Supreme Court decisions increasingly read like transcripts from the Oprah Winfrey show. Justice Antonin Scalia notes the court’s “famed sweet-mystery-of-life” howler: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and the mystery of human life.”
Thursday’s Supreme Court decision announcing a recently discovered inalienable right to sodomy contained a few more: “When 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.” Sodomy is a very high-minded business, according to the court, part of the lofty “liberty protected by the Constitution.” Such is its preciousness that states can’t be trusted to regulate it.
That sodomy is an inalienable right would no doubt come as a big surprise to the Constitution’s framers. They are, of course, the last constitutional experts the Supreme Court would ever consult. The Supreme Court, judging from the majority opinion’s slavish attention to Europe’s regard for sodomy, is much more interested in the thoughts of modern Danes than dead Americans.
The framers didn’t approach sodomy with the same level of awe as today’s court. What the Kennedys and Souters call “liberty,” the framers called “license,” the abandonment to acts high in the catalogue of sin that spells the end of republics.
The majority on the Supreme Court declares that anti-sodomy laws compromise the “dignity” of homosexuals. The framers would reverse the judgment: it is sodomy that compromises their dignity, and it is the rule of law which points to and protects that dignity. The framers belonged to communities that passed such laws so as to safeguard a moral culture in which human dignity is possible.
The framers would say that the assault to dignity comes from a legal culture that sanctions sodomy, a culture that turns children over to homosexual couples, a culture that places homosexual relationships on the same level of sanctity as the traditional family.
The Supreme Court says anti-sodomy laws “demean” people. The framers thought those laws would discourage people from demeaning each other through the slavery of sin. It would befuddle the framers greatly to hear sodomy and dignity in the same sentence. They held that the dignity of democracy depended on citizens governing themselves according to moral standards, not according to a respect for each other’s basest instincts. If citizens couldn’t govern their own dark passions, how long would a democracy that relies on their capacity for self-government last? This concern made anti-sodomy laws eminently sensible to the framers.
But now, in our vast modern wisdom, we know better. What quaint fools the framers were. They thought society would teeter if vice had rights over virtue. We are doing just fine. They thought — can you believe it? — that such consensual acts as adult incest were wrong. Now we know that “it can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring.”
Apparently any sexual relationship, with man or beast, is constitutionally permissible, provided that the parties to the personal bond give consent. Since animals can’t give proper consent, perhaps the court will let certain uptight communities outlaw bestiality. We’ll see. On the other hand, the “sweet-mystery-of-life passage” Scalia cites gives practitioners of bestiality a pretty strong defense. If the passage has any meaning, as Scalia says, it will be the passage that “ate the rule of law.”
Needless to say, we are not doing fine. We are losing real liberties while the Supreme Court invents bogus ones. To deprive a community of the liberty of preserving traditional laws is a monstrous distortion of the framers’ work and an act of judicial despotism which should outrage the public.
License won for homosexual activists is liberty lost for communities and families. As America hurtles past homosexual adoption toward homosexual marriage, who but the obtuse can deny this?