OBERGEFELL v. HODGES: 5-4 Supreme Court Mandates Gay Marriage Nationally

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How wrong you were Alex.

In a decision which completes the transition of the Supreme Court to a super legislature, the Court today mandated gay marriage across the nation.  Justice Scalia’s dissent, shorn of footnotes and legal citations to aid in reading by non-attorneys, notes that the Court is a threat to American democracy:

 

JUSTICE SCALIA, with whom JUSTICE THOMAS joins, dissenting. I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full.  I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.

The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me.  The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes, and can accord them favorable civil consequences, from tax treatment to rights of inheritance.

Those civil consequences—and the public approval that conferring the name of marriage evidences—can perhaps have adverse social effects, but no more adverse than the effects of many other controversial laws.  So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me.  Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. 

The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention.  This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.

I

Until the courts put a stop to it, public debate over same-sex marriage displayed American democracy at its best. Individuals on both sides of the issue passionately, but respectfully, attempted to persuade their fellow citizens to accept their views. Americans considered the arguments and put the question to a vote. The electorates of 11 States, either directly or through their representatives, chose to expand the traditional definition of marriage. Many more decided not to.1 Win or lose, advocates for both sides continued pressing their cases, secure in the knowledge that an electoral loss can be negated by a later electoral win. That is exactly how our system of government is supposed to work. 

The Constitution places some constraints on self-rule— constraints adopted by the People themselves when they ratified the Constitution and its Amendments.  Forbidden are laws “impairing the Obligation of Contracts,”  denying “Full Faith and Credit” to the “public Acts” of other States, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing the right to keep and bear arms, authorizing unreasonable searches and seizures, and so forth.  Aside from these limitations, those powers “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” can be exercised as the States or the People desire. These cases ask us to decide whether the Fourteenth Amendment contains a limitation that requires the States to license and recognize marriages between two people of the same sex. Does it remove that issue from the political process?

Of course not.  It would be surprising to find a prescription regarding marriage in the Federal Constitution since, as the author of today’s opinion reminded us only two years ago (in an opinion joined by the same Justices who join him today):

“[R]egulation of domestic relations is an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.”

“[T]he Federal Government, through our history, has deferred to state-law policy decisions with respect to domestic relations.”

But we need not speculate.  When the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, every State limited marriage to one man and one woman, and no one doubted the constitutionality of doing so. That resolves these cases. When it comes to determining the meaning of a vague constitutional provision—such as “due process of law” or “equal protection of the laws”—it is unquestionable that the People who ratified that provision did not understand it to prohibit a practice that remained both universal and uncontroversial in the years after ratification. We have no basis for striking down a practice that is not expressly prohibited by the Fourteenth Amendment’s text, and that bears the endorsement of a long tradition of open, widespread, and unchallenged use dating back to the Amendment’s ratification. Since there is no doubt whatever that the People never decided to prohibit the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the public debate over same-sex marriage must be allowed to continue.

But the Court ends this debate, in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law.  Buried beneath the mummeries and straining-to-be-memorable passages of the opinion is a candid and startling assertion: No matter what it was the People ratified, the Fourteenth Amendment protects those rights that the Judiciary, in its “reasoned judgment,” thinks the Fourteenth Amendment ought to protect. That is so because “[t]he generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dissenting dimensions . . . . ”One would think that sentence would continue: “. . . and therefore they provided for a means by which the People could amend the Constitution,” or perhaps “. . . and therefore they left the creation of additional liberties, such as the freedom to marry someone of the same sex, to the People, through the never-ending process of legislation.”  But no.  What logically follows, in the majority’s judge-empowering estimation, is: “and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”  The “we,” needless to say, is the nine of us.  “History and tradition guide and discipline [our] inquiry but do not set its outer boundaries.” Thus, rather than focusing on the People’s understanding of “liberty”—at the time of ratification or even today—the majority focuses on four “principles and traditions” that, in the majority’s view, prohibit States from defining marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman.

This is a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.  Except as limited by a constitutional prohibition agreed to by the People, the States are free to adopt whatever laws they like, even those that offend the esteemed Justices’ “reasoned judgment.” A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy.

Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant.  Not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America. Take, for example, this Court, which consists of only nine men and women, all of them successful lawyers who studied at Harvard or Yale Law School. Four of the nine are natives of New York City.  Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States.  Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single Southwesterner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count). Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination. The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation. 

II

But what really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch.  The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds— minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly— could not. They are certain that the People ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.”  These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.  It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so. Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.  “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.” (Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms?  And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say.)  Rights, we are told, can “rise . . . from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.”  (Huh? How can a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives [whatever that means] define [whatever that means] an urgent liberty [never mind], give birth to a right?)  And we are told that, “[i]n any particular case,” either the Equal Protection or Due Process Clause “may be thought to capture the essence of [a] right in a more accurate and comprehensive way,” than the other, “even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right.”  (What say?  What possible “essence” does substantive due process “capture” in an “accurate and comprehensive way”?  It stands for nothing whatever, except those freedoms and entitlements that this Court really likes. And the Equal Protection Clause, as employed today, identifies nothing except a difference in treatment that this Court  really dislikes. Hardly a distillation of essence.  If the opinion is correct that the two clauses “converge in the identification and definition of [a] right,” that is only because the majority’s likes and dislikes are predictably compatible.) I could go on.  The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational popphilosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.

* * *

Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth before a fall.  The Judiciary is the “least dangerous” of the federal branches because it has “neither Force nor Will, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm” and the States, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.”  With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.

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74 Comments

  1. The contours of the slippery slope have long been visible.

    But Tom, don’t you know slippery slope arguments are logical fallacies?

    If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ‘no legitimate state interest’ for purposes of proscribing that conduct … what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising ‘[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution?’ – Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, 2003.

    Oh. Wait.

  2. “Has God turned his back on this once blessed land?”

    No. Humans have turned their back of God. Now, what will we with God do and, probably, suffer as a result?

  3. We learn today that 600,000 men died in order that the 13th and 14th amendments can now be used to sacranentalize sodomy as an act beneficial for the survival of society. We have dishonored ourselves, our ancestors, our culture, our traditions, and the noble dead. Lord have mercy on us.

    The majority opinion is chilling as it makes a fist in glove reference to the right of the religious community to continue to advocate (but clearly not in the public square) and teach our children (but likely not others). Roberts picked up on the use of language replacing free exercise of religion. This is a manifesto for the left. Tax status of the Church–gone. Accreditation of Church schools–gone. Church teachings as hate speech–institutionalized. I blame this on CO2 and global warming. It’s interrelated don’t you know.

  4. Polygamy, bestiality, pedophilia, etc – the entire horrid putrid lot of sexual perversion – will be losed upon us. I hope this can be resolved without recourse to civil war, but I fear not. Liberal progressive Democrats will use this to begin open active persecution of Christians, and I fear but hope not that only a Maccabean response can stop them. These people are utterly, totally and completely evil and depraved.

  5. I would assume polygamy will be next.

    You’re assuming logical consistency applies. The disreputable Mr. Sailer put it thus: “It’s a popularity contest. Mormon polygamists are extremely unpopular, so no one is going to do anything for them”. Legal decisions like this may make use of a particular (deadly) idiom, but they reflect elements of elite culture, the culture of the bar, and the intersection of the two in the appellate judiciary.

    Here’s the business: the self-understanding of the legal profession (and, really, of the professional-managerial element generally) is no longer compatible with free and popular government. A couple of outcomes seem possible. One is a continuing slide into political pantomime until our institutions are as rococo and divorced from popular sentiment as those of the Venitian Republic. Another is what Gottfried Dietze called a diffidatio the result of which is that our legal, academic, and media Bourbons are put in their place, at considerable cost in blood and treasure. Just what we all want when we are facing an ascendant China.

    See Conrad Black: the political class in this country has flubbed every issue of the post-Cold War period bar welfare reform (and, in a selection of loci, crime control). Now we have elite figures who want to trash what achievements have been had in these areas as well (Obama, di Blasio, and the dolt soon to be inaugurated as Mayor of Philadelphia). We have a bad and incompetent elite without a trace of a public spirit. However slipping-clutch was the political order prior to 1961 and however many rogues like Lyndon Johnson were abroad in it, you could not say that of the political class of that era.

