Archive for the ‘Same-Sex “Marriage”’ Category

The Supreme Court Surrenders on Marriage

Monday, October 6th, 2014

This morning, to the surprise of just about every observer, the Supreme Court declined to review seven lower-court rulings that had re-defined marriage. For all intents and purposes, this non-decision really gives the green light to lower courts to strike down every democratically-enacted state law that defines marriage in the traditional way.

To understand how significant this surrender is, some basic background information is necessary.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, there has been a virtually-unbroken string of lower-court decisions invalidating state marriage laws.  Three of the federal Circuit Courts of Appeals had already struck down laws in several states.  Four other Circuit Courts have similar cases before them but haven’t issued decisions yet.  When you take all these cases into account, the laws of as many as sixteen states were at issue.

Petitions were filed in the Supreme Court in which all the parties to the seven lower-court decisions — both the defenders of the marriage laws and those seeking to overturn them — had asked the Court to make a final ruling on the issue.   For the Court to agree to hear a case, only four Justices need to assent to the petition (technically called a petition for a “writ of certiorari”).

Rule 10 of the Supreme Court’s rules states:

Review on a writ of certiorari is not a matter of right, but of judicial discretion. A petition for a writ of certiorari will be granted only for compelling reasons. The following, although neither controlling nor fully measuring the Court’s discretion, indicate the character of the reasons the Court considers… (c)  a state court or a United States court of appeals has decided an important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this Court.

You also have to understand something of the self-image of the Supreme Court, who seem to believe that they have been appointed to be Platonic Guardians over our society.   Recall this gaseous emanation from the penumbras of the Supreme Court’s collective consciousness, in the plurality opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey:

Where, in the performance of its judicial duties, the Court decides a case in such a way as to resolve the sort of intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe and those rare, comparable cases, its decision has a dimension that the resolution of the normal case does not carry. It is the dimension present whenever the Court’s interpretation of the Constitution calls the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution.

Now, it’s hard to imagine a more contentious controversy than the debate over the definition of marriage, or a more “important question of federal law that has not been, but should be, settled by this Court”.   The argument has raged since the late 1990′s, and it has been fought out in a series of state ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments, legislative battles, court cases, and political campaigns.  The Supreme Court itself created the current legal chaos and uncertainty with its decision in the Windsor case, which was mis-used by federal judges to strike down state marriage laws.  One would have thought that now was the time for this matter to be addressed by the Court itself, in its self-anointed role to”call[] the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution”.

Yet the Court declined even to consider the cases.  No briefs to be filed.  No oral arguments.  No further discussion among the Justices.  There weren’t even four Justices who thought it was ripe for decision — not even the vaunted supposedly-conservative wing of the court (Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito).  Even though anyone can foresee the consequences of not taking the cases — namely, sending a signal to the lower courts that it was open season on state marriage laws.  We can now expect more lower courts to follow the Supreme Court’s lead, and the dominoes will continue to fall.

The most disappointing part of this non-decision is that not a single Justice thought it was worth writing a dissenting opinion.  Perhaps they should just raise a white flag over the Supreme Court building today.

So, by not agreeing to decide any of these cases, the Supreme Court actually issued a momentous decision, and effectively re-defined marriage in the entire United States, without giving the defenders of marriage their day in Court.  This is how democracy no longer works around here.  Thus is marriage redefined in the United States, not with a bang but with a whimper.

 

What’s Next for Marriage and for Us

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

I was asked yesterday to contribute to an online symposium at National Review Online about the implications of the Supreme Court decisions on marriage.  Here’s my contribution:

From a legal standpoint, the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA is extraordinary and far-reaching. Our entire legal history and tradition regarding marriage continues to be dismantled. Nobody can know what will come from redefining thousands of federal statutes and regulations — wherever the words “marriage” or “spouse” appear. It will take decades to know the ultimate legal consequences.

But there is a deeper meaning. We have been engaged in a great struggle for the soul of our society, and the souls of individuals. The battleground has been over the nature and significance of marriage, and why people should choose marriage as the centerpiece of their lives. We have long been contending against a hostile culture.

