The diffidence of conservatism, part 978

Most liberals think it would be a marvelous fulfillment of American ideals if four unelected judges in Massachusetts, with the help of five unelected judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, succeeded in forcing homosexual marriage on all the states of the Union. Yet some leading conservatives think it would be a horrible violation of federalism if the American people, acting constitutionally through the Congress and the state legislatures, managed to ban homosexual marriage in all the states of the Union.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 09, 2004 07:59 PM | Send


What’s wrong with this picture is the utter contempt it shows that liberals typically hold for our Constitutional Republican form of government, seeing our Constitution as nothing more than a means to a given end, to be otherwise ignored if not discarded — AND it shows, in fairness, that many self-styled ‘conservatives’ have demonstrated by their actions an analogous contempt, only expressed in different ways and on separate issues.

If there is is one key principle, fought for in blood and bequeathed to us in toil, by the Anglo-Saxon forebears, it is that freemen are bound only by laws passed by themselves or their elected representatives. No judicial (or executive) body has the right to _make_ laws, or to dictate to the legislature what laws must be passed. A judicial decree is not “law”; it is at most declaratory of it, but it is NOT LAW. A law can only be made by the elected representatives of the people. (Nor is a decision by the Supreme Court “the law of the land” in any fair reading of the plain language of the Constitution).

The amendment process provides a check, for the people of these States, against defects in our system and any encroachment against their liberties resulting therefrom. This is a case where such recourse is needed.

‘Liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are becoming useless distinctions against the backdrop of this problem. The judiciary of MA has encroached into the prerogatives of the legislature in a way that presents a threat to her sister States as the compact of our Republic currently provides for Full Faith and Credit. The liberals cheer; the conservatives demur.

There remains one course the good people of this Republic can take to arrest the evil: a constitutional amendment. Let those who question that course kindly inform us of what other option(s) the people have to assert their sovereign authority pursuant to preserving our most sacred institution of marriage — and let them lead the way.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 9, 2004 8:59 PM

State’s rights are an instrumnetal good—securing good government—and they have a limit. Even in the constitution there are limits on states, e.g., they must have republican forms of government and cannot mint their own fiat currency.

Constitutions and governments and societies are designed to secure grander goals than the mere perpetuation of that governmnet in one or another form. State’s rights and federalism limit federal power, but the people ultimatley make the decisions, and they certainly have a right to prevent the constellation of activist judges and the “full faith and credit clause” from ruining the type of world they live in.

Posted by: roach on February 9, 2004 9:05 PM

Discipline, LeFevre, discipline … ;-)

This is not a thread about State’s Rights, per se, says I to myself. There will surely be other threads in the future to cross swords on that one.

In fact, I’m not even sure why Mr. Roach took my comment the way he did. As I understand it, we are dealing here with (1) judicial encroachment into the legislative function, in this case by a State court, (2) the propriety of the amendment process in addressing the problem it is leading to in a specific case, and (3) the tepid response of many conservatives to #1, as expressed in their reservation against #2 as the only apparent means of correcting it, even while liberals cheerfully and adamantly pursue the means noted in #1.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 9, 2004 9:31 PM

I wasn’t disagreeing with you, or directly addressing you. The problem with Mass.’s action is that it affects the whole country through the “full faith and credit mechanism.” If just Mass. had gay marriage that would be bad, but the harm would be confined to Mass. and the people could easily vote to change it. Not so w/ Mass.’s dynamic effects on marriage throughout the country.

The problem is conservatives care about federalism, support the right of states to make mistakes and “experiment,” and are generally suspicious of constitutional change. Nonetheless, here we’ve been painted into a corner.

Posted by: roach on February 9, 2004 9:44 PM

To play devil’s advocate, what was the constitutional basis of the Defense of Marriage Act, in which an exception was made to the Full Faith and Credit Clause?

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 9, 2004 9:49 PM

An exception wasn’t really made to the Clause, rather, the last part of it (“Effect”) was invoked:

“Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.” (Art IV, Sec 1)

The DOMA would seem to pass constitutional muster; my concern has been what the Court would say about the Act, based on Loving v. Virginia, Lawrence v. Texas, and their legendary arrogance, whims, and caprices.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 9, 2004 9:59 PM

In fact, DOMA is not altogether necessary, as some states have not recognized marriages involving issues of cosanguinity, inter-racial marriage, or the marriage of extremely young people.