  6. “Do you hear that, Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.” – Agent Smith, The Matrix

  7. Will churches be mandated by law to perform same sex weddings? Will they lose their tax exempt status if they refuse? Anyone.

  8. The magnitude of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th order of effects of today’s decision are staggering in their possibility and probability.

    However, the supporters of this decision will become more confident and cocky in their victory. They will overplay their hand. There is opportunity to be had there.

    The soft tyranny we have allowed these past decades hardened today.

    Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

  9. Welcome to tyranny. In Casey v Planned parenthood, Kennedy was a turncoat. In that decision, O’Connor (joined by catholic Kennedy) scolded us saying the debate must now and henceforth cease as to whether killing an infant in the womb is a fundamental right.

    In this decision, Scalia rightly points out that the debate taking place in the states is democratic process as it should be. This decision, like Casey, is an expression of tyrannical sentiments. The Court has trashed the 1st Amendment by trashing religion as a bastard of democracy, and by declaring debate, ie speech, over this subject as now concluded. You now have no right to try to persuade your state legislature about the merits of your position. some may love being governed by global authorities, and so this decision is good practice for the rest of us.

  10. “But Tom, don’t you know slippery slope arguments are logical fallacies?”

    Of course they are logical fallacies, because slipperiness can be arrested by willpower, but the slope remains in the minds of its adherents, always leading to the desired outcome even if in reality it is not inevitable. A prime example is gun control: intellectual will has ended the ‘slipperiness’ of the argument that the right to keep and bear arms is not an individual right, but the desired outcome remains. Or to put it another way:
    Of course slippery slope arguments are logical fallacies, until they aren’t.

  11. Alan – Not for a while. My bet is it’ll go a little differently. They’ll be told that they can hold or refuse whatever religious services they wish, but they’re obligated to perform civil weddings for anyone or for no one. A lot of libertarians will support it, as will Christians who’ve decided to just bow out of the culture wars. That won’t be enough for the activists, though. They’re not looking for rights, they’re looking for acceptance. (They’re looking for a loud public voice of acceptance to drown out the little inner voice telling them they’re wrong.) Maybe the tax-exemption will be broken some other way, like through a “separation of church and state” argument or a local zoning dispute taken national. Adoption services will be long gone by then.

    None of those things are inevitable, but we’re going to be told simultaneously that they are inevitable, and that it’s all in our heads.

  12. “Will churches be mandated by law to perform same sex weddings? Will they lose their tax exempt status if they refuse? Anyone.”

    Not yet. First you need:
    1) Religious-based colleges will be forced to perform them
    2) Churches in other democracies like the UK and Mexico will be forced to perform them, and will offer only token resistance

  13. “Mormon polygamists are extremely unpopular, so no one is going to do anything for them”

    And that’s why we have polyamory.

  14. Art: “Mormon polygamists are extremely unpopular, so no one is going to do anything for them”

    Oh, man! I forgot about them. I was thinking of Islam. Islam is very popular. And if you’re an immigrant, especially an undocumented one, so much the better. Granted, a lot of Latinos are supposedly Catholic, but not always it would seem.
    .
    http://www.latinpost.com/articles/18021/20140726/latino-muslims-are-one-of-the-fastest-growing-populations-in-the-u-s.htm
    .
    But I was also reading recently about polyamory too. There is some commune that practices it. Oh! and how lovely it is for the children!! (Alas, I cannot find the article online right now.)

  15. . Religious Catholic bakers and photographers and reception hall owners who see this area as fraught with giving scandal have a very tough road ahead and I hope Rome can give them guidance out loud.

  16. One of the interesting features of this decision is that it is 5-4. In years past Justices would not have dreamed of a major decision hanging upon a one vote margin. They would want as many votes as possible prior to doing something like this. Now the majority simply does not care. They have the power and they will use it, whether it rests on the slenderest possible of margins. The hubris is almost as stunning as their reduction of the Constitution to a pile of clay that can be made into anything by 5 Justices.

