On The SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: To What Peril, Now, US?

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

This commentary is not for anyone looking to hop on an emotional roller coaster over the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the legality of same-sex marriage. Rather, it is a call to look at a much bigger and, I believe, more serious issue, for all of us, i.e., what just happened to the Law of the Land, a.k.a. the United States Constitution, in our Representative Republic, a.k.a. this nation “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. It isn’t the only ruling of late to do so, but one of the most highly-profiled and emotionally-charged.

This commentary is also about why all of us, whether pro, con, or neutral, should be very concerned [1].

In a nutshell:

I am among those who believe that for the SCOTUS, or Judicial Branch of the government, to usurp the right to make law (they are limited to judicial review for Constitutionality) which is really the role of the Legislative Branch of our government, or Congress [2], is to set a precedent that opens the door to rule no longer of, for, and by the people, as noted above, but to hand the process over to unelected judges who may rule for life (unless impeached) and who are appointed by politicians. Politicians, whether on the left, right, or middle who might have an intention other than to support the nation as founded and preserved to recent times.

Politicians who might, in fact, even want to transform this government into another kind of government altogether.

But whatever the reason, in effect, the process by which Americans have been privileged and protected since our inception–that of the right to representation—has been seriously damaged if not, as some believe, even destroyed by the means whereby this ruling came to be.

Such a ruling/law enacted by the SCOTUS also defies the right of the states to rule of their own accord (see also footnote 2). In other words, all those referendums grass-roots groups labor diligently to get on their states’ ballots, whatever their political persuasion, that are then passed by the voters of the state, could now be invalidated if the SCOTUS so deems.

But what about bad laws, or laws that are, in fact, not Constitutional?

There is already a protocol in place to override them (see also footnote 2). We enjoy the right in this nation to amend our Constitution and have done so numerous times. The separation of powers is also under-girded with checks and balances to address that possibility in the process, long before a bad law might be enacted.

So why the concern?

Because of the unintended (and some, no doubt, intended) consequences.

In short, I agree with those who argue the following possible consequences:

  • The majority opinion opens the door wide, if not completely, to the destruction of representation of, by, and for the people.
  • The opinion makes it possible, now, for any ruling political party to override the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances designed to maintain that separation.
  • The opinion creates the potential for some new political entity to assume power and override the rule of law in our nation.
  • The opinion may well imperil the very new-found right same-sex marriage activists have won by this ruling, not to mention other rights. As one of the dissenting judges, Samuel Alito, put it:

“Even enthusiastic supporters of same-sex marriage should worry about the scope of   the power that today’s majority claims,” Alito writes. “Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed“ [3].

  • And one more possible unintended consequence of this ruling must be considered by everyone on both sides of the debate, particularly in the current state of the world. It is illustrated by this “hypothetical” situation:

What if, say, an enemy of our form of government and our culture, including an enemy of the so-called “gay culture,” gains access by covert means by, say, remaining “unnamed,” as it were, thus enjoying relatively unfettered entrance to, and influence in, the country; and what if by more overt means of, say, establishing its own legal enclaves in certain towns, cities, or regions of the country, and/or by gaining access by appointment (via a sympathetic administration) to, say, federal courts, even the SCOTUS, it gains the potential to hold judicial power over all of us?

And what if, say, this enemy eventually gains enough of this access—and power because our original, protective three-branch governmental system has been breached–to legislate their own version of the law of the land and thereby cause the nation to arrive at a tipping point of change where we no longer even recognize our own legal and cultural roots—and protections?

And worse, what if, say, this enemy has cultural beliefs they want to impose that are also foreign to this nation’s (arguably, Judeo-Christian) beliefs and this enemy opposes such newly deemed rights such as, say, the right of homosexuals to marry, let alone have “free expression (of their lifestyle) thereof”? Or even any other traditional rights defined in and established by our Constitution?

Further, what if this enemy has proved that they are even willing to, say, punish those who hold opposing views and practices by imposing heavy taxes and fines, by stripping them of their rights, by imprisoning them–or worse?

What if? …

We ignore such unintended consequences and possibilities to our peril, which is why many, including the dissenting Justices, fear what the SCOTUS just did to our representative republic form of government may have heralded a new and very dangerous era for this nation, whether or not such an extreme case as I have presented might actually become a reality. There are innumerable other possibilities that might ensue with the door now opened.

I know the issue of homosexuals’ right to marry is a highly emotionally-charged issue on both sides of the debate. It has been brilliantly, I would say, taken off of the far less appealing (and much less interesting) Constitutionality debate table and successfully argued via very clever use of the rhetoric of tolerance which Americans have always been very keen on preserving and rightfully so.

Social and traditional media have been saturated, if you will, with the potency of the tolerance argument, likewise the emotion-grabbing (and often argument-stopping) rhetoric of the freedom to love whomever one wills.