But who are we to judge?

Posted by: roach on February 9, 2004 10:11 PM

Stupid me, I asked that question without even looking up the FFaC clause, even though there was an edition of the Constitution sitting on my desk even as I was writing the comment. (I had earlier been looking up the procedures for amending the Constitution.)

On a superficial reading, there is evidently wide lattitude for Congress to control the workings of the FFaC clause. Certainly the way it would have been used to force a radical change in the laws of states would be unprecedented, and not within the normal expectations of how this provision would operate. So the DOMA’s exception to the FFaC clause would seem entirely proper.

As for what the Supreme Court will do, we already know we’re living in a revolutionary regime. It’s as likely as not that they will overturn the DOMA.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 9, 2004 10:18 PM

Mr. Roach wrote: “The problem is conservatives care about federalism, support the right of states to make mistakes and ďexperiment,Ē and are generally suspicious of constitutional change.”

Either conservatives don’t care about federalism enough, or they care about it only when it’s convenient and helps them steer away from controversy.

To cite but one example on an issue I follow closely, conservatives by and large sure haven’t said much about federalism when the gen’l govt. has sent armed agents into States where the _people_ voted to permit the use of medical marijuana. The Ninth Circuit court just ruled that unconstitutional, making one of the sanest statements about the inherent limits on the Commerce Clause seen since the Supreme Court’s Lopez case in ‘95. Do you hear conservatives cheering this clear victory for federalism? A few, who actually hold to the principle, like James J. Kilpatrick, but not many.

Yet here we are now with OUR MOST SACRED AND FUNDAMENTAL INSTITUTION OF SOCIETY UNDER POTENTIALLY MORTAL ATTACK, with a corrupt Federal judiciary standing ready to extend this illegitimate victory as far as they can to the overwhelm the other States IN A FAR MORE DEVESTATING BLOW TO FEDERALISM than could possibly result from pursuing the legitimate process of amendment — and these ‘conservatives’ are hiding behind their pretenses of a principled commitment to Federalism!!!(?) How very convenient of them!

It’s a spectacle for which I don’t have the right words. A word to these conservatives, as if this is not obvious: There is NOTHING anti-federalist about passing a constitutional amendment in defense of marriage.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 9, 2004 10:36 PM

Regarding Mr. Roach’s 10:11 PM post: State anti-miscegenation laws were invalidated by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, 1966. That extra-constitutional ruling is the basis for the decision by the MA Supreme Court which is the issue before us, just to make clear where things are at.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 9, 2004 10:42 PM

Mr. LeFevre’s post of 10:36 p.m. is unanswerable.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 9, 2004 11:53 PM

I, for one, am very much against the federal drug war, as I feel that drug policy should be an issue left up to the states.
I am very torn on the gay marriage issue. I am not particularly fond of tampering with our Constitution. On the other hand, this ruling is truly an abomination. How sad that the legislature does not have the guts to impeach these judges and throw them out for abuse of power.

Posted by: Michael Jose on February 10, 2004 12:19 AM

First of all, I would say that the FMA seems to have more support among conservatives except for a few neocons and paleos (for the record TAC editorialized in favor of the FMA and used the same point about people obsessing over federalism as Mr. Auster did).

That being said, these are my problems wit the FMA.

First of all a Constitutional Amendment requires ratification by 38 states and 2/3 of both houses of Congress ( I don’t think the DOMA would get that). Even if there was the support (I’m sure there is the popular support, but you’ll have to fight the ACLU, Media, Big Business etc.); it would be a huge battle that would waste conservative resources that I think would be better spent elsewhere.