  17. I predict that religious freedom (under Obamacare) will fall next and the UN will–this fall–become the world’s main power (regardless of how cleverly the big powers pretend otherwise and word things)
    This climate encyclical will play no small part is the coming disaster.
    Why? Because no one dare stop them, and most institutions–including the Church–find no immorality in restoring Caesar to the Emperor’s throne

  18. “…most institutions–including the Church–find no immorality in restoring Caesar to the Emperor’s throne.”
    .
    Revelation 13
    .
    1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. 4 Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
    .
    5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; 6 it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. 9 If any one has an ear, let him hear:
    .
    10 If any one is to be taken captive,
    to captivity he goes;
    if any one slays with the sword,
    with the sword must he be slain.
    Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

  19. Don—my reading of the Roberts decision yesterday was that a majority of the court doesn’t want to hear any more appeals on obamacare……and so I agree with you.

  20. Let’s not forget the work of the great Catholic statesmen Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden, whose vicious attacks on Robert Bork indirectly led to the nomination of Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court. Thanks to these Catholic Democrats abortion rights became more entrenched (via Casey) and gay marriage became a national right.

  21. I’m going to look at the bright side. If things aren’t reversed and this all winds up being the new order, I won’t have to worry about geriatric treatments under Obamacare.

  22. Still think you and your fellow Republicans are going to win in 2015, Don? Your Republican buddies have caved in on everything, including this. America 2015 R.I.P. GOP 2015 R.I.P. Cause of death: destroying it’s credibility by giving in to every liberal trend that came along.

  23. Another tragedy in a long string of tragedies in our country. Not unexpected, but still very sad. Another step on the way to the destruction of this once great country. The Supreme Court has NO business making law. These justices will have a lot of accounting to do on their last day when they face Almighty God. Even if they think they are not accountable to right and justice here on earth, there will be no escaping it at the end. And no excuses will work for them in that High Court. The REALLY Supreme Court.

  24. “Still think you and your fellow Republicans are going to win in 2015, Don?”

    Most certainly for the reasons previously stated.

    “Your Republican buddies have caved in on everything, including this.”
    Actually, only one member of the GOP on the court agreed with this, Justice Kennedy, who decades ago went over to the dark side.

  25. Donald R McClarey wrote, “In years past Justices would not have dreamed of a major decision hanging upon a one vote margin. They would want as many votes as possible prior to doing something like this…”

    And sometimes with rather curious results. A case, Minersville School District v Gobitis [310 US 586 (1940)] that was decided by a majority of eight to one, was overruled three years later in West Virginia School Board of Education v Barnette [319 US 624 (1943)] by a majority of six to three. Of the six, three of the Justices (Black, Douglas & Murphy JJ) had changed their minds, two (Jackson & Ritledge JJ) were new appointments and one was the former lone dissident (Stone CJ, formerly Stone J).

    Hardly surprising that in Jones v Opelika [319 US 584 (1942)] one finds Roberts J complaining that, in some six years, the court had fourteen times reversed one or more of its earlier decisions, many of them recent. He observed that such decisions tended “to bring adjudications of this tribunal into the same class as a restricted railroad ticket, good for this day and train only. I have no assurance, in view of current decisions, that the opinion announced today may not shortly be repudiated and overruled by justices who deem they have new light on the subject.”

  26. (posting this from another blog:
    Ticked Parent: “… Making homosexual “marriage” legal will not make it normal, but it will add to the confusion of the times. And it will add to the downward spiral of our civilization. But Chesterton’s prophecy remains: We will not be able to destroy the family. We will merely destroy ourselves by disregarding the family.””

    guest to Ticked Parent: Great and relevant Chesterton quote.
    The Church’s teaching on why there is a prohibition on genetically altering embryos and why non-natural procreation is bad for families is also relevant–with the creation of genetically three-parent children just on the horizon, (for more detail see the “Mary Meets Dolly” blog) the three-way marriage (based on Kennedy’s bizarre reasoning) is sure to pass constitutional muster.