This task will go on, regardless of whatever the law might be. Families, schools, and churches will all continue to teach the authentic meaning of marriage — one man, one woman, lifelong, faithful, and inherently oriented to having children. But the terms of engagement have dramatically changed. The Court’s ruling will make our mission more difficult, by branding the real meaning of marriage as mere bigotry, hatred, and irrationality.

In a way, though, this may enable us to become more effective teachers. The big lie at the heart of the Supreme Court’s decision — that same-sex relationships are the same as real marriages — cannot ultimately gain sway over the hearts of people. It is false, and deep in our hearts we know it. And it will only highlight the contrast between the false values of a corrupted society and legal system, and the true virtues of authentic, loving married couples.

The law is a great teacher, and this Supreme Court decision teaches a lie. But the truth about marriage will continue to be attractive to people, who always prefer truth to lies.

Many of the other contributors took a “it’s not as bad as it could have been” approach.  I’m not convinced.  The expansive, dismissive language of the majority opinion — claiming that bigotry alone supports laws defending real marriage — will certainly be used by future litigants to attack the laws of the states that have not yet gone over the edge.  Same-sex “marriage” advocates have already begun predicting that it will only be a matter of five years before they will succeed in overturning all those state laws.

The language of the decision will also be used in the public square to shape the debate, by branding us as the equivalent of racists.  Soon, the media won’t even try to obtain and present our side of the story.  There won’t be much of a debate, if only one side is allowed to show up.

The Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act will also shape the implementation of a wide range of federal laws, which reach far into every recess of American life.  Think only of ERISA (which governs employee benefit plans and pension plans) and the Affordable Care Act (which governs health insurance plans), and you can see how significant will be the redefinition of “marriage” and “spouse” under federal law — every benefit plan, and every health insurance plan, will likely have to cover benefits for same-sex “spouses”.

The potential for conflict with religious liberty and conscience rights will be just as severe as with the HHS mandate.

Likewise, we can easily see a time when the IRS will play a role.  When it scrutinizes the policies of organizations that seek (or already have) tax exempt status, what will happen when it finds that an organization “discriminates” against same-sex couples in employment, benefits or services?  Will “discriminatory” churches be denied tax exempt status, or have it stripped from them? Remember, the old saying, “the power to tax is the power to destroy”.

While I continue to be optimistic that people will see through the lie in the Supreme Court’s decision, as an attorney I’m pessimistic.  People will still choose authentic marriage, and we will continue to teach about it, and call people to it.  But from a lawyer’s perspective, it’s very difficult to see a future that is free of continuing legal and social pressure and conflict, all designed to make us conform to the new view of marriage, and punishing us if we fail to do so.

The Supreme Court Casts Us Beyond the Pale

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Our black-robed Platonic guardian rulers on the United States Supreme Court have now decreed that the federal government — the democratically-elected Congress and the President, that is — may not define the word “marriage” to mean what it always has meant, and always been understood to mean.  Our entire legal history and tradition, dating back to its roots in Roman and English law, has now, at the stroke of a pen of five unelected judges, been swept into the dust heap.

The Court’s specific ruling was to strike down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by wide majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Clinton.  This provision stated that for the purposes of federal law, “marriage” could only mean a union of one man and one woman.  Until ten years ago, that provision of law would have been completely unremarkable, indeed, unnecessary.  After all, until a decade ago, nobody would have considered it possible that any person would consider “marriage” to mean anything different.

But now, in the post-modern world of ethical, moral, and rational relativism, words no longer mean what they have always meant.  And “democracy” certainly no longer means government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

Instead, five Justices (including one who graduated from my own alma mater, Cardinal Spellman High School) have decided that anyone who believes that “marriage” means “one man, one woman”, is irrational, motivated solely by hatred and a desire to stigmatize and insult homosexual persons.  Yes, the Supreme Court has now said that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the vast majority of Protestant communities, Orthodox Jews, virtually all Muslims, and many others of no faith, are mere bigots.  We have been cast out of polite society.

This may sound like “sour grapes” or hyperbole.  So don’t just take my word for it, consider this section from Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from the Court’s judgment:

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…  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.

