Sat | May 27, 2017

Gay marriage another kettle of fish

Published:Saturday | July 11, 2015 | 7:00 AM

I refer to a letter written by Maurice Tomlinson published in your newspaper of July 7, 2015. It seems to me that as lawyers, we need to be careful in thinking that non-lawyers cannot comprehend particular legal principles, especially when the language used is not particularly technical, as in the US Supreme Court case of Obergefell et al v Hodges et al.

In said article, Mr Tomlinson challenged Ian Boyne's viewpoint about the democratic nature of the decision, stating, "In his (Mr Boyne's) view, the court's action was undemocratic". The fact is that all four dissenting judges expressed concern that the democratic process was being bypassed. This is what Chief Justice Roberts had to say on the issue:

"But today, the court puts a stop to all that. By deciding this question under the constitution, the court removes it from the realm of democratic decision. There will be consequences to shutting down the political process on an issue of such profound public significance." (p26-27)

Justice Scalia said: "A system of government that makes the people subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy." (p.5)

And Justice Thomas: "By straying from the text of the constitution, substantive due process exalts judges at the expense of the people from whom they derive their authority." (p.2)

Justice Alito: "Today's decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage." (p. 6)

Mr Tomlinson also alluded to the case of Loving v Virginia. The decision of the US Supreme Court in that case "invalidated bans on interracial unions". It was one of the cases relied on by the majority in Obergefell. There is, however, a fundamental difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on same-sex marriage. The banning of marriage between races was a human imposition of an unnecessary prerequisite for marriage, that of race, on the already commonsensical male-female prerequisite, which reflects design in the universe.

 

Changing nature of marriage

 

Same-sex 'marriage' requires changing the male-female prerequisite, which goes to the very core of marriage. In the first case, an unreasonable limitation - which in the Loving case was racist in nature - is placed on the man and woman who can enter the institution of marriage, but in this case, the very nature of marriage itself is being changed.

The reference to the Loving case prompts a comparison between the civil-rights struggles of African-Americans and the homosexual debate. However, there are differences between the two. One such difference is that race is immutable, while being homosexual is not immutable. Ask Donnie McClurkin, Dennis Jernigan and others who have left the homosexual lifestyle. As others have said, "Being gay is not the new black."

Mr Tomlinson also stated in his letter: "On June 26, the US Supreme Court stated categorically that in the land of the free, everyone is entitled to a private family life, which harms no one else." But is the USA still the land of the free? We are now hearing of cases like that of Oregon couple, Aaron and Melissa Klein, who were recently fined in excess of US$100,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage ceremony.

In another incident, Fox News reported in 2014 that "the city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city's first openly lesbian mayor. Those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court." (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/ 2014/10/14/city-houston-demands-pastors-t...)

Describing same-sex 'family life' as "a life which harms no one else" is like ignoring an elephant in plain sight. How does one explain the fact that this "life which harms no one else" is reordering society in its image? What about harm to the individuals themselves? Shouldn't the society be concerned about undeniable medical statistics on the consequences of high-risk sexual behaviour for the participants?

It should be clear to all that the homosexual lifestyle is not a harmless one, neither to the individual nor to society. Furthermore, it is not a lifestyle that is prepared to stay in the bedroom but, instead, insists on forcing itself into the centre of the public square.

- Shirley Richards is an attorney-at-law and opposite-sex marriage advocate. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and sprichards@cwjamaica.com.