The Supreme Court, Prop 8, and Tough Questions
If marriage is a particular thing, then everyone has a right to take part in that institution as it stands, regardless of their personal characteristics. But to be part of the institution, they must be part of the institution. They don’t have a right to change that institution into something different simply because they don’t want to be part of it the way it is.
The post links to an entry over at the First Things blog (link) where Glen Stanton points out some of the tough questions that are finally being asked in the public debate. And not just by conservative judges:
Justice Kennedy and others illustrated the historical imbalance between natural marriage and this new proposal. Kennedy expressed that he thinks “there’s substance to the point that sociological information [on same-sex parenting] is new. We have five years of information to weight against two thousand years of history or more.”
An exchange between Justice Roberts and Solicitor General Verrilli is particularly refreshing — Especially in a time where logic and rationality are all but absent from public discourse:
We see the argument made that there is no problem with extending marriage to same-sex couples because children raised by same-sex couples are doing just fine and there is no evidence that they are being harmed. And the other argument is Proposition 8 harms children by not allowing same-sex couples to [marry]. Which is it?
Verrilli could only go to the stock “poor them” response which only made Robert’s question more relevant:
Their parents cannot marry and that has effects on them in the here and now. A stabilizing effect is not there. When they go to school, they have to, you know—they don’t have parents like everybody else’s parents.
Opponents of Prop 8 argue that same-sex marriage doesn’t harm children because we see children raised in those homes now and they’re fine. But we need to allow same-sex partners to marry because their children are not doing fine.
The First Things article is an excellent read, and I’ll stop here before I simply quote the whole thing. I’ll just leave you with this final quote:
As Alito colorfully remarked, same-sex marriage is “newer than cell phones and the Internet.” Why has this “fundamental human right” not been a long-debated (much less recognized) issue like slavery and the standing of women in society have been for thousands of years to varying degrees? It is a very good and central question.
I love good questions.