Doug Patton: Will Roberts betray us again?
In the tortured justification for his vote to sustain Obamacare last summer, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts pointed to Congress’ authority to levy taxes — an argument not even put forward by its advocates. (They, in fact, had argued that it was not a tax.) As a direct result of Roberts’s folly, the stark reality of Barack Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America” creeps closer each day.
Will Roberts do it again? As I write this, the High Court is hearing oral arguments for and against California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which gives states the right to refuse recognition of same-sex “marriages” performed in other states. DOMA was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Based on what I’m hearing from the justices — John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy in particular — I am not optimistic for the future of marriage in our nation.
Arguably, America’s slide into the morass of progressivism began a century ago when Teddy Roosevelt, dissatisfied with his hand-picked successor, William Howard Taft, decided to make a comeback in 1912 as an independent candidate for president. In so doing, TR helped to usher in the dark days of Woodrow Wilson and to pave the way for cousin Franklin D. and his “New Deal.”
Since then, Democrats have built on that radical foundation, with Obama taking it to its European-style extremes. Witness how quickly the culture has shifted on this issue of same-sex marriage. If recent polls are to be believed, the change of opinion on this issue has been startling. Suddenly, it’s cool to equate homosexual unions with monogamous heterosexual marriage. It’s the new civil right.
This is especially true for people under 30, many of whom seem willing to support the latest fad, no matter how damaging it may be to society. Sadly, I doubt that a Defense of Marriage Amendment like that passed in 2000 by voters in Nebraska could pass today. And there is no question in my mind that Californians who believe in traditional marriage would be hard pressed to prevail now, as they did in 2008.
Of course, the national media have kept up a steady drumbeat for this change, and the Republican Party leadership has been nearly silent on the issue, no doubt on the advice of their legions of overpaid consultants. Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as others who previously claimed to believe that marriage is the union of a man and woman, recently have stuck their progressive fingers into the shifting cultural winds and concluded that, well, maybe we don’t really believe what we claimed we believed after all.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman is the latest Republican to call for “marriage equality.” Portman has reportedly arrived at this conclusion because he has a son acting out homosexual behavior with other men, and that this somehow justifies jettisoning 5,000 years of religious and societal tradition.
This brings us back to Chief Justice Roberts. A George W. Bush appointee, Roberts has a lesbian cousin who has been sitting in the courtroom with her “partner” waiting for Cousin John to “do the right thing.”
Interestingly, those who scoffed at conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas decision, which struck down that state’s anti-sodomy laws, would have heard his questions echoed by liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor in the course of oral arguments on the Prop 8 case. Scalia argued 10 years ago that the Lawrence ruling opened the door to legalized incest and polygamy. During her questioning of anti-Prop 8 attorney Ted Olson, Sotomayor asked: if gay marriage is OK, why not polygamy and incest? Olson dismissed Sotomayor’s question by stating that those activities involved “exploitation and abuse.”
I am not a lawyer, but if I had to hazard a guess, I would predict that the best those of us who believe in traditional marriage can hope for out of this court is that they will uphold Prop 8 and strike down DOMA, thereby leaving the nation with a hodgepodge of state laws that create an even more balkanized nation than we have already.
Doug Patton can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org