Sodomy ruling, part II: a liberal goldmine

Posted: Jul 05, 2003 12:00 AM

 The Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas (the sodomy case) is a veritable gold mine for liberals and the shifting values they hold dear.
Not many conservatives I know have any desire to see the sodomy laws of any state enforced against homosexual behavior within the confines of one's private residence. But the Supreme Court's opinion had little to do with protecting that kind of privacy and much more to do with legitimizing homosexuality, moral relativism and the concept of the Constitution as an evolving document. And for good measure, the Court also took a gratuitous swipe at American sovereignty in the process.

 Sure, Justice Anthony Kennedy talked about privacy, and his reasoning could have disastrous consequences if applied to its logical conclusion, as Senator Rick Santorum correctly warned. But "privacy" is hardly what was motivating the majority. The Court was determined to make a statement endorsing homosexuality as a status, not just homosexual behavior. This is profound and far ranging, but part of a continuing progression of cases sanctioning homosexuals as a protected class. The Court in Romer v. Evans (1996), for example, struck down a Colorado statute that prohibited granting special protection to homosexuals under state antidiscrimination laws.

 In his majority opinion, Justice Kennedy criticized (before overruling) the 1986 Supreme Court case of Bowers v. Hardwick, in which the Court validated a state sodomy law, for demeaning the homosexual relationship. "To say that the issue in Bowers was simply the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse." And, "(The) continuance (of the Bowers case) as precedent demeans the lives of homosexual persons."

 I am not disputing that a criminal statute outlawing sodomy between homosexuals demeans the homosexual relationship -- of course it does, and it's intended to. Until relatively recently our society openly disapproved of such relationships. But it is equally true that the Court's language legitimizes such relationships -- and is intended to. Had the Court merely intended to protect the homosexual act within the home it wouldn't have addressed the "demeaning of the homosexual relationship." The Court also acknowledged the "dignity" of homosexuals "as free persons."

 And where this Court is concerned, forget any affinity for the Constitution's original intent, much less its reliance on absolute truths. Kennedy continued, "(The drafters of the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments) knew times can blind us to certain truths, and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress." Are we to infer from this that the writers of the Bible were blind to certain truths and that we can now safely discard them as outmoded, prejudicial and homophobic? This concept might be news to King Solomon, who told us "there is nothing new under the sun."

 Justice Kennedy's endorsement of postmodern moral relativism and humanism is hardly new. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1996), he and his robed colleagues wrote, "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State."

 Oh well, we might as well throw out American sovereignty along with moral absolutes while we're at it. I'm not exaggerating. The Court virtually incorporated into the Constitution the ever-changing values of other nations -- "a wider civilization." "The right the petitioners seek in this case has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom in many other countries," said the Court. "There has been no showing that in this country the governmental interest in circumscribing personal choice is somehow more legitimate or urgent (than that of other nations)."

 Swell. Now we not only have to contend with the erosion of traditional values from the aggressive moral relativism in our own country, but that of other even more "progressive" nations. What possible justification is there to consider, let alone adopt, as constitutional principles the values of other nations? The last time I checked, we didn't have an international constitution.

 President Bush has provided badly needed moral leadership in our War on Terror. But while we're paying scant attention, our moral foundations are continuing to crumble from within. The president should use his bully pulpit to challenge this court publicly. Done effectively, it could lead to the filibuster-proof majority he needs to bring sanity to the judiciary.