2) Most people like Mr. Auster claim that the reason to pass it is because the Judiciary is corrupt and they will make up a Right to homosexual marriage. I have no doubt that he is correct, but if that’s the case the problem isn’t the constitution, it’s the Judiciary. The FMA amendment does absolutely nothing to curb the Judiciary and if anything acknowledges that whenever they make up an absurd opinion, the solution is pass a constitutional Amendment. What’s to keep them from ignoring the Amendment like the rest of the constitution. As I keep on saying, if it were possible to ratify the Amendment. Then why not impeach the Supreme Court Justices which only takes half the HOR and 2/3 of senate and no state legislatures. No doubt Mr. Auster says that impeaching Justices is without precedent (not entirely, but I’ll concede this point); but so is the wreckless judiciary. If conservative leaders simply directed the public anger’s about this issue at the Judiciary, I’m sure a strong movement could be made to impeach them; or at the very least make sure Bush actually puts legitimate conservatives on the Bench.

3) Finally, Chances are that if it is passed, the FMA would be mildly compromised and it could hypothetically be used to justify civil unions or even demand them. Now I’m sure Mr. Auster will say: well, it is paleo defeatism to say “just cause something could be compromised, that we shouldn’t go for it.” To answer that charge, I am not suggesting retreating on this issue, I am offfering an alternative solution; and when the Amendment (assuming it get’s that far) get’s ratified and has a loophole for civil unions which I guarentee it will, will you support it?

(sorry for the length and rantiness of the post.)

Posted by: Marcus Epstein on February 10, 2004 12:50 AM

Sorry if we’ve been around the block on this before, but I think Mr. Epstein’s approach is unrealistic to the point of escapism. He wants to impeach Supreme Court justices instead of trying to pass the amendment. But there is NO possibility of such impeachments happening in the foreseeable future. There is NO movement toward such a thing among conservatives. But there IS a movement and very widespread agreement on the need for an Amendment. There have been lots of amendments passed in our history. There is nothing stopping this amendment from being passed which would stop homosexual marriage.

“it would be a huge battle that would waste conservative resources that I think would be better spent elsewhere.”

Does Mr. Epstein think his proposal to impeach four or five Supreme Court justices would NOT be a big expenditure of resources?

There are only two explanations I can see for Mr. Epstein’s reluctance and escapism on this issue: either he doesn’t think it’s all that important to stop homosexual marriage; or he has a paleocon ideological resistance to the very idea of an amendment, even though the amendment is perfectly reasonable and would do no harm at all if it were ratified.

As has been said, stuff is getting illegitimately federalized by the left and the center-right all the time, from various criminal matters to education, and the paleocons don’t do much about it. But as soon there is a call by conservatives for the federalization of an issue that it is both VITALLY NECESSARY and CONSTITUTIONALLY PROPER to federalize, paleocons get all itchy and uncomfortable with it.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 10, 2004 1:12 AM

Well, I’m “itchy and uncomfortable with it”, but for an entirely different reason. If this were the Californian constitution, which would break a camel’s back, it would be a needle in the haystack. But there are only 27 amendments in the United States Constitution, each one sticking out rather prominently, and to use the 28th to state something so baldly obvious to the sane would almost be an act of defacement. Call it the Duh Amendment.

Even fewer would disagreee with this sentence: “Feces is not food, and nothing in this Constitution shall be interpreted to mean feces has the standing of food.” But do you want it in your constitution, in your child’s civics text?

Sorry, but opposing the Flag Protection Amendment (which would violate a Commandment) has made me sensitive to the unintended consequences of others as well.

If at all possible this should be handled through statute law, ideally state statutes. That a twisted judiciary is rarely an issue in federal politics is a sad commentary on the electorate.

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on February 10, 2004 2:55 AM

We’re facing an imminent catastrophe in this country, and Caesar responds with all these irrelevant quibbles against the ONLY means that can stop it. Can he tell us what possible harm can come from having an amendment that says “marriage in the U.S. shall be between a man and a woman”? Yes, the statement is obvious. But the whole point is that the obvious, the normal, the taken-for-granted, is being attacked by a radical movement that is supported by a very substantial part of the country. I guess Caesar just doesn’t want to face that fact. Since it seems so silly and demeaning to him to have to put such a self-evident proposition in the Constitution, he’d rather let the catastrophe occur. He acts as though it would be beneath him to defend the obvious, the normal, the taken-for-granted.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 10, 2004 3:13 AM

Here is my problem with the proposed marriage amendment: It does not go far enough. In addition to reserving marriage for a man and a woman, it should state clearly that nothing in the Constitution shall be construed to prohibit any government benefit, service, or tax status being extended to married persons even if unmarried persons do not receive the benefits equally; ditto for married or widowed persons with dependent children as opposed to those without children; ditto for preferring married heterosexual parents for placement of adopted and foster children.

