I’ve mentioned on several occasions that there is a movement in our nation to stigmatize anyone who opposes same-sex “marriage” as a bigot. Yesterday, yet another of our Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Rulers in the Courts — I’m sorry, I mean a federal judge — has advanced that movement even further.
A federal district judge in Massachusetts yesterday struck down certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), claiming that it is unconstitutional. You may recall that DOMA was passed by Congress in 1996 by huge majorities (85-14 in the Senate, 342-67 in the House), and signed into law by President Clinton. It guarantees two significant things — that for the purposes of federal law and benefits the word “marriage” means only a bond between a man and a woman, and that states cannot be required to grant legal recognition to same-sex “marriages” entered into in other states. In fact, DOMA was considered to be so strong a law that it was used as the excuse by many legislators for declining to support the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have defined marriage in our Constitution as being between one man and one woman.
This is a simple, common-sense law, and it is supported by wide margins in every public opinion poll ever taken. But of course, in our judge-ocracy, that is not good enough. Enter the district court in Massachusetts, which found that parts of DOMA violated the principles of federalism, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The court’s legal reasoning, such as it is, doesn’t require too much comment, beyond the observation of legal scholar Ed Whalen that “This ruling strikes me as just plain nuts.” I couldn’t agree more. How can it violate the Constitution for the federal government to define what a word means, for the purposes of enforcing federal laws? And how can it violate “equal protection” to treat relationships that are fundamentally different in a disparate way?
Two things about this ruling are most significant to me. First is the statement by the court that:
… where, as here, there is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class [i.e., those in same-sex "marriages"] is different, in relevant respects from a similarly situated class [i.e., those in man-woman marriages], this court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification.
Yes, a United States court couldn’t figure out any difference between a man-woman marriage and a same sex relationship, and then proceeded to call every person who is a believing member of virtually every major religious group — Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, whatever — an irrational bigot. Talk about irrational.
The second significant thing was the approach taken by the Administration in this litigation. Ordinarily, it’s the duty of the Justice Department to defend the constitutionality of federal statutes. Unfortunately, the agenda of this Administration, which strongly favors “gay rights” in general and same-sex “marriage” in particular, trumped the duty of the Justice Department. Instead of defending the reasons underlying DOMA, the Justice Department instead told the court that it “does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing.” In other words, the Administration gave the judge a nod and a wink, implicitly telling him that they would like him to void the law.
There are many issues involved in these kinds of case: the replacement of democracy by a judicial oligarchy, the inversion of values in our culture, the willingness of elites to impose their agendas on the people. To me, the worst thing is the growing momentum behind the marginalization of religious persons, branding us as bigots. That has frightening implications for the future.