Are marriages made in heaven, or in courtrooms? Are civil laws that define "the family" man's best effort to codify his understanding of God's law, or are they merely artificial constructions conveniently pieced together by legislatures and judges to suit their passing political and ideological interests?
"Simply put," the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts said this week, "the government creates civil marriage." Therefore, the court concluded, same-sex couples have a "right" to marry under the Massachusetts Constitution which "affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals" and "forbids the creation of second-class citizens."
The court might as well have said: Simply put, the government creates private property. Therefore, to "affirm the dignity and equality of all individuals" and to prevent the "creation of second-class citizens," we conclude poor people have a right to steal.
Or, the court might have said: Simply put, the government creates the right to life. Therefore, we conclude, people can abort babies and clone and kill human embryos for pharmaceutical research.
Three decades ago, American judges did indeed start abolishing the fundamental right to life. Today we stand on the threshold of man usurping God by creating human beings through cloning and using them as tools to be profited from and discarded.
Now, American judges are starting to abolish the fundamental building block of all human society, the family. Where will we stand three decades hence?
Are these judges laying down fertile soil for the further blossoming of liberty -- as they would have us believe? Or are we headed for a dimmer place, where true human rights are further imperiled, not protected?
In its 4-3 opinion, the Massachusetts court approvingly cited the 6-3 opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in the June 26 case of Lawrence v. Texas, which declared a "right" to same-sex sodomy. "Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code," said the Lawrence majority. Tellingly, it was quoting from Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision that upheld the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, which declared abortion a "right."
There is a dark logic to this lineage.
Justice Antonin Scalia spelt it out in his prophetic dissent in Lawrence -- in which he mocked the majority's lame disclaimer that a "right" to same-sex marriage did not necessarily follow from a "right" to same-sex sodomy.