As long as we are defending the obvious, let’s anticipate the gay adoption and other battlegrounds are are, in some respects, already in our midst. Since we don’t want to amend the Constitution constantly, let’s don’t have to have three amendments over the next 20 years to state what could be stated in a single amendment.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on February 10, 2004 10:38 AM

I want to add to my earlier response to Mr. Epstein, that while in practical terms I think his proposal for impeaching justices instead of amending the Constitution is an escape from current realities, in principle I totally agree with him. This amendment should not be necessary. If the people and the elected representative of the United States had had any life in them, they would have started impeaching these overreaching federal and state judges years ago. Americans of previous times would _never_ have stood for what today’s justices are doing. Sandra O’Connor, for example, would have been out of there. This was a clear test of whether we want to keep our liberty, and we have failed that test.

But still, our having failed the test doesn’t release us from current, worsening realities, and it doesn’t mean that everything is lost. Even if there is no longer enough virtue in the American people to impeach usurping judges, there is, I think, enough virtue in them to pass this amendment. And that is what we must do.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 10, 2004 10:20 PM

I am well aware of the onslaught we are facing. The problem is, constitutional amendments are short, concise and written in broad terms the common man can understand— as is this one: “Marriage shall consist of a man and a woman”. But any Philadelphia lawyer will tell you such talk is useless against legal assaults. You need airtight language. This is a tuna net.

The FMA may retard the progress of male/male couplings, for a few years anyway. How can it stop determined lesbians? They qualify as men, as do all women and girls— Nancy Reagan, Phyllis Schlafly, Shirley Temple in taps— according to the first or second definition of “man” in every single one of the eleven shelves’ worth of dictionaries I consulted at a local Borders. (“Adult male” was listed third or fourth in several of them, however.)

Yes, you and I and Congress and all 50 legislatures, including the General Court of the Uncommonwealth of Massachusetts, know how “man” is intended in this sentence. But the Supreme Judicial Court doesn’t, or doesn’t care. When two dykes come along and say, “Mr. Webster says we’re a man and a woman”, we’re back to square one. And our noble Constitution is a laughing stock.

All but two of those many dictionaries defined “marriage”, “marry”, or “husband” in terms of opposite sex pairings. (Those two were from Random House. But another of theirs said “a legal union between a man and a woman”; so there were no exceptions among publishers.)

Therefore the case that marriage is straight by definition is already far stronger than the case that women are not men. (No one but feminists objects to “man” as generic, and they’ll drop that objection in a flash. Bet on it.)

If “marriage” isn’t holding up, how can “man”?

And note that the text doesn’t say “a man and a woman alone”— why not a man and a woman and a tuna?

So in order to work, the amendment would have to say, at the very least, “Marriage shall consist of one, and only one, live adult homo sapiens with a Y chromosome and one, and only one, live adult homo sapiens without a Y chromosome.”

Has anyone on the Hill proposed this? Who, or why not?

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on February 10, 2004 11:57 PM

Possible, but the gays would never go along with something that benefitted only the lesbians.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 11, 2004 12:33 AM

Well, at least one of those dictionaries included under “woman” a man who plays the part of one…

Posted by: Reg Cśsar on February 11, 2004 2:51 AM

Mr. Auster says, that passing an Amendment happens all the time. Every single Amendment that had a major ideological backing passed this century has been from the Left— abolition of the Poll tax, giving the vote to women, income tax, direct election of senators etc.— have been of the left. The Right has put a lot of effort into various Amendments- Bricker, Flag burning, Right to Life, Term Limits, etc. and they have all failed.

The last really ideologically based Amendment was the abolition of the Poll Tax was 40 years ago. Before that, there wasn’t one since the repeal of prohibtion; so it clearly isn’t as easy as Mr. Auster says.

