Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adam and Eve or Adam and Steve?

Marriage isn't just the chief underpinning of society or, for that matter, a raunchy comedy routine. In the minds of easily the great majority of Americans, marriage is an institution reflective of divine intent concerning human relationships and duties.

The California Supreme Court doesn't seem to mind, having ruled by the margin of a single vote that California can't constitutionally ban same-sex marriage.

Only in California. Or Massachusetts. Or certain other cutting-edge American addresses not worth the trouble of naming. There's a tendency to laugh aloud at the sheer presumption of people with law school educations in lecturing fellow citizens on their outmoded modes of belief, and, correspondingly, on the need — Now! No back talk! — to get with the new program.

If no judicial decree can make marriage anything other than an institution reflective of the large realities in which humans participate, there's no cause for alarm. Two people of the same sex holding hands before a judge or clergyman is ... two people holding hands before a judge or clergyman, nothing more.

Marriage it ain't. That's between people of opposite but complementary attributes and physiologies. The merger, so to speak, of those attributes and physiologies is what we call marriage. Flap your arms and attempt to try an aerial passage across the Grand Canyon: You'll have as much luck at that as at same-sex marriage. Can't do it. Period.

The problem, in California, isn't that you can't do it. The problem is that the state's highest court has attempted this metaphysical heavy lifting in defiance both of logic and popular sentiment.

As one dissenting justice, Marvin R. Baxter, wrote in the gay marriage case, "[A] bare majority of this court, not satisfied with the pace of democratic change, now abruptly forestalls that process and substitutes, by judicial fiat, its own social policy views for those expressed by the people themselves."

It's what they do in North Korea and Iran, in case we've forgotten: Decide in the People's name what the People need — then give it to them, to choke on, as often as not.

The California majority said prohibition of same-sex marriage constitutes unconstitutional discrimination. Shocking that no one had noticed before. All this time, the assumption that men and women had been created for each other, not least in order to procreate — and no one raised a finger. Not the old guys in the Bible. Not Plato. Not Aquinas. Not even Norman Mailer! Up pops the California, Supreme Court — I mean, its four-judge majority — to explain what forevermore had been said and thought and believed and practiced. Gosh — aren't judges something?

Well, they are. Which is why Californians are being asked in November to amend their constitution and so prohibit as a legal matter marriages between Californians of the same sex. California's highest court is causing Californians a lot of unnecessary bother and expense, while stirring up intramural ill will and setting an unwholesome example of judicial arrogance and intellectual disconnectedness.

Why don't judges get it? Legislators write law. Judges interpret what others have written. Anyway, a national election coming up.(By William Murchison )

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