Friday, June 26, 2015

Gay Marriage Decision

As a former teacher (and now openly-liberal gentleman), I would like to comment on the U. S. Supreme Court decision today.

First, the Declaration of Independence is clear: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

It has taken much time to bring principle and practice into line—to end slavery in 1865, to determine that “men” includes both sexes and grant females the vote in 1920, and now to allow gays and lesbians to marry.

I think it was Justice Hugo Black who once explained his position in regard to the Bill of Rights this way: “Your rights end where the other person’s nose begins.” So: if gays and lesbians marry, my marriage is not harmed.

My nose is in no way bloodied.

As for Justice Thomas, one of the four members of the Supreme Court in the minority, I wonder that he did not recall a time in 1967, when his very own marriage (to a white woman) would have been illegal and criminal in many states.

(Anti-miscegenation laws were overturned that year, in Loving v. Virginia.)

Who, with even a rudimentary understanding of the U. S. Constitution, would uphold such laws today?

Nor is the decision today to be construed as an attack on freedom of religion, I don’t think. All good people of faith may still attend the churches of their choice. They may take communion as they wish. They may study the Bible, Koran or Torah as they please.

So should it be.

If some preacher wants to warn his congregation that the Sodomites are now irrevocably bound for Hell, that’s freedom of religion, too. If some ministers, priests or rabbis don’t want to marry gay couples, that is still a protected decision—and if it were ever to be taken as far as the U. S. Supreme Court, I would bet that the right to refuse would be protected by a 9-0 vote.

There are, however, limits to all rights, including freedom of religion. An old-fashioned Christian, Muslim or Jew, for example, could not say, “We claim the right the right to stone adulterers who belong to our church, temple or mosque.”

Freedom of religion and personal liberty do not always perfectly correspond.

That’s my thinking, anyway. And to all, I say, have a nice day.

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