Gay marriage legal, now what are its opponents saying?

First, congratulations to everyone who has fought hard to make gay marriage legal in the United States. Of course now that the judgment has been handed down many conservative evangelical pundits, politicians, and even the four dissenters on the supreme court had a lot of negative things to say about the decision. Let’s look at a few of the more ridiculous ones. 

I am, however, disappointed that the Supreme Court disregarded the democratically-enacted will of millions of Americans by forcing states to redefine the institution of marriage,…I believe that marriage is a sacred vow between one man and one woman, and I believe Americans should be able to live and work according to their beliefs. – Speaker John Boehner

Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side. It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom and the right of conscience and also not discriminate –Jeb Bush

From what I’ve read a lot of people on the right found Bush’s statement to be a bit wishy-washy, though he seems to buy right into the narrative that this ruling will somehow lead to discrimination against Christians. The majority opinion ruled that marriage is a constitutional right, which is consistent with their other rulings on the subject, which means it’s not subject to a vote by the state or anyone else. We don’t leave the decision to grant free speech or freedom of religion to the states either, has democracy been damaged because we can’t vote on those things?

I believe SCOTUS’ decision is a grave mistake. 5 unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage.- Scott Walker

This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny. – Mike Huckabee.

SCOTUS did not write a law here, it used it’s well established right of judicial review to invalidate laws baring same sex couples from marriage.

A lot of conservatives seem to be making a big deal out of the fact that SCOTUS members are appointed rather than directly elected, and insisting that non-elected officials should not have the power to overturn laws passed by popular vote.

First off, this position is completely at odds with the entire concept of judicial review, and that the founders very specifically wanted SCOTUS members to be appointed rather than elected so that they WOULDN’T be subject to the will of the people when interpreting the law as a check against the elected branches of government.

Secondly, Only 24 hours ago these same people said that the ruling in favor of the ACA was wrong. Huckabee even used the exact same phrasing, calling the decision “an out-of-control act of judicial tyranny.” This is rank hypocrisy as far as I can see, if it is wrong to overturn gay marriage bans because they were voting on by the people, why is it okay to over turn the ACA which was passed by legally elected representatives? You can’t have it both ways people, either you think judicial review of laws is constitutional or you don’t.

Thirdly, many of the people using this argument, Huckabee included, have advocated for repealing the 17th amendment which provided for the direct election of senate seats. If you think it’s unethical for the SCOTUS to legislate because they were appointed not elected how on earth do you justify the position that half of congress, the actual legislative branch, should be appointed instead of elected?!

The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity. Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court.  – More Mike Huckabee.

SCOTUS never wrote any laws, they nullified existing laws through the well established right of judicial review. Also since they can and did repeal said law it’s clearly not the same as the law of gravity.

However, some of the strangest stuff came from the four dissenters on the SCOTUS. Not because the reasoning is any more strained mind you, but because I expect these sorts of bizarre statements from pundits and elected officials, but I would have expected more legal nuance and less rhetorical chest thumping from members of the Supreme court, even the conservative ones.

Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause. And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs. – Roberts

Justice Roberts pretending to be sad that gay marriage supporters won their rights the “easy” way instead of the right way. First off anyone who thinks the work done to make this ruling happen was easy has no idea what they are talking about, secondly if we had just passed laws making gay marriage legal a simple majority could have overturned that at any time, with a SCOTUS ruling this is much more likely to stick since it’s unlikely there will ever be enough support for a constitutional amendment.

As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are? Roberts…again.

Basically an argument from tradition, but the way in which it is made is so bizarre. The Chinese used to bind women’s feet, essentially crippling them, the Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice, are we expected to uphold those traditions too? How many societies have to agree on a practice before it becomes incontrovertible in Roberts mind?

The strikingly unrepresentative character of the body voting on today’s social upheaval would be irrelevant if they were functioning as judges, answering the legal question whether the American people had ever ratified a constitutional provision that was understood to proscribe the traditional definition of marriage. But of course the Justices in today’s majority are not voting on that basis; they say they are not. And to allow the policy question of same-sex marriage to be considered and resolved by a select, patrician, highly unrepresentative panel of nine is to violate a principle even more fundamental than no taxation without representation: no social transformation without representation. – Scalia

His statement is a bit more eloquent and legally complex than those of Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee, but the message is essentially the same, people voted on this so we shouldn’t overturn their will. His statement that there should be “no social transformation without representation” is particularly ridiculous since Scalia is essentially saying that, judicial review, which, as a member of the SCOTUS, is pretty much his entire job, is unconstitutional.

The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so. Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent. – Scalia, Emphasis added

Irony thy name is Antonin Scalia.

In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples. – Thomas

Thomas has served on the SCOTUS for 24 years, and has been working in law longer than I’ve been alive, which is why it’s so incredibly bizarre that he doesn’t understand why this fight he has imagined is never going to happen. He has to know, probably better than I do, that there is already a legal distinction between the civil and religious aspects of marriage, and that the first amendment already protects churches from being required to solemnize marriages they don’t agree with for whatever reason. Loving V. Virginia was handed down nearly 50 years ago and yet churches can still choose to refuse to marry interracial couples without facing any legal consequences. Thomas is actually in an interracial marriage, how does he not understand this?

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity)
because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied
governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.… – Thomas…again.

Seriously Justice Thomas? The government can’t take away your innate dignity so therefore it’s cool if they strip you of civil rights? What the heck were you thinking?

It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.

I assume that those who cling to old beliefs will be able to whisper their thoughts in the recesses of their homes, but if they repeat those views in public, they will risk being labeled as bigots and treated as such by governments, employers, and schools.

By imposing its own views on the entire country, the majority facilitates the marginalization of the many Americans who have traditional ideas. Recalling the harsh treatment of gays and lesbians in the past, some may think that turnabout is fair play. But if that sentiment prevails, the Nation will experience bitter and lasting wounds.

Alito actually says something that is reasonably true, I expect that as this new normal takes hold those who cling to these old bigotries against gay people will feel the sting of social marginalization, and only feel comfortable voicing those opinions in their own homes. So what? Being socially ostracized for your backwards beliefs, is not the same as being legally discriminated against so the comparison between the two is false, and I’m no more concerned about the social marginalization of those who oppose gay rights than I’m against the same for racists.

There is nothing illegal, or even unethical, about criticizing bad ideas and exerting social pressure against those who hold those ideas to either change them or at least keep the ideas to themselves. I can’t stop a racist from being racist, but I can make it uncomfortable for him to voice those ideas publicly, and I don’t feel the least bit bad about doing so because I’m more concerned about the people belonging to the races he is attacking feeling comfortable and accepted than I am about making sure the racist feels comfortable and accepted. If you don’t want gay people to get married and this decision makes you feel marginalized…to bad.

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  • Nando Garza