  27. 1. Polygamy is certainly the next thing.
    2. Persecution too, as the motive is a painful conscience to those who embrace a lie, to shut down anyone who speaks of conjugal marriage.

    But the thing that has happened today, is, as Donald R. McClarey states eloquently: “The hubris is almost as stunning as their reduction of the Constitution to a pile of clay that can be made into anything by 5 Justices.”
    Polygamy and Persecution are one thing, but the above could mean the end of the Republic.

  28. Michael Paterson-Seymour, if it were only that simple. There is a complacency in contemporary Americans to take Supreme Court cases as seriously as they do a sports match. Pick a side, follow that side through the media until game day and there will be no reversal or reconsideration of whatever happens on the field of play. “Championships are forever” is a mentality that has seeped into our popular understanding of the law, our courts (especially the Supreme Court) and how our government works, or should. While I am sure there will be those of us, especially people on blogs like this, with a different opinion; I do not expect resistance or questioning of the court’s decision to have any effect on our political or media classes anytime soon- “leave me alone, the court has decided” is a very popular sentiment.

  29. Alan : “Will churches be mandated by law to perform same sex weddings? Will they lose their tax exempt status if they refuse? Anyone”
    .
    Churches are held in trust for all future generations. Gifts, donations and behests are tax free items. Church parishioners have paid their fair share of taxes as ordinary citizens. It would be taxation without representation two taxes, one vote. The church has five trustees who represent the physical plant and deal with the state. They have paid their taxes. Taxing the God, atheism denies, is going to be interesting. Unless a person is invited by his willingness to enter into God’s House, the government agent from the IRS is not welcome and may not trespass against the parish property. It is in the law. The IRS agent has no business on private property of the church, a non-profit. I wish them HELL if they try. The IRS agents may join the sodomites in HELL. Hillary Clinton said: “Deep seated Cultural Codes, Religious beliefs have to be changed”, about human sacrifice. After Hillary Clinton changes the existence of HELL to non-existence, then Hillary may get my vote. Go Hillary to a non-existent HELL.
    .
    Since Roe v. Wade made human sacrifice available, the human conscience and the immortal soul is denied. The jack-boot corruption may only be put off by God. The United State of the United Nations, one nation without God, dispensable, corruptible and violable.

  30. “Polygamy and Persecution are one thing, but the above could mean the end of the Republic.”
    .
    The Republic ended when the Person of God was denied His civil rights. Human sacrifice followed and now, the devil has been given free reign.

  31. This ruling is not about equality. It is about bringing
    Christian churches in America under the control of
    the state. The sodomites now have been granted
    by the state the power to redefine or destroy
    Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular
    in America.

  32. Your Republican buddies have caved in on everything, including this.
    ==
    They’re astoundingly ineffectual. You can float two explanations for that. One propagated by Robert Stacy McCain (who is a lapsed newspaper editor and certainly knows a great many people around Capitol Hill) is that a critical mass of Republican legislators have no intention of accomplishing anything because they are basically cat’s paws of donor interests and payola sucking crooks and anything they emphasize will be ‘trivial messaging items’. Explanation two is that gatekeepers within the Republican Party are being blackmailed. Given the Hastert and IRS scandals, that possibility has entered the realm of the reasonable.
    ==
    What gets you is the culture, and that implicates much of the public as well as our current crop of politicians. Gerald Ford was taken to task a generation ago for unseemly buckraking (the bulk of which, I believe, was ploughed into his presidential library), but a sum contextually equivalent to Ford’s 1977 haul could be picked up by the Clintons with a couple-dozen speeches. The complaints against Ford concerned appearance fees and corporate directorships. Money-laundering, influence-peddling and the tsunami of payola were not part of the bill of particulars. This distaff side of this pair of greasy crooks is the stated choice of north of 40% of the electorate to occupy the president’s chair.

  33. “Polygamy and Persecution are one thing, but the above could mean the end of the Republic.”

    At this point I would still assume that the real threats to the Republic come from without and not within. For the last century our country has been very good (not perfect, but very good) in foreseeing both threats and the proper measures to take against those threats. One might be excused if, when contemplating the pursuit of happiness and the pleasure principle, that we are losing our ability to foresee threats. You reap what you sow, and if we sow an unreal vision of life then life will eventually make us pay up.