(As an aside, as a writing and rhetoric instructor I would add that the lack of critical thinking as opposed to “sound-byte-” or “meme-think” which is becoming the popular norm by which political activists often plead their cases nowadays, has also played a significant part. I am sure, at least I hope, that if people truly took the time and did the research necessary to adequately study this decision all the way to its logical and now legal conclusions, most would resist memethink for the greater good. I am not, however, holding my breath for that. Sadly.)

Additionally, in my opinion, recent successful litigation against the opposition to this, now, right (e.g., lawsuits brought and won against businesses that declined baking wedding cakes for same-sex marriages and other related litigation), has caused a kind of low-grade fever of fear, so to speak, that I believe successfully erodes the confidence of much of the opposition.

It is just much easier to switch the topic to tolerance and love than to face down the fear and focus on the bigger issue of what is really happening to our nation which is what we—both sides—really should fear.

Cooler heads must prevail—for all of our sakes, pro, con, and neutral, on this issue or any other issue now vulnerable in open-season, as it were, on the rule of law.

By the SCOTUS jumping ship to legislate law instead of just reviewing law, as they are Constitutionally tasked, we now face two very serious challenges as a nation:

  1. That of making sure that true–and classically defined–tolerance remains for our already established rights, religious rights in particular, and
  2. That of respecting the fact that we face a new fight to remain/regain a nation of, for, and by the people now that the protections established to prevent power grabs by one or more branches of our government have been seriously compromised if not destroyed altogether.

As the little girl said, “We are not in Kansas anymore.”

***

[1]Personally, I align with the sustainability, if you will, naturally, nationally, traditionally, and morally of the original definition of marriage as articulated here:

“Marriage has historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” Hillary Clinton, 1999.

As a follower of Christ, I align with the definition as articulated here:

“He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’” (Matt 19:4-5). Jesus.

[2] See here for a reference to the specifically defined duties of each branch of government.: http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/ushisgov/themes/government/3branches.htm

[3] Here is the PDF of the Court document on this decision providing full context: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf

 

 

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5 Responses to On The SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: To What Peril, Now, US?

  1. dgb97@comcast.net says:

    Phyllis –

    You are absolutely correct on all points made regarding the recent pair of unbelievable SCOTUS decisions. The first decision regarding multiple appearances of S tate exchanges being reinterpreted by the Court to effectively mean s tate exchanges is a direct evisceration of the Court’s absolute obligation to judge only the actual language of the law, NOT their interpretation of said language.

    The second decision effectively wipes out the category of common law held sacred in humanity throughout history.

    My short-form summary of your excellent post: In my opinion, SCOTUS has effectively abandoned their Constitutional obligations of strict statutory review and absolute respect for common law. To me, it has all the earmarks of the end of the Roman Empire and the rise of Nazi Germany.

    Greg

    Like

  2. pnissila says:

    Cindy,

    “It’s time to choose a side.” Yes. And for believers to encourage each other as the days darken.

    BTW: to the gender/marriage list, add also, now, “polygyny,” (a narrower form of polygamy) i.e., “more than one wife.” And, sadly, sadly, THIS definition is being touted by the neo-patriarchal crowd that believes Jesus’ return is via having as many children as is humanly possible to take over the world (Dominionism). And, of course, along with it comes even more heartbreak for women and girls caught up in this cult: when they are too old to have more children for the Daddy King-Prophet-Priest-demi-god in the home, another young, fertile woman can be recruited.

    And to your list of “what’s next,” in yet another area of human interest, have you heard about a brand new “trans rights” now being advocated for, as in “tans-abled,” meaning, there are those who are quite certain they were not really meant to have one of their arms or feet or legs…yes, you read right.

    It is indeed a new era of Alice in Wonderland kind of thinking.

    Come, Lord Jesus!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Romans 1:18-32

      “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

      “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”

      Many – believers and unbelievers alike – will one day wonder why God has removed His blessing from this nation. That day may not be too far off. Yet, I agree that there is a strong remnant of true believers who remain. We will stand unmoved, prepared to encourage one another and exhort one another in His name if or when that day comes.

      He is not unaware, and He is still the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The constitutional implications are enormous, as you so brilliantly explained. Furthermore, the so-called pursuit of tolerance will, in fact, result in government-sanctioned intolerance and even persecution of those of us who cannot compromise when it comes to God’s design. We will be demonized for standing on the truth, the truth God has written in our hearts to set every man free.

    And now we find ourselves on the slippery slope of sexual immorality. What we can expect to see next is a movement to legalize polygamy and, dare I say it, “intergenerational” sex, the legalization of sexual activity between adults and children. “After all,” pedophiles will say, “We were born that way.”

    Will so many believers succumb to the pressure of political correctness and endorse these “freedoms” as well?

    It’s time to choose a side.

    Like

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