The Court’s calumny of our position is, of course, utter nonsense.  There are an abundance of rational reasons to defend the authentic definition of marriage.   Just consider the scholarly arguments made in the recent book What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense by Robert George, Ryan Anderson, and Sherif Gergis.  Or, you could watch this video of a presentation I gave to a parish meeting to explain the many reasons that support the real definition of marriage.

It is a sad day when millions of Americans have been slandered by the Supreme Court.  It is sad when reason, history and tradition are traduced so casually.  And it is even sadder when one of the highest institutions of our government gravely wounds the fundamental  structure of society.

The Holy Father Gets to the Heart of the Matter

Friday, January 4th, 2013

In the comments box of one of my recent posts about the redefinition of marriage, I had an interesting discussion with a homosexual gentleman about the nature of sexuality.

In that discussion, our essential disagreement came down to a fundamental point about what it is to be human.  As I framed the question (I’ve cut and pasted from separate comments to boil this down to its clearest expression),

The whole idea of “gender” reflected in your posts is that it’s just a bundle of attributes that are largely socially determined, and that can be revised according to the subjective desires of the individual… Our position rests on the notion that sexual difference can’t be assumed away. The complementary (i.e., different, equal, and necessarily interdependent) nature of male and female sexuality is a constitutive element of what it is to be a human being.

The Holy Father has now addressed this point directly and powerfully, in his annual address to the Curia — what you might call his “State of the Church and the World Address”.  His comments, which come in the context of a discussion of the threats to the family, are worth quoting at length (my emphasis is added in bold):

[T]he question of the family is not just about a particular social construct, but about man himself – about what he is and what it takes to be authentically human

The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society.

The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves.

Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed.

But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.

The Holy Father thus gets to the precise center of the question — the debate about marriage and family is, at its heart, about the nature of the human person.  It is in the end a question about “who created me”.  The modernist approach is to create myself in my own image and likeness, making myself into my own little god, answerable to no objective or higher truth.  We’ve already seen how that false and destructive approach works (see Genesis 3, and the entire history of the Twentieth Century).

The Holy Father has pointed to us the way out of this problem — to embrace the truth of our nature and the truth of our origin, and to defend the social expressions of those truths in marriage and the family.

The Eclipse of Reason About Marriage

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

For quite some time, I have been discussing and debating the question of same-sex “marriage”.  I regularly defend the authentic conjugal definition of marriage that has been enshrined in our social and legal tradition — a life-long, exclusive union of one man and one women dedicated to their good and for the procreation and upbringing of children.

This debate has been going on for years now.  What continues to astonish me is how vapid are the arguments offered by those who would re-define marriage to leave gender and children out.  Examples of this weak attempt to overturn the immemorial definition of marriage can be found in this op-ed, or this one.

The arguments typically do not embody reasoned attempts to persuade through logic.  Instead, they are are emotionally-driven appeals to rectify hard cases, calls for “equality” without understanding that different things should be treated differently, demands for a laundry list of legal rights typical of special interest pleading, and, frequently, naked attempts to exclude religious people from the public debate.  They don’t engage questions of the effect of redefining marriage on the common good or future generations.  They ignore the incongruity of redefining marriage for everyone, to satisfy the interests of a statistically tiny number of people who want same-sex unions.  When all else fails, polling data is trotted out, as if a transitory snapshot of public opinion is infallible in its wisdom.  When even that fails, defenders of marriage are simply called “mean” (as I was, recently, in a college classroom).

In contrast, the arguments we offer in the defense of real marriage are multiple and philosophically sophisticated.  This argument relies on the nature of the human person and the truth and meaning of human sexuality.  It also relies on the lessons of common sense, experience, and social science about the best outcomes for adults and children.  The concern expressed consistently is the effect of redefining marriage on the public messages that the law sends to men and women, particularly about the importance of marriage for children and for society as a whole.  We can offer ready logical answers to the common objections to the conjugal definition of marriage, such as the false comparison to interracial marriage.

Our approach is to appeal to the obligation to make public policy for the common good, to pay attention to all consequences of law-making (especially the long-term and secondary effects), and not to make law based on the particular desires of small interest groups.

A perfect example of this argument can be found in this op-ed by Robert George, Ryan Anderson and Sherif Gergis, or Michael Hannon’s on-line essay.

