© Robert Sommers 2019

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dumb DOMA Doomed

Alexander the Great 333 b.c. Battle of Issus - House of the faun, Pompeii

Cromwell, Alexander, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Emerson, Willie Cather, Jane Addams, the list of gay and lesbian people is as old as the history of mankind. I applaud today's SCOTUS decision overturning DOMA, a decision which chips away at the ossified societal rubric that would deny gay couples equal rights.

These rights include rights of receivership and probate, of immigration of a foreign born spouse, the right to visit one's spouse in the hospital, social security benefits, seemingly normal societal privileges that heterosexual couples take for granted. Real tangible stuff.

The end of the oppression of gay people and their ascension to equal standing in our society is no less a watershed as the end of slavery. The fact that slavery was such an old institution did not make it right. The corollary is important. The marriage contract has been a tool to subjugate historically. In fact, until the end of the civil war, blacks had no rights to marry in this country. Jews could not marry gentiles in Germany prior to the holocaust. Interracial marriage was banned in California until 1948.

I read the entire opinion and dissent today and it was enlightening.

Roberts obliquely warns in his dissent that this is merely a structural bookkeeping type matter, and woe to those who think that the matter has been settled. This is the way it has always been done everywhere.

Alito takes an originalist posture, the right of same sex marriage is not spoken for in the constitution and this is the proper province of elected officials.

Which is sort of funny because yesterday SCOTUS overturned a Voting Rights Act voted on near unanimously by the elected officials and that was not good enough. Things need to be enacted by the legislature unless we don't agree with them. Scalia, as expected, evokes the most fire and brimstone. Why not polygamy now? - all that crap. Society has a role in enforcing traditional morality.
"When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with 'whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.'"Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it 'demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects." Justice Antonin Scalia

Anyway you can read the dissent if you are bored, certain parts of the legal gobbledy gook are instructive.
The reaction from some conservatives is pretty funny and pretty typical. God is crying. God needs a tissue.

"Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.What the Court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States.”
Michele Bachmann

"The DOMA ruling has now made the normalization of polygamy, pedophilia, incest and bestiality inevitable. Matter of time."
Bryan Fischer - American Family Association

Boy, they always want to bring up that bestiality stuff. What's up with that?

It is clear, the tide is turning. People will have to make a decision which side of history they want to be on. This is a major human rights issue of our time and it is far from over.


Anonymous said...

Bestiality is what we had before today's decision. Bestial for the "some" to refuse equality to the "all"...We're supposed to be clear-thinking, fair-minded, civilized human beings.

Equal justice, equal protection, equal rights under the law.

randyman said...

One day, Scalia's head is simply going to explode.

His dissent was quite entertaining, in a train-wreck kind of way... until you rermember that this man is sitting on the court.

One of the less theatrical, but more telling lines was: "The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.”

I still have an "exalted conception" of the court's role. It's distressing that both Scalia and Thomas share a base view of the court, as no more than a sausage factory. And in their hands, that's all it is.