With the decision of the US Supreme Court last week in U.S. v. Windsor, the subject of marriage has been much in the news. By a vote of 5 to 4, the high court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined "marriage" as the legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and limited the word "spouse" to apply only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.
Led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the majority ruled that Congress' definitions were constitutionally flawed because they didn't include same-sex couples. Currently a minority of states (only twelve) permit same-sex couples to marry, while the remaining 38 states refuse to extend the rights of marriage to homosexual unions.
The majority's opinion is short on constitutional exegesis (not unexpected since the Constitution does not speak to the issue of same-sex marriage), but long on invective. Kennedy, the Court's Moralizer-in-Chief, impugns the motives of the lawmakers who passed DOMA and accuses them of being motivated by malice and hate. Justice Antonin Scalia, in his dissenting opinion, sums up the accusations hurled by Kennedy and company: The lawmakers' purpose was "to disparage and injure" same-sex couples and the motive of DOMA was to "demean," to impose "inequality," to impose a "stigma," to deny people "equal dignity," to brand gay people as "unworthy," and to "humiliate[e] their children.
That's a lot of rhetorical venom spewed by a largely unaccountable, non-elected branch of government towards the elected representatives of the American people. But when black-robed supremacists find themselves short of constitutional authority, it is perhaps understandable that they would resort to painting their opponents with the brush of bigotry and, as Justice Scalia points out, brand them as "hostis humanis generis," or "enemies of the human race." Sadly, those of us who oppose the killing of innocent children in the womb and support traditional marriage have become accustomed to such tactics.
One can only assume that the Court's majority would ascribe similar motives to Jesus of Nazareth, whose position on marriage appears not unlike that set forth in DOMA. Responding to a question from the Pharisees about the permissibility of divorce, Jesus reminded them of the Creator's intention that marriage was to be an enduring institution between a man and a woman:
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