In so many ways, this debate is coming to resemble the debate about abortion.  Science and logic (not to mention tradition) all establish the humanity of the unborn, but these don’t seem to matter to our courts and legislatures.  Likewise, in the ongoing debate about marriage, reason and the common good of adults and children — and future generations — continues to be brushed aside by emotion and special interest politics.

Circular Evolution Away from Reason

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

The president has now announced what everyone already knew — he favors the radical redefinition of marriage.

He claimed that this was the result of an “evolution” in his thinking, but it was actually just a public statement of a position that he has held since the mid-1990′s, when he was an obscure State Senator in Illinois.  The non-surprise announcement came at the end of a week when his Vice President and several Cabinet secretaries announced that they supported redefining marriage.  And by all accounts it was the result of a political/financial calculation aimed at shoring up support in a very generous constituency.  Of course, the President tries to have it both ways, claiming that he favors allowing states to maintain the authentic definition of marriage — while his Justice Department undermines that freedom, and while he has actually advocated against it.

Any wonder why so many people are cynical about politics?

In terms of actual policies, it’s hard to see how this announcement will make any difference. The administration has already abdicated its obligation to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, and has even advocated for courts to overturn it — a remarkable position for a president who swore to faithfully execute the laws and the Constitution.  It has assiduously advanced a consistent “gay rights” agenda both at home and abroad.

Regardless of any political calculations, this announcement should fill defenders of marriage with trepidation. The president has an enormous capacity for influencing public opinion. Will he show respect for those who defend authentic marriage, or will this lead to our being further stigmatized as “bigots”? There is no question that the leaders of the effort to redefine marriage wish to equate our position to that of the racist segregationists. Will the President, who claimed to be interested in uniting Americans and moving past the politics of personal destruction, fall in line with that polarizing rhetoric?  His track record is not encouraging.

The federal government also has frightful authority to enforce laws against “discrimination.” Interestingly, the president invoked his personal faith in making this announcement. But will he — and his army of lawyers — show respect for the liberty of churches, organizations, and individuals who disagree with him based on their own religious beliefs? The track record again is not encouraging.

It is a dangerous moment when the president rejects the foundation of our society. It may be a risky future for those of us who dissent.

We are Now Enemies of the State

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I have been warning for some time about the intolerance that we are likely to face from the forces of “tolerance” who backed the bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” here in New York.

The other day, the impending persecution became even clearer, as Governor Cuomo, the highest public official of New York State, declared us to be enemies of the state and nation.

He was speaking to a group of “gay rights” advocates about the process that led to the passage of the so-called “Marriage Equality Act”.  He was remarkably candid about that process, including interesting remarks about the power of money in buying votes, and the behind-the-scenes negotiations for votes.  (By the way, this account of the event comes from the “Gay City News” — I refuse to link to such a source, so you’ll have to take my word for it).

When asked if he found persuasive any arguments offered by the opposition to re-defining marriage, this is what the Governor of all New Yorkers said:

“There is no answer from the opposition. There really isn’t. Ultimately, it’s, ‘I want to discriminate.’ And that’s anti-New York. It’s anti-American.”

Savor that quotation for a moment, and drink in the depth of its arrogance, contempt, and hostility.

No answer by defenders of marriage?

  • Not the thorough and comprehensive philosophical arguments rooted in natural law, offered by Sherif Girgis, Robert George and their colleagues?
  • Not the repeated statements of the United States Bishops and the New York State Bishops?
  • Not the arguments offered by the public in the 41 states that have rejected the re-definition of marriage?
  • Not the arguments that were deemed persuasive by 85 Senators, 342 Representatives, and President Clinton when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996?
  • Not the arguments offered by Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor as state Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, that were found persuasive by our Court of Appeals in the case upholding the real definition of marriage?
  • Not the arguments we were giving legislators in the hallways of the State Capitol and their home offices, for weeks prior to the vote?
  • In reality, Mr. Cuomo doesn’t just disagree with our arguments, he denies their existence.  He clearly believes that they are pernicious, beyond the pale of proper discourse, and motivated only by hatred.

    That is why he has now declared that we are “anti-American” — that is to say, enemies of our nation.

