The Supreme Court Casts Us Beyond the Pale

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.

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2 Responses to “The Supreme Court Casts Us Beyond the Pale”

  1. [...] Mechmann echoes Justice Scalia: five Justices (including one who graduated from my own alma mater, Cardinal [...]

  2. Peter Rox says:

    The US Supreme Court did nothing at all to Catholic marriage, or to the marriages performed by those faiths which do not recognize gay marriage. The Catholics, as well as other religious groups opposing gay marriage, must understand that the US is pluralistic society. The Catholic view is not the only one. There are in fact numerous faiths which do strongly support gay marriage. In 2008, the Episcopalian Bishops of California unanimously issued a statement against Proposition 8, and arguing that the Gospel supports the development in society of same-sex marriage. Outside the US Supreme Court last week for the announcements of the cases, the crowd included a great many clergy of numerous faiths supporting gay marriage. The Catholic position would have more credibility if it did not have such an incredible anti-gay history. Every single piece of legislation concerning gays in every single state has been strongly opposed by the local bishops. These proposed legal protections have dealt with non-discrimination in housing, in jobs, in education,anti-bullying of children perceived to be gay, and access to health care. The Archdiocese of Chicago even opposed a parade permit for gays last year in Chicago. Regrettably, a great many gays, women, baptized Catholics who practice birth control, clergy who have left the priesthood for marriage, have all come to the conclusion that they have more human dignity afforded to them and recognition of their human rights under the US Constitution than they have in the Gospel as preached by the Catholic hierarchy. News reports on NPR last week were that the Chicago gay parade had 1.1Million participants and spectators, incidentally a great many more than the numbers currently attending weekly Sunday Mass in Chicago, supposedly America’s most Catholic city.