  34. Speaking of threats from without, in the past decade the Supreme Court made a paid of rulings that did impair our ability to deal with such things. I don’t feel like searching for the case names or the years, but in the rough these are:

    1) The Arizona law dealing with illegal immigration – the Court not only struck it down, but introduced language that said a state has no right to self defense in the absence of Federal action. So the majority basically said that states are no longer sovereign entities.

    2) In one of the several rulings over detained terrorists, the Court in effect ruled that the U.S. military must now practice on the battlefield the evidentiary procedures police use in criminal arrests, and that failure to do so could result in prisoners taken on the battlefield being released. So the majority basically said it could assume commander-in-chief responsibilities to itself.

    These were the kind of rulings that Hamilton had in mind when he made his “least dangerous branch” comment. His comment was based on the idea that it was permissible for elected leaders to tell the Court to take a hike. Who ever did, outside of racists such as Andrew Jackson or George Wallace?

  35. Sad day for America.
    But polygamy has nothing to do with it.
    .
    And so one of the names of the Lord our God is:

    The God of Abraham (polygamist)
    The God of Isaac (monogamist)
    The God of Jacob (polygamist)

    So if their polygamy was not abhorrent in the sight of God who are we to decide otherwise? Is that not serious presumption? Is that not serious disrespect for these Patriarchs whom – as Christians – we owe so much? Is it then not absolutely scandalous to equate polygamy with such grave sins as adultery, fornication and sodomy?
    Readmore:
    http://popeleo13.com/pope/2015/05/31/category-archive-message-board-349-what-is-man-4/

  36. Marriage hasn’t been redefined, it’s America that’s been redefined. The Constitution means nothing now except what a majority of 5 of 9 lawyers can make out of it. No longer law, but conjecture.

  37. This decision essentially does for same-sex civil marriage what Roe v. Wade did for abortion. If Roe was intended to “end the debate” on abortion, it certainly didn’t have that effect. If the pro-aborts were hoping Roe would kill off the pro-life movement or drive all discussion of abortion off the public media, they were surely disappointed. Although there are and will certainly continue to be attempts to marginalize, silence or hamper the pro-life movement (e.g. HHS mandate, compelling religious hospitals/health providers to refer for abortions), the pro-life movement is far from dead, more than 40 years after Roe. So I wouldn’t start writing obituaries for traditional marriage just yet, either.

  38. Orderly secession. No blood letting necessary.

    Us poor rubes who “cling to their bibles and guns” are conveniently geographically proximate.

    I’m tired of having filth foisted upon us by leftist elites in the northeast and west coast. Time for a divorce. Let them have their sodom and gomorrah unfettered by the objections of the “red states.”

    It’s a win win.

  39. These supreme court justices so disgust me, I can not even look at their faces. They wear the smirks of the devil.

  40. I wonder how fast the Church will comply–unless the character of its leaders changes radically?
    I expect a lot of nonsense talk (It’s okay now) as they fold, as we did in Connecticut when they put in plan B.

  41. Art, it is precisely Iran that I had in mind when I wrote about us not being able to see threats. Why should I care about it when my two husbands can pick up the cannabis at the store on the way home from work?

  42. Elaine, I agree in the sense that this is not going away. The problem is that this subject lacks the murderous aspects of abortion. People will adjust to this as long as churches are not directly persecuted.

  43. In another sense Elaine is correct: had people stood up in 1973 and overturned Roe with a constitutional amendment the Supreme Court would have been on notice. It might have behaved better on the slippery slope (there I go again PZ)

  44. Evil now has complete control. The end game is to wipe the name of Christ and His Church off the face of the earth. They have infiltrated every government, church , corporation, media outlet, educational system,( falsified ) science and invaded all institutions.
    There is no going back, except for the lifesaver thrown to us by King Jesus.
    Our Lady of Fatima. They are scared to death of her. Don’t think they don’t know who she is.
    The Pope ( whoever that is) must consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart with all the Bishops of the World- then SHE will crush the head of the serpent and give us a promised period of conversion and peace. There is no way out- only SHE can help us.