    Those of us who have memories of American history are deeply angered and disturbed by such rhetoric.  We recall a time when Catholics (and the Irish in particular) were deemed to be a threat to America, and were openly persecuted. We thought that we were past those days, but obviously they are returning.

    And remember, the Governor’s thuggish remarks don’t just target the Catholic Church, but also the Orthodox Jewish community, the Evangelical Christian community, many mainline Protestant Churches and Muslims, and others of no religious faith who all believe in the authentic, traditional meaning of marriage.

    It is a chilling moment when the top elected official of our state — a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitutions of our state and nation — has declared that so many people are political pariahs.  When he calls us enemies of the state.

    This is legitimately frightening.  We all know what the power of the state can do to its enemies.

    Re-Orienting the Marriage Conversation

    Monday, October 10th, 2011

    Last week, an important step was taken to moving the national conversation about marriage forward.  It was entitled, “The Ring Makes the Difference”.  The participants in the event were Archbishop Dolan, Pastor Johann Christoph Arnold of the Bruderhof Community, and the scholars Brad Wilcox and Elizabeth Marquard.  A video of the event is available here, and is well worth watching.  There’s also an excellent article in Catholic New York.

    For the most part, the public debate has centered on the battle over the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.  That makes perfect sense, since there is very well-funded, active, organized movement to accomplish that goal.  The Church has been a major opponent of this movement — and a target of their vitriol — and we will continue to do so.

    In fact, the same-sex “marriage” movement seems to believe that the only important discussion about marriage is about them.   It’s become difficult to even bring up the subject of marriage without the redefinition advocates interrupting and clamoring for their cause.  And the “Ring Makes the Difference” event was a perfect illustration of this.  They protested outside the theater, and dominated the question/answer session with their personal appeals for the recognition of their unions (apparently they didn’t get the memo that their bill was passed already in New York).

    But in a larger sense, the debate has never really been about same-sex couples.  Most reliable surveys show that only about 4% of the overall population self-describes themselves as “gay” or “lesbian”.  In those states where marriage has been re-defined, only a small percentage (an estimated 5%) of that small percentage have entered into “marriages”.  In fact, recent Census reports show that there are only about 130,000 same-sex “marriage” households in the United States.  To put this in context, there are about 60,000,000 households that are founded on real marriages, and another 7,500,000 unmarried opposite-sex couples who are cohabiting.

    Let’s do the math.  Based on those Census numbers, same-sex “marriage” couples make up about 0.2% of all households — just two tenths of one percent, or two out of a thousand.

    So why is the discussion being dominated by such a tiny population, most of whom don’t even seem to want to be married anyway?  How about if we start talking about the 99.8% of the households who are not in same-sex “marriages”.  Shouldn’t the discussion be about how the redefinition of marriage affects them, and what social policies we can develop that will help them?

    That was the point of the Ring Makes a Difference event, and that’s why it’s so important — to focus our attention away from the small special interest group, and towards the vast bulk of the population, and the common good.  In fact, the conversation needs to concentrate on the nature of conjugal love, which is oriented to the union of man and woman, with the procreation and raising of children as an inherent part.  The debate can then appeal to the unchallenged scholarly consensus about the social benefits of marriage — how it is the best place for the emotional, financial and overall good of men, women and children.

    To that end, the remarks of Archbishop Dolan were particularly apt.  He made four major points, which in my opinion can serve as a good outline for the discussion as we go forwards:

    1. The defense of marriage is not a religious issue, but is a question that stems from the natural law, and is an expression of responsible American citizenship.
    2. This is not an anti-”gay” issue.
    3. Our concerns about the re-definition of marriage can be seen in the very real threats to religious liberty that are emerging.
    4. The challenge to marriage does not just come from outside, but from inside as well — our own Catholic population has largely lost the proper understanding of true marriage.

    The debate about marriage affects the vast majority of the population, and the common good of all.  It is a dis-service to have the conversation focus only on same-sex couples.  We need to re-orient the discussion.

    Contempt for the Law

    Thursday, July 21st, 2011

    We already knew that they had no regard for the natural or divine law.  Now we have even more evidence that they have contempt for human law too.

