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The Supreme Court’s Embrace of Unreality

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Robert R. Reilly - published on 07/01/13 - updated on 06/08/17

Apparently, there is a relationship between the sort of marriage you allow and the freedom you exercise. Was Justice Kennedy aware of this consideration? Also, did not the prohibition of polygamy have “the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure” those who practiced it? Justice Kennedy said that DOMA’s message to “married” homosexuals and lesbians was “that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others" and imposed "a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages". If that was his main objection, when Justice Kennedy is confronted with cases of polygamy or polyandry, as surely he will be if he lives long enough, what criteria has he left in place to object to them?

What DOMA did was refuse to subsidize the redefinition of marriage in those states that chose to redefine it by refusing Federal benefits to same-sex couples. This, of course, was completely within the legitimate power of Congress to do, and did not in any way constitutionally impinge upon the power of the states. The Windsor decision proposes the novel notion that definitions in state law preempt definitions in Federal law that concern Federal law.
Since when?

The philosophical and moral nub of the matter was reached with Justice Kennedy’s statement that, “What the State of New York treats as alike the Federal law deems unlike by a law designed to injure the same class the State seeks to protect”. In other words, are heterosexual marriages like or unlike same-sex “marriages”? Are sodomitical “marriages”, as Windsor asserts, “equal with all other marriages”? And, therefore, was the problem with DOMA that it strove to take what was equal and “make them unequal”, and that its “principal purpose is to impose inequality”? Was DOMA imposing inequality or simply recognizing it? Is sodomy really the same as conjugal coition?

Obviously, the Windsor ruling rests upon the extraordinary proposition that marriage, as it has been understood throughout recorded history, is the same as sodomitical “marriage”, which was unheard of until the Netherlands introduced it in 2000.

To claim that homosexual marriage is equivalent to the family, the sine qua non of the enduring existence of any political order, is to deny the foundations of society. To claim that a type of behavior on which the polis is founded is equivalent to a type of behavior inimical to a polity’s foundation is to deny the principle of non-contradiction. Homosexuals want their marriages to be recognized as a part of the social order, and the Supreme Court has bestowed it.

However, it has been clear since at least Aristotle that the interest of the state in marriage is in its essential role for the propagation of society. Homosexual “marriages” play no such part in society, as they are neither unitive nor procreative; so what would be the interest of the state in recognizing them? Why is homosexual marriage morally or politically worthy of institutional protection? The price for providing it is to remove both the unitive and procreative aspects essential to marriage, thus evacuating it of meaning and replacing it with “pretend” marriage. So as not to hurt the feelings of homosexuals, let them pretend they are married. In fact, let’s pretend with them. Even more, we will make everyone pretend together. Then no one will be hurt.

Alas, the price for this embrace of unreality is too high. It is a betrayal of the nuptial meaning of the body. Sodomy is an act opposed to the good of marriage. How, then, can it be its foundation? Something cannot be its opposite. But the Supreme Court has just said that it can, and that the Federal government and we as taxpayers must agree. “Thinking against nature”, wrote Irenaeus in Against Heresies (180 AD), “you will become foolish. And if you persist you will fall into insanity”. QED.

Originally published by MercatorNet on June 27th, 2013.

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