  45. The sodomites will now turn to the courts to demand
    the same right to marry in a church of their choosing
    as heterosexual couples. Further, gay Catholics will sue for
    the right and dignity to marry in the Church as any other
    Catholic. Sodomites will also sue for the right and dignity to
    participate in every aspect of church activities. These radical
    changes will not occur before this Sunday. It will take months
    if not years before the radical gays and America’s ruling
    class can achieve their goals. The First Amendment is dead.
    The push to redefine the teachings of Christ by radical
    sodomites via the courts has begun.

  46. Art, it is precisely Iran that I had in mind when I wrote about us not being able to see threats. Why should I care about it when my two husbands can pick up the cannabis at the store on the way home from work?

    I’m not sure what your point is now. Obama et al cannot deal with Iran and cannot deal with ISIS. They cannot deal with Russia without making buffoons of themselves. These are much more discrete challenges than that posed by China and they are not being met because of the quality of the people who are recruited to the elites of the Democratic Party. It’s exacerbated by Obama / ValJar, whom I suspect suffer from a severe case of injelitence. In the mean time, the political class in general in this country has been conducting itself in ways that produce intense alienation. Ultimately, I think if a critical mass of the attentive public comes to the conclusion that formal political institutions are, in essence, insider scams and their opponents a criminal element with no legitimacy, it’s not going to be pretty. The question is whether this ugliness will be manifested in fire or in putrescence.

    For all that my parents’ contemporaries may have been troublesome in the particular, in the generality, they lived their lives with no wasted motion and without a trace of collective self-infatuation. When their successors began to take their place in charge of businesses, public agencies, and philanthropies was almost co-incident in time with the advent of the elite incompetence which Conrad Black identified.

  47. Correct me if I am wrong, but a person cannot be forced to sign his name. I suppose neither can a person be forced to say words. If the priest is praying the gay couple can stand and wait until the politically correct police come. Unfortunately, too many priests were taught that sodomy is not a sin, and now, not a crime. The Supreme Court has said that sodomy is sexual intercourse. Not a single person in all of creation has come into the world through sodomy. Yet, the Court said sodomy makes marriage. Something about tent pegs and holes in the ground comes to mind.
    Nothing has changed except that the arrogance and pride of the gay agenda has been encouraged to defile the citizens.
    I want to say something vulgar, but the gays have said it all. I want to wish evil on the gays, but they already are. I want to tell the gays to go to hell but they are already there….do not sign your name.

  48. P.S. If the Court mandates gay marriage, let them perform the ceremony, especially Kennedy. Kennedy can give them all the dignity he has and then create some more dignity for the gays. Kennedy can bake their same sex wedding cakes too. As long as there is a gay bakery, the Christian bakery is not discriminating. People have an innate right to self-preservation and a civil right to self defense. Gays are demanding. A proprietor does not have to sign his name to a contract for a same sex wedding cake that Kennedy refuses to make. Or a church or a priest cannot be forced to sign his name to a marriage license that Kennedy refuses to sign.

  49. Thomas wrote, “The Constitution means nothing now except what a majority of 5 of 9 lawyers can make out of it. No longer law, but conjecture.”
    As long ago as 1897, OliverWendell Holmes Jr defined law as “a prediction of what the courts will do.”

  50. Why have Kennedy and Sotomajor not been excommunicated? Does the church mean anything it says? Other than global warming crap? Our simple priest has turned down the AC, many parishioners fanning themselves with bulletins.

  51. Romans 8:6; “For the wisdom of the flesh is death, but the wisdom of the spirit is Life and Peace.”

    Let God’s Life and Peace continue to reign in your hearts. As the victory is still to come to those who faith and trust are forged in the fire of His Sacred Heart. So we turn the page and await the next opportunity to witness for truth.
    We remember His promise and the grace He bestows wonderfully flow to us from Our Lady, Queen of Victory. Buck up. The War is far from over.

