08 December 2012

Supreme Court Takes it all on Marriage

As you have probably heard by now, the Supreme Court will be considering whether or not DOMA [the Federal ban on recognition of marriages based on sex] and Prop 8 [California's ban on marriages based on sex] are constitutional. I have talked about what I expect to see earlier. Since Prop 8 is in the mix though, I think it is quite likely that the issue of whether or not Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual people are a suspect class will come up [since these laws are designed to discriminate against LGB people]. Instead of going through everything, I just wanted to show how a Focus on the Family quote is correct if you just flip their interpretation.


"The Supreme Court’s decision today to determine whether the Constitution allows state and federal government to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman is a welcome development. When the executive branch of the government is no longer willing to defend its own law, the final arbiter must be the highest court in the land. Today’s announcement sets in motion a process that may conclude with one of the most momentous decisions ever rendered by the United States Supreme Court. Will the Court affirm the basic design of the family that has stood throughout cultures worldwide for multiple millennia, or will it engage in a sweeping exercise of social re-engineering with profound ramifications for this and future generations? The justices and personnel involved deserve our prayers for wisdom and discernment." - Jim Daly, president of Focus On The Family (Taken from Joe.My.God).


The part that is backwards, at least in the sense that Focus on the Family doesn't know what they are talking about, is the statement, "Will the Court affirm the basic design of the family that has stood throughout cultures worldwide for multiple millennia, or will it engage in a sweeping exercise of social re-engineering with profound ramifications for this and future generations?" Anybody who has taken a moment to look at human culture beyond just our Euro-centric Western model will note that the "basic design of the family" is very different in different cultures. They probably haven't even looked at marriage laws across the world. Just to give you an idea, let's look at plural marriages today (more than two people). The map from Wikipedia shows (where dark blue and light blue mean it is allowed, and teal means they are recognized from other countries):



 Even in the West marriage hasn't been stable for the last 200 years, let alone millennia. The West certainly hasn't been stable with marriage. As one infograph from this website puts it:
This infograph doesn't even take into consideration some of the other changes, such as allowing felons to marry, but it at least gives one an idea of the changing history. So, the Supreme Court affirming the history of marriage would likely be following the 14 previous Supreme Court cases about it, and expanding it to include couples of the same sex. 

The next aspect of their statement, or the, "sweeping exercise of social re-engineering" is what has already been done. It is social engineering that many states only recognize marriages between one man and one woman, and would still be social engineering to restrict marriage to couples of the opposite sex. That is, in essence, the law saying that straight couples are superior to queer couples, which is definitely social engineering in my book.

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