    New York City’s government is spending a great deal of time and energy (and taxpayer money) to hold same-sex “weddings” on Sunday, the same day that the new law takes effect.  To allow “weddings” to take place that day, a number of New York State Supreme Court justices have agreed to come to work and grant waivers from the ordinary 24-hour waiting period that our state law requires between the issuance of a marriage license and the solemnization of the marriage.

    On what grounds will they grant those waivers?

    Therein lies the story of the utter contempt with which our public officials hold the law.

    The Speaker of the New York City Council, who takes an oath of office to uphold the laws of our state, was reported to have said this about the waivers:

    The only reason a judge would deny a waiver…  would be if one of the grooms or brides was intoxicated.

    Actually not.

    According to Domestic Relations Law Section 13-b, the following circumstances must exist in order to grant a valid waiver of the 24-hour period (I’ve inserted numbering to make better sense of the long run-on sentence in the law):

    It shall appear from an examination of the license and any other proofs submitted by the parties that one of the parties is (a) in danger of imminent death, or (b) by reason of other emergency public interest will be promoted thereby, or (c) that such delay will work irreparable injury or great hardship upon the contracting parties, or one of them.

    It is absurd to suggest that any of these criteria are present in the carnival-like atmosphere surrounding the “wedding lottery” being conducted to determine who will be allowed to get “married” on Sunday.  One can only wonder what “proofs” — if any — are being submitted.  Remember, petitions for judicial relief are usually made under oath.  Will any judge deny a petition, for an insufficient factual basis?

    It would be nice if some intrepid District Attorney were to warn people not to make any false statements in these petitions, which would be a crime under state law.  The perfect candidate would be the Nassau Count District Attorney, who recently threatened county clerks with criminal charges if they refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses (a threat that itself shows ignorance or contempt of a state law that requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees). It would also be nice if the board that oversees judicial conduct were to examine the orders granted by these eager weekend justices, to see if they were faithful to their own oath of office to uphold the law — especially since Domestic Relations Law Section 13-b makes it a crime to solemnize a marriage without complying with its requirements.

    I’m not holding my breath for any of this to happen. I realize that the law will be ignored, that waivers will be granted on an absurdly pro-forma basis, and that nobody will ever do anything about it. I also understand that this instance of running rough-shod over the law bodes very ill for the coming persecution of religious people and organizations who dissent from the new brand of “marriage”.

    Our public officials hold the law in contempt. Is it any wonder why many people feel the same way about them?

    Varia

    Saturday, July 16th, 2011

    The following are some of the highlights from the daily email briefing about news and events, which I send out to some of my friends and contacts (if you’re interested in subscribing to the daily mailing, leave your email address in the comments box):

  • Must read of the week:  Americans United for Life’s exhaustive report on Planned Parenthood.   The Executive Summary provides the basic narrative, the full report has all the details.
  • Stats on late-term abortions in the UK show that it is being used in a eugenic way, to eliminate disabled persons.
  • More proof that human life as a disposable commodity — women in the UK, pregnant due to IVF, are having abortions because they’ve changed their minds.
  • The madness of sex selection continues in India, with baby girls being subjected to sex change operations.
  • Scholar Brad Wilcox punctures the bubble of those who think that “open marriages” are a great idea.  Why would we ever want to go back to the ’70′s?
  • Yet our narcissistic culture, having learned nothing, now brings us the inevitable lawsuit seeking to legalize polygamy.  If same-sex “marriage” is inevitable, then why not anything else?
  • An Illinois court stops the state from terminating Catholic Charities adoption and foster care services due to the civil unions law.
  • Here’s some background on the series of lies that led to the passage of the Illinois civil unions bill, particularly the lies about how it would affect religious institutions.  And every major public official in that state is a Catholic.
  • Lessons learned about the secularization of Catholic universities, thanks to the NLRB ruling that Manhattan College is no longer a church-operated institution.  A lesson worth bearing in mind as more and more Catholic institutions and schools come under the leadership of lay boards with little or no connection to the Church.  It’s all about Catholic identity and mission.
  • Beautiful story of the current record-holder for the world’s most premature baby (21 weeks, 5 days, 1.01 pounds).
  • (Please note that these links will take you to websites that are not affiliated with the Archdiocese.  We neither take responsibility for nor endorse the contents of the websites.)