Looking into the Palantir
Facebook is awash with equal signs to denote one’s stance on same-sex marriage, but what if marriage is an absolute value?
The argument before the court is one of equal treatment of all citizens by the law. What is permitted one person, should be permitted another, with homosexuality being defined as an inherent trait and thus one that must be not discriminated against. To not allow people to marry if they are of the same gender is to be unjust, unfair, the law is not equal. Those in favor of the court overturning DOMA, view the issue of marriage as points on a graph, (X,X) (X,Y) (Y,Y), nothing more.
People of religious background, who see marriage as not merely a civil union sanctioned by the state, resist this redefinition of marriage as a merely adult contract that involves sex, with only the variety of erotic expression being the difference. The arguments that cite the 10 commandments and Jesus pointing out that whosoever looks at a woman with lust commits adultery and Saint Paul’s description of how men and women gave themselves over to appetites may sway those who take their faith seriously, but they will hold no weight in the legal system, nor in the hearts of those who disavow the existence of God in the first place, or whose understanding of God is a God whose standards for behavior only reflect their own. They view the issue as having the additional component of children, and family, and God, or namely, all the points extending outward to eternity from the beginning of a point that is both horizontal, vertical and transcends the mere two dimensions rendered by male and female. (X,Y) times infinity.
The law of the land however, may already be a lost landscape. I suspect it is so.
The argument of 2000 years of history also bear no weight against the evolved modern thinking. Nothing thought before was or is as important as what is felt now.
So the argument against same-sex marriage licences must be made using logic and appealing to the process of law. Not very emotionally compelling methods of argument, but sound.
First, to the issue of equality. Sometimes fair is not equal. Sometimes equal is not fair. If a school opts to ensure that the outcomes for all students is equal and gives everyone B-‘s on their report cards, it is unfair to those who would have scored better, it undervalues those who worked to earn a B-, and it is unjust in that it denies a true education and its value to those who receive the grade without having done the necessary work to justify their marks. But it is equal, and in that sense, perfectly fair. The described example is pure logic applied to an outcome with the desire being equality and fairness, and we can all see, it is neither fair nor equal, nor just.
If we want fairness of outcomes, and those who are seeking same-sex marriages want property rights, association connections –to be able to sign on to each other’s insurance/inheritance law, tax shelter deductions to apply, right of attorney/survivorship kind of things, and these kind of things can be done if the states so chose, if the government itself chooses, if the individual chooses, across all 50 states via other methods without eliminating the distinction which is sacred to some people, would that be considered fair by those who want this? I suspect not. It is not the benefits but the recognition that is desired, ergo nothing but recognition shall satisfy.
Is the demand sufficient reason to deny the existing clamor for the throwing out of DOMA?
Let me ask this question. Do we want the court as a precedent, to have the power to throw out based on popular opinion, the laws of a given state as voted on and determined by the people of said state? I know it was done with abortion, and we are still slugging it out 40 years later.
If a law fairly enacted via election considered legal and within the confines of existing Federal can be destroyed because of a mere change in the election cycle, we should do away with states all together, as their regulations and rules and laws only exist at the pleasure of the federal government. Eliminate state government and the hassle of an extra level of bureaucracy. If we’re going to be ruled top down, best to cut out the middle man fiefdoms. But the question stands, for that is what the Supreme Court must rule if it rules to throw out the law passed in California. Citizenry are to be ruled by their betters, except when their betters agree with the citizenry. If you agree with your betters in this stance, you have no beef, you’ld best always agree though.
Do we want the government to determine if a religion should be allowed to practice its faith, to teach its faith, to live out its faith, in hiring/curriculum/ or will that be now considered a violation of civil rights? Does anyone not think there will be deliberate test cases put forth to ensure that no one anywhere, in the Catholic Church, in any institution, has the right to say anything other than same-sex marriage, viva la difference? We need to think as judges, not advocates, to discern what is proper and why. What are the ramifications for society at large –to which those who favor licenses for all say, none but goodness, if this law comes to pass? First, let me clarify, I do not expect apocalypse but I do have worries about the erosion of the value of the vote, and the rule of law.
