by Michael Schuttloffel
Like the results of some sort of judicially administered lab test, the U.S. Supreme Court’s summer decision in Obergefell v. Hodges confirmed two preexisting conditions that do not bode well for the body politic’s long-term health.
First, the court’s invention of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage ratifies the sexual revolution’s core, if unspoken, premise: that the desires of adults trump what’s best for children.
Every child wants to know his or her mother and father, to be with them and to be loved by them. Yet 40 years of quick and easy divorce and exponential growth in out-of-wedlock births have made family breakdown culturally acceptable and, in Hollywood’s reckoning, fashionable even.
Now, Obergefell makes it national policy that children will be deprived of mothers, or fathers, by design. The law will now privilege — with the special treatment reserved for marriage — relationships where children will have two “fathers” but no mother, or vice versa. Commercials that celebrate two dads cuddling their bouncing baby ignore the cold reality that this child will never have a mommy, will never know a mother’s embrace and that the adults are doing this on purpose.
Second, Obergefell confirmed, once and for all, that on an increasing number of issues, the United States is a democracy in name only. The Obergefell decision is fundamentally illegitimate — not only because the institution of marriage preexists the federal government and is not refashionable by judges, but because the decision is nakedly an exercise in results-driven legislating from the bench.
Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito offered similarly strong remarks, but perhaps most stunning is the beginning of Justice Scalia’s dissent, which he says he writes “to call attention to this court’s threat to American democracy.” Think about that.
The country seems content to allow five unelected judges — all born in California or New York City and all Harvard or Yale graduates — to serve as some sort of super-legislature, empowered to make law on marriage for 300 million Americans, even though they were picked, as the Scalia dissent points out, “for their skill as lawyers,” not because they are representative of the American people’s views or have demonstrated any sort of policy expertise.
Perhaps it is fitting that a decision so in conflict with the basic facts of biology, sexuality and history is equally preposterous constitutionally. That all the wheels are coming off at once is, however, rarely much consolation.