While I oppose homosexual marriage, I admit I don’t see it as a “giant threat to our civilization.” Even if it is not recognized by the government; there will still be anti-discrimination laws protecting homosexuals, a homophile culture in hollywood, homosexual ministers and bishops, and I’m sure Religiously Ordained homosexual marriages by several mainline churches and synogauges (the synogauge I left ended up doing them.) So even if homosexuality is the greatest threat to our culture (which I don’t think it is, I see it as a problem, but far below multiculturalism, abortion, immigration, and globalism), This Amendment, even if it is passed and even if it sucessfully restricts homosexual marriages from being recognized by the state won’t be that big of a deal.

Mr. Coleman inadvertantly backed me up by saying,

“As long as we are defending the obvious, letís anticipate the gay adoption and other battlegrounds are are, in some respects, already in our midst. Since we donít want to amend the Constitution constantly, letís donít have to have three amendments over the next 20 years to state what could be stated in a single amendment.”

Like I have been saying, affirming homosexual marriage is just one of the many terrible things that the Courts do. If we were to make an Amendment to pre-empt all the terrible lawsuits filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD, the NAACP, MALDEF, the ACLU and the like it would be the size of a phonebook, and still they would be able to come up with something just as outrageous and destructive to our country and civilization. (And of course the more planks you add to an Amendment the more likely you are to alienate would be supporters of the Amendment who only agree with some fo the planks). IF you actually fixed the judiciary, then all of these probleems would be addressed.

Mr. Auster makes the two points that impeaching Justices will be a huge expenditure in resources and that there is no movement among conservatives to do so. Both of these are true, but impeaching Justices would take less resources. They would take 1/2 the House and 2/3 of the senate- and no state legislatures. All proponents of the FMA admit that the reason they are doing it is because the Judiciary is out of control, so if a congressman or senator admitted this to support the FMA, there is no reason they shouldn’t support impeaching justices. I agree most of them won’t, which brings me to my next point.

Yes, it is true that impeaching justices has little support among the Official Conservative Movement or “conservative” members of the House and Senate, while the FMA does. (Though a few people have like Joe Farah and Tom DeLay) All that shows is that the official conservative movement has little desire to actually make any lasting and meaningful differences to our corrupt society and government. They spent ther millions of dollars from gullible religous right members, conservative foundations, and Ruper Murdoch; then the impeachment mvoement could be made.

If the conservative movement foolishly puts all their eggs into the FMA basket then I’d reluctantly support it. If there was a refferendum on it in Virginia, I’d vote for it and if someone asked me to sign a petition for it I’d do it. But I don’t see why I should pretend like it is some great idea that would save our civilzation.

Posted by: Marcus Epstein on February 11, 2004 3:58 AM

First of all, I must tell Mr. Epstein that dislike it very much when someone deliberately misstates a position he is disagreeing with, in order to dismiss it. No one said, pace Mr. Epstein, that the FMA “is some great idea that would save our civilzation.” No. The supporters of FMA say it is an absolutely _necessary_ idea which is the only available means of stopping a particularly horrible abomination from happening to our civilization.

Apart from that, this post by Mr. Epstein, who in his views as expressed at this site has always been a typical paleoconservative, is, in conjunction with similar attitudes expressed by Thomas Fleming, most revealing of paleocon attitudes. At bottom, he doesn’t _care_ about this issue. He doesn’t see homosexual marriage as the unique horror it is, because, to him, there are already so many other horrors in today’s America. And he doesn’t want actively to support the FMA (at most he would grudgingly vote for it if placed before him, after having consistently put the idea down in debate), because, at bottom, that would mean being on the same side as the mainstream conservative movement, of which he has a low opinion. And that’s the bottom line for him. It’s pure negativism. Epstein, who is a typical paleocon, and Thomas Fleming, who virtually defines the word paleocon, neither care very much about the catastrophe that homosexual marriage represents, nor will they stand with others to oppose it. (Remember in this context Fleming’s indifference to the 9/11 attack, his contempt and mockery of the people who were upset by it.)

This is a further sign that paleoconservatism at its core, and as shown by its most typical representatives, is a nihilistic movement, hating everything that is not itself, opposing everything that is not itself, but most of all hating other conservatives who don’t come up to the mark.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 11, 2004 8:05 AM

Mr. Auster has not addressed any of my points except by sayin I am nihilist and somehow don’t regard homosexual marriage as a unique evil, none of which are really relevant to the debate.