I will lay out my concerns. I know there are states where this has passed, and we have lost the adoption service by Catholic Charities in those states as a result. That is one consequence. It is a real one. If people of good faith, acting in good faith, cannot follow their faith and be in compliance with U.S. law, there is a break down in the balance of liberties secured by our constitution. If people of good character, who disagree, cannot live out that disagreement without harassment by others for simply disagreeing, again, we are slipping into a society where emotional trump cards rule over personal judgment.
I know there are already law suits when people of faith, out of a sense of their fidelity to God, are sued for refusing to witness or provide services to same sex couples. How long before people who profess to be of a faith that teaches against such unions, are shunned as a matter of course and disallowed from certain professions if they would live out their faith? What happens to Christians or Catholics or Amish or Muslims who run bed and breakfasts, photography shops, dress shops and bakeries? Will they be allowed to exist without becoming politicized or destroyed for not going along with popular culture and current trends? Lest you think I am being over the top, people have already driven a woman from her job at a University for daring to sign a petition in defense of traditional marriage. There have already been suits against people who tried to refuse services on religious grounds. Those objecting have lost, those who objected were subject to the court of public opinion. I cannot think those who dare to oppose same sex marriage on religious grounds will not be subject to worse consequences than being “outed” by an activist newspaper since the precedent in court has already been created. Lest anyone think I am engaging in hyperbole or overreaction with my concerns, we need only look north to our neighbors in Canada or to the original country Denmark who began us down this road to see the end outcome. http://faithinourfamilies.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/hundreds-of-christians-prosecuted-over-same-sex-marriage-law/
What assurances are there to Churches that the US will not follow in Denmark’s recent (2013) footsteps and demand Churches officiate such ceremonies even if the creed of said church demands otherwise? There are none.
No one will answer. There is a collective, “Pshaw.”
What about the push for further redefinition, from marriage between two adults who consent to more? Again, the collective response from those who favor same-sex marriage is “Pshaw, that slippery slope argument isn’t of sufficient weight to forego pushing forward with what we want.”
In other words, “So what?” Which means, it will happen. And when it does, all anyone who opposed same-sex marriage on the slippery slopes argument against further redefinition, will be proven right, but again, the result will be a societal shrugging of the shoulders, “So what?” 50 years ago, Humane Vitae predicted we would see these days.
Part of our problem is the contraceptive culture. We live in an age that does not view the erotic as sacred, and thus marriage is not sacred. Ergo protecting marriage does not make sense in the modern world to those who think it needs no protection. Part of the problem is the emotional land mined sphere in which we must conduct our discussion. When those who oppose same-sex marriage speak, we are presumed to be acting either out of ignorance (Christians are simplistic stupid fools who follow a space spaghetti monster Santa Claus god), or malice. (We’re haters and bigots and homophobes). As such, opposition via the hardball tactics of smearing is dimmed/silenced. Who wants to invite that sort of pain into one’s life?
One might argue then, we must not hold our convictions dear if we would be silent in the face of mere ridicule or opposition, and that would be partially unfair. It takes courage to speak out when a subject is unpopular. There are consequences to speaking out. Given that this is Holy week, the Peter moment of being at the fire when the servant girl says, “Surely, you were with this man Jesus.” comes to mind. He stayed but was fearful to speak up, because he was not ready to walk the path to the cross yet.
While you might ask, why this piece has returned to religion, it is because it is the whole reason anyone would willingly oppose same-sex marriage. We hold marriage to be not merely a civil act, but a sacred act, and we do not want the states to equate the two anymore than we want heterosexual people living together to be equated with being married. So when we argue against changing the meaning of marriage, and those in favor of striking down DOMA, it is little wonder we do not see eye to eye or understand each other’s position, we are talking about apples and oranges.
Fortunately, we can only see into the glass darkly, so we do not know how grace works in all things, even the wisest cannot see all ends, and there is always hope. Even the smallest act can have great consequences in all our souls. So I urge all, not to fall into despair (the sin which ultimately damned Judas), it is not ours to win, only to witness.