Democracy and Marriage
An essay titled simply “Jay Sekulow on ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ Case” was published at Catholic Online today. In a glowing introduction to the essay, Deacon Fournier writes that Sekulow is “the finest Supreme Court Advocate I have ever encountered”. Let’s hope that Sekulow does a little more homework before going to court than he does before writing embarrassing and uninformed articles for Catholic Online.
“By a vote of 4-3, the California Supreme Court struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage – changing the definition of marriage by judicial fiat.
The decision is a disappointing one and represents another example of an activist judiciary that overreached by taking this issue out of the hands of the state legislature where it belongs.”
The definition of marriage belongs to the state legislature? Let’s see where that gets us …
“The California high court failed to uphold what the state legislature and an overwhelming majority of California voters clearly understand – that the institution of marriage is limited to one man and one woman.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The California state legislature voted twice – twice! – in the last four years to legalize same-sex marriage. Both of these bills were vetoed by our stuffed-shirt windbag girly-man of a governor out of sheer political expediency. ( Yes, that would be the same governor who now “supports” this ruling and opposes the Protect Marriage initiative. With respect to same-sex marriage, Schwarzenegger told a reporter in an interview last week: “I’m against it, but I don’t have a problem with it”. Seeking to clarify, the reporter asked “So you’re against it?” “No”, replies the governor, “I said I don’t have a problem with it.” Gotcha. ) If the California state legislature had its way, we would have been a gay-marriage state in 2005.
As to the “overwhelming majority” of California voters, the vote in 2000 was 61% in an election where Democrat participation was unusually low. If the Protect Marriage initiative were voted on today (assuming a balanced voter turnout) the margin of victory would be razor-thin – not an “overwhelming majority” by a long shot.
In Massachusetts popular support for same-sex marriage increased dramatically after the 2004 ruling, which stands to reason since most people tend to view the law as a proximate measure of morality. Therefore it is quite possible that here in California, where “the people” have been gradually warming up to the idea of same-sex marriage for decades, there will not be sufficient votes come November to amend the constitution. We shall see.
The problem with today’s so-called “conservatives” is that the rhetoric of democracy no longer serves the cause of faith, family, and traditional values. This, of course, was easily forseen by those who bothered to think ahead. Democracy only works when there is a social consensus that agrees with the truth. That consensus is eroding because democracy itself – in the ideological form embodied in Sekulow’s remarks – weakens the very notion of truth.
We need a new political vocabulary.
“What is stunning about this decision is the fact that the court overreached and usurped the authority of the state legislature and the voters of California.”
The same tired, useless talking-points again. The legislature is not on our side, Dr. Sekulow. And the voters could turn on us in a heartbeat. California is arguably a center-right state, but most of our voters lack serious political convictions and eschew what they see as “partisanship”. In November they will vote for the side which seems the least partisan and makes them feel good about themselves.
“The majority … simply does not have the right to erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage, as virtually all societies have understood it, in order to satisfy its own contemporary notions of equality and justice.”
Quite so – and this applies not only to Supreme Court justices, but to any majority who would dare “erase, then recast, the age-old definition of marriage”.
“The California Constitution says nothing about the rights of same-sex couples to marry. On the contrary, as the majority concedes, our original Constitution, effective from the moment of statehood, evidenced an assumption that marriage was between partners of the opposite sex.”
True, but this knife cuts both ways. If the majority of the people, or their representatives, voted to legalize same-sex marriage in California, the Supreme Court would be obliged to override the “will of the people” in order to defend the traditional definition of marriage which is implicit in the constitution. And what would the American Center for Law and Justice have to say about it then?
“How to define marriage must rest with the People and not become, as Justice Baxter in his dissenting opinion put it, an ‘exercise in legal jujitsu.’”
How to define marriage must never “rest with the people”. That’s how we arrived at this disastrous juncture in the first place. “The people” have already redefined marriage as a voidable, transitory business contract, for the subjective purposes of sexual pleasure and personal fulfillment, having no intrinsic connection to the begetting and education of children, and without any essential relationship to the health of our civilization and social order. There is no reason for “the people” to oppose same-sex marriage other than what someone has called “the yuck factor”.
I’m glad that most Californians, thus far, still have “the yuck factor” when it comes to homosexuality. But the reality is that “the yuck factor” is all that stands between California and barbarism. The natural and theological underpinnings of marriage have already been destroyed by champions of democracy like Jay Sekulow. When “the yuck factor” disappears – and our sick, degraded culture knows how to deal with “the yuck factor” – California will have become what most people east of the Sierras, quite erroneously until now, have long believed it to be, a paradise for sodomites and a land defined by perversion.