Mr. Auster has said on numerous occasions that Homosexual Marriage will destroy civilization. HE also says the FMA would stop the homosexual marriage. Therefore it is perfectly logical for me to say that he thinks that he thinks the FMA would save civilization, though maybe not permnanently. [If A(homosexual marriage) then B(civilization is ruined) If not B then C(Civilization is saved); If D(FMA) then not A; therfore If D then C]

Yes, I do not see homosexual marriage as a unique evil. Are you to say, Mr. Auster, that Homosexual marriage is somehow worse than abortion, third world immigration, or multiculturalism? If so why is it worse? Why is it worse than homosexual adoption-which will actually directly hurt a third party? Even if you did regard it as a unique evil, I have argued that my strategy would be more effective in stopping it. You can agree or disagree with that assertion, but then address why it is not rather by saying I just don’t care about the issue. The only thing you have said is there is no support for my strategy, but what is wrong with me trying to get support for it?

Mr. Auster seems to say that I am a nihilist and all paleocons are nihilists. When have I said that all civilization is doomed and there isnothing to be done? All I have said is that I don’t think the FMA is the most prudent measure to address our problems, and I have outlined a different strategy. Just because this strategy doesn’t coincide with what the Christian Coalition or Heritage Foundation supports, it is no way nihilistic.

Finally I wouldn’t put me down as what paleoconservatism represents. I am just a college student, and I hold my own opinions. While I have occasionally written for a few paleo oriented publications, I don’t think its fair to say my ideas somehow embody the movement.

Posted by: Marcus Epstein on February 11, 2004 6:23 PM

I commend Marcus Epstein for trying his hand at logic. Let me help a little: If A, B, C, D, E, and F all threaten to destroy our civilization, and we prevent A, then we have “saved civilization from the threat of A” but it would be imprecise to simply say “we have saved civilization” if the other threats are just as severe and just as imminent. I believe that this was the obvious implication of Mr. Auster’s words that we are dealing with “a particularly horrible abomination”. Note that there is no claim that it is the only such abomination we face.

If I do not ever apply for a job, I will live in poverty. However, if I apply for a job, poverty is not necessarily avoided, is it? Depends on whether I get the job and how much it pays, etc. Try plugging that into your A-B-C-D symbolic logic above.

Posted by: Clark Coleman on February 11, 2004 7:05 PM

I posted a long comment here replying to Mr. Epstein, but have removed parts of it as they were too strong and I think unfair to him by making his position representative of paleoconservatism. Here is the abridged comment:

Mr. Epstein speaks of the relative badness of homosexual marriage vis ŗ vis other bad things. But those other problems are ONGOING. Homosexual marriage is happening NOW, it has to be stopped NOW. Mr. Epstein wants to get me into a discussion to prove to him that homosexual marriage is indeed a unique threat to our civilization. If doesn’t see HIMSELF that this is an abomination, then he has no right to call himself a conservative as far as I’m concerned.

Interestingly, he himself makes clear why he doesn’t see the importance of the homosexual marriage issue or doesn’t care. It is that if the issues that HE cares about are not being addressed at this moment, then he doesn’t want to address any OTHER issue. It would be as if the Communist party was about to take over the U.S. government, and Epstein said, “This is not such a big threat. Multiculturalism and immigration are bigger threats. Until MY issue is addressed I don’t care that much about a Bolshevik takeover of America. And even if we did stop the Bolsheviks, America would still be run by liberals and neocons.”

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 11, 2004 7:12 PM

I see that NRO has an article about the critical issue of ‘sugar protectionism’ today. Keep fighting the good fight, girlyboys.

Posted by: Mitchell Young on February 12, 2004 11:18 AM

A further point on why stopping homosexual marriage is of the highest priority. When the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of an openly practicing sodomite as a bishop, this was a catastrophe. Up to that point, I had felt that despite the evil leftism of the hierarchy it was still a Christian church, and therefore I could still participate in my own parish (which stays quite apart from the leftism of the hierarchy). But after the ordination of Robinson, I don’t think it can be considered a Christian church. It feels cursed to me in some way. Prior to this event, the liturgy of the Eucharist as performed at my parish always conveyed the divine truth, every time. The first time I was at Church after that event, the liturgy of the Eucharist, for the first time, seemed to me like empty mummery. It was as though the grace that has always inhabited that church had gone out of it. Maybe that’s just a subjective feeling that won’t last. But for now I fear that I may have lost the church that was infinitely precious to me.

