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Thursday | June 26, 2003

Sodomy decision opens path to gay marriage

I've skimmed the two decisions, and the magnitude of the court's action in Lawrence v. Texas is staggering. This isn't about soddomy, this is a huge first step toward granting homosexuals equal protection under the law -- up to and including gay marriage.

I was curious as to why Scalia would be so vociferously against the majority decision, to the point of losing all pretenses of scholarship and writing the very emotional, "The court has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda." Like I said, my cursory glance made the reasons obvious.

The majority ruled that the Texas sodomy law "furthered no legitimate state interest". That is a "rational interest" standard -- much more lax than "compelling state interest", or "strict scrutiny".

Why is this significant? I'll let Scalia take it away (citations omitted):

The Court says that the present case does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relation-
ship that homosexual persons seek to enter. Do not believe it [...]

Today's opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is is no legitimate state interest for purposes of proscribing that conduct, and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), [w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring, what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising [t]he liberty protected by the Constitution? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case does not involve the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court.

Scalia is right. Any use of consistency and logic would force the court sanction same-sex marriages, and invalidate any attempt to limit the definition of "marriage" to unions between man and woman.

This is huge. Our nation took a huge step today toward eliminating one of the last standing impediments to true equality under the law. Just wait until the press picks this up (they don't seem to have noticed yet).

Majority Decision (PDF)
O'Connor Concurring Decision (PDF. She votes against Texas law, against overruling the Georgia decision)
Main Dissent (PDF)
Thomas' Dissent (PDF)

Also, TalkLeft should be must-visiting today, as I'm sure Jeralyn will be weighing in on the trove of decisions the Supremes will announce today (including another important case throwing out a death penalty conviction on the grounds of incompetent representation).

Posted June 26, 2003 09:45 AM | Comments (149)


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