The court didn't shut down the debate...yet
We have always been a nation whose government serves by the consent of the governed, with separate and enumerated powers, states’ rights, rule of law and all that. Things have been ‘evolving, in popular parlance. With the Supreme Court rulings on marriage this week, we got a paradigm shift from self-government to ‘the tyranny of the majority,’ though that needs clarification to understand the meaning of “majority”, the way most of the language we’re using these days could benefit from clarification.
So just to recap quickly, John Adams, Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill all referred to this term, roughly to mean ‘those who control the levers of power’, in my shorthand translation. Lord Acton put it thus:
It’s apt, as Pope Benedict found it to be in his address to the UN General Assembly in 2008 warning about the consensus of the few in power not necessarily representing what’s best for the people they govern.
Which gets us to this week’s Supreme Court ruling. There is much to unpack here. Some quick picks for first analysis:
NRO editors were succinct.
There’s the throwdown. They decided a pair of cases, one involving Prop 8 and one involving DOMA. There are reams of commentaries to digest, but here’s a blast of clarity:
This follows the type of wording Kennedy has used for at least a decade, so it didn’t surprise Court watchers though it dismayed a segment of them.
But here’s an essential point:
That just stated the reasons for marriage law and the State’s interest in it. It also revealed the stark reality that marriage is what the consensus defines it as now.
This, I think, is important:
We could come to a full stop right there. But let’s move into another analysis piece about what the Court did, by the authors of ‘What Is Marriage?’
So those of you who believe in that had better go for it, because the window is closing. Because as the NRO editors concluded…
Some of my expert guests on radio this week have said justices, particularly Kennedy, are just waiting for the case to be brought that will give them cause to redefine marriage for the entire nation. And inevitably, it will.
But in the meantime, consider what those who want that redefinition are after. Dr. Paul Kengor puts a fine lens on it, one that bears reflection. All other arguments aside for the moment, marriage re-definers are after fatherless or motherless families, if children are involved at all. And that’s something we should all be concerned about. We all used to be, not that long ago, as Kengor points out.
Amen to that. Who would disagree? Back then, no one. So, as Kengor asks…
The answer, of course, is gay marriage. With their sudden embrace of gay marriage, a massive shift not only within America, American culture and human civilization, but also within the Democratic party, liberals/progressives nationwide are – whether they realize it or not – simultaneously advocating a redefinition of family that embraces fatherless ones. Think about it: married female-female parents will be households without dads.
Which used to be point – fatherless households – on which liberals and conservatives agreed. It was to be avoided whenever and however possible, because of the importance of fathers.
Kengor already cited Obama on this in 2008. Now he unifies – or universalizes – the message.
A decade later, such sentiments were consistently reinforced by Democratic president Bill Clinton, who understood the toll delivered by fatherless homes…
That principle remains unchanged. What has changed, however, is liberals/progressives’ fierce acceptance and advancement of gay marriage. In this rapid push, they are jettisoning this national consensus on fathers, demanding a form of parenting that excludes fathers. As for those who disagree with their new paradigm, they are derided as cruel, thoughtless bigots, with no possible legitimate reason for their unenlightened position.
Actually, what today’s liberals are advocating is far more radical than that. They are pushing not only for fatherless families but also, conversely, motherless families. Think about it: married male-male parents (the other half of gay marriage) will be households without moms.
Everyone reading my words knows that mothers are utterly irreplaceable. That’s a statement of the obvious…
Why would anyone, let alone a country or culture, want to open the door for a reconstitution of parenthood and family that, by literal definition, excludes mothers?
So implied in all this is the whole category of human beings whose rights aren’t as often advocated for, because they don’t have such powerful, well funded and well connected advocates. The children.