In somewhat the same way, if homosexual marriage is approved under the laws of this country, how does one go on relating to America? How does one assume some common values and allegiances with other Americans, if this abomination is now what America stands for? Homosexual marriage would represent a breakdown of our common country that we must do everything we can to stop.

Sure, there have been many breakdowns. There is not one abomination that signals the progressive death of a society, there are many. But this one would be uniquely desolating.

It is entirely possible that on May 17 there will be a legal ceremony of a homosexual “marriage” in Massachusetts. Any “marriages” that have occurred will not be reversible. That is why the federal amendment must be pushed now.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 12, 2004 2:14 PM

I learn from the American Center for Law and Justice the following update on MA:

“Their state legislature is debating the Marriage Affirmation and Protection Amendment that defines marriage as being solely between one man and one woman — and potentially OVERTURNS the state Supreme Court’s tragic ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

“Massachusetts’ 200 state legislators called a constitutional convention to determine if marriage — between one man and one woman - is worth protecting through an amendment to the state constitution. We’re still awaiting their decision.

“It will be 2006 before voters can ratify this amendment to their state constitution. Only then will the ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court be fully nullified.”

One other item was noted without explanation:

“Under the current interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and the Full Faith and Credit Clause, other states could be forced to LEGALLY RECOGNIZE these same-sex marriages - giving them the same rights and privileges as traditional marriage.”

I don’t know the judicial precedents on this at all, but it points up to how even the DOMA might not prevent this cancer from spreading.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 12, 2004 5:13 PM

No, clearly, the DOMA, so long as it stands, prevents the operation of the FFAC clause in the case of laws affecting the definition of marriage.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on February 12, 2004 5:29 PM

Yes — _so long as it stands_ — but again, the concern is how the Supreme Court is going to rule on it. I took the ACLJ’s statement to mean that judicial precedents could easily be construed against the way Congress has invoked the “Effect” clause. Of course, even THAT point is moot: since when does this Court even care about established precedent anymore?

The DOMA looks entirely Constitutional to me. But I suffer from that archaic practice of reading the Plain English meaning into things.

Posted by: Joel LeFevre on February 12, 2004 5:44 PM

Mr. Auster’s superbly cogent 2:14 pm remarks about his own church beginning to approve homosexual behavior brought me back to a time when I was visiting several churches in my area. One I was advised to go to was THE most publicized Presbyterian church in the area for it’s counseling services and large numbers of obviously “lost” souls—parishoners who were crying without being able to get a hold of themselves and obviously a goodly portion of greiving widows and widowers. I was going though a bad breakup, but the last thing I wanted to be around was greiving, sad souls! I “felt” for them, but then I noticed that there were clearly a large portion of gay men there. The lady minister (risque for even that time) was giving a sermon that was more like something an “encounter group” instructor would have given during my college days in the early 70s! There was precious little of the traditional Protestant prayers or hymns I remembered vividly from my attending church in the 50s and early 60s. This particular Presbyterian church had turned into a greiving—AND DATING—service, and there was NO shortage or desperate men and women looking for a new mate, be it sexual or otherwise. The parishoners in no way represented what I remembered from my youth when the Church “awed” me. Now, it had turned into a psychological experiment! Worse yet, a leftist/Communist POLITICAL experiment, with this church as others in our ultra-liberal region giving sanctuary (food, housing and protection from deportation) to illegal aliens!! The Church—that church, anyway—had broken Federal law and was thumbing its nose in the Constitution’s face. I never went back.

Mr. Auster’s point is absolutely perfect. We cannot wait until the country is lost to “save” it. ANY way that we can fight to save what is left must be found and acted out. There IS no time to waste. But I admit, it doesn’t look good. I know one thing—I won’t be going to church here any time soon.

Posted by: dj on February 14, 2004 7:01 AM
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