80’s and you can’t get away with rampant, public gay bashing.
*Side Note: Homophobia is a stupid word, peep this StandupShot by awesomely smart comic Keith Lowell Jenson.
More on “defending marriage” after the jump.
I’ve put a lot of effort into figuring out the “defense of traditional marriage” argument; but it mostly boils down to a few main “points”:
1 – “This is how it’s always been” – An argument that has been used to justify everything from slavery to massive oppression of women everywhere.
2 – “This is what the bible says” – Which inherently assumes that the religious values of that bible are not only more important than the separation of church and state, but superior to the religious doctrine of all other faiths.
3 – “Most people are against it” – A standard already dismissed by the mere existence of the Bill of Rights, a document intended to protect the rights of everyone, especially those in the minority.
4 – “What’s to stop people from marrying family or animals?” – The slippery slope argument, which is one of many logical fallacies learned by any first year philosophy major.
5 – “The existence of gay marriage threatens my religious freedom” – Government does not require private religious institutions to perform homosexual marriages or treat homosexuals as equals in any way. Just check the Boy Scouts (yes they changed their policy, but that was after a major public brow beating).
6 – “Kids need a mom and dad” – Then make it illegal to be a single parent, get divorced, or have children out of wedlock. That’s a standard (an unproven one at that) that puts a unique burden on homosexual couples. And if you want to learn why dad’s aren’t always a good thing, just go watch any night at the Comedy Store in LA or the Comedy Cellar in NY.
All of these can be found in a wide variety of literature, including this pamphlet called The Slippery Slope of Same-Sex Marriage, published by the Family Research Council (the more erudite and socially graceful cousin of the Westboro Baptist Church).
There has never been a salient argument laying out just how the recognition of equal rights under the law for homosexuals would threaten “traditional” religious marriages.
So after all that, what’s left?
Justice Scalia says the intention is not “to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements”. What Scalia fails to address is that despite professed intentions, it DOES condemn, demean and humiliate our fellow citizens. You cannot separate the intention of a law and its reality any more than you can separate the intention of a drunk driver from the people killed by that driver.
Even worse, Justice Scalia’s use of the term “prefer” shows his bias and betrays his claims of valorous intent. His presumption that homosexuals could choose a heterosexual marriage is so far behind the times it comes with a built in eight track cassette player.
It’s clear that Justice Scalia sees homosexuality as a choice and that the legal recognition of gay marriage is simply kowtowing to the whims of an impertinent subculture. This view delegitimizes the entire existence of homosexuals as nothing more than a fad, similar to sagging pants or dubstep.
Later he continues:
“In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one’s political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today’s Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament.” – Justice Antonin Scalia
Justice Scalia misses the point. Of course, not all opponent of gay marriage are hateful demons hell bent on the oppression of homosexuals. Unfortunately, the most basic assumption underlying the opposition to homosexual marriage is the idea that gays are the lesser and that by proxy; their unions are lesser as well. It may not be hate, but it is disdain, judgment and ultimately a sweeping de-legitimization which create the foundation for this mindset.
Let’s be real, this is about wishing gay people didn’t exist.
You can’t take away a human’s right to procreate, and you can’t legislate that two adults can’t live together and have sex. So then what can you do? You can be as mean to them as possible, deny them anything you can get your fingers on. Make sure they know that they are less than you.
Dick move bro.
Despite the fact that there are still many more hurdles for our gay and lesbian friends and family members to clear, this is a great day for our country and for the world. It is a day in which the United States of America lives up to its greatest promise. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.