  52. 20 years ago I saw this coming, in spite of no sermons on contraception my wife and I went off contraception and embraced NFP, because Catholic schools are only open to families with one or two children through contraception, my four went to public schools where it appears they’ve been thoroughly indoctrinated in ” gay marriage”.

    My advice is, homeschool , and move to the diocese where bishops are not afraid to teach the Catholic faith.

  53. If it is marriage it does not need and ought not have the adjective “Gay”. The adjective “gay” separates gay marriage from real marriage. The gay marriage license ought to read and specify gay marriage as opposed to heterosexual marriage.

  54. This decision essentially does for same-sex civil marriage what Roe v. Wade did for abortion.

    Bingo.

    The trip is going to be terrible, but by forcing it all at once they made it so that the bad effects are more obvious. I grew up around kids whose “parents” were a homosexual couple– when it’s just one, it’s fairly easy to say “oh, that’s just him.” When you can see a pattern, though….

  55. I will say this as a final reflection of the past week.  The papal missive looks inane, perhaps irrelevant, in contrast with reality— the loss of freedom, the attack on first principles, and the latest wave of Islamic terrorism.  Papal pronouncements about mass migration caused by CO2 induced global warming seem as they should be….silly.

  56. Pinky and Alan…I have read just today that there are some top Democrats who are already talking about pulling the tax exemption from the Churches. How far that will go and how fast is anyone’s guess, but it is already on their lips in Washington.

  57. TL M: Why Churches when the judges can perform their same sex marriage ceremonies? Donations, gifts and behests are non-taxable. Talk about removing non-profit status on churches is not for the common good and exhibits rapaciousness and ill will. Discrimination against God and his Faithful.

  58. There is no such thing as a Catholic sodomite, since sodomites excommunicate themselves and on that premise alone, the church door is shut to them. Perhaps Cannon law might be read to them.

  59. Mary De Voe asks, “Why Churches when the judges can perform their same sex marriage ceremonies?”

    Why require a ceremony at all? The Church required none, until Tametsi in 1563 and Tametsi did not apply to Protestant countries or mission territories?
    In Scotland, until 1st July 1940, the law required no notice, no formality and no record of any kind for a marriage. Like sale, hire, partnership or agency, it required agreement and nothing else.

  60. Mary De Voe.

    ” for though we walk in the flesh we do not war according to the flesh for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to God unto the pulling down of fortifications destroying councils and every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.”
    Saint Paul’s 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

    On this feast of Saints Peter & Paul may we forever hopeful in this battle for souls.

  61. I have posted this elsewhere, and it may be worth repeating. Fr. Dwight Longenecker introduced me to the Benedict option – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2015/05/is-it-time-to-hunker-down.html

    Taking its inspiration from St. Benedict, the Benedict option involves believers joining together in small Christian communities. These “Benedict” communities will serve as refuges where we can live out our Christian faith deliberately and intentionally. In the future, these communities may become strong enough to influence the outside culture and make it safe again for Christianity.

    Practically, the Benedict option may involve giving up nominally high-paying jobs in New York or LA for a simpler life in Kansas or Nebraska. These are nice, Christian-friendly states with room for large families. (In my opinion, small towns have more of the things that make America great and less of the things that make her not so great.) The Benedict option may also involve, depending on family circumstances, choosing home-schooling or private schools for one’s children. And if your children are going to college, think twice before sending them to a top-ranked college that is hostile to Christianity, or even a nominally Christian college that is merely living off their heritage. Instead, encourage your children to go to an authentically Christian college such as Benedictine College, or a Christian-friendly public university such as Texas A&M, which has the best campus ministry in the entire nation.

  62. One real difficulty is that we are not allowed (name your authority de jour) to ignore the SC’s corrupt legal decision in the same manner as they ignore the constitution, which alone gave this hybrid monster its birth. There will be severe and grave penalties for any that try–and the Roman Circus masses will cheer.
    In reality, this is not a political agenda as much as it is diabolical, so the war is against Christ, and, as He promised, His followers.
    Hiding in Kansas or Nebraska and Home schooling will be targeted as soon as convenient. Perhaps by then, with the aid of the new moral climate (pun intended), the UN will be pulling our strings.

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