Supreme Confusion

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I didn’t want to write this post. It’s not like I enjoy having people think I’m a “hater”, “stupid”, “intolerant”, “on the wrong side of history”, etc….because I disagree with the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. In fact after the decision was announced, I immediately decided to just shut up about it. It’s a touchy subject obviously, one riddled with emotional land mines I’d rather not have explode in my face because of a misunderstood comment. Hell certainly hath no fury like an angry Internet mob.

Wading through the toxic swampland of on line comment sections however has caused a change of heart.  A very unfair narrative against those who have legitimate grievances with the ruling has formed that I feel is important to counter. It seems half the country believes the other half are narrow-minded bigots living in a homophobic land of denial; I’m here to tell you most of them are not. And oh, by the way, no one is against love either.

They, and I, just have strong concerns with the constitutionality behind Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion, the striking precedent it sets for judges to legislate from the bench, the possible unintended consequences of changing the way our society has always defined marriage and what this means for religious freedom in America if forced compliance becomes a reality.

Let me pause for a minute to add that I support gay marriage and voted for it when it was on the state ballot in California a few years ago. I have gay people in my life that I love dearly and don’t think their attraction to the same sex in any way shape or form takes away from who they are as individuals. I’m fine with allowing them to marry in states that permit it and rearranging laws in states that don’t to accommodate domestic and legal affairs. I just feel strongly that creating a new constitutional right to gay marriage was the absolute wrong way to go about doing this.

Views on gay marriage have shifted dramatically over the last decade, with 37 states having legalized it already. I believe most of the remaining 13 would have done so too through a natural democratic process that would have been much more peaceful and consensus driven. Instead, we get same sex marriage mandated by judicial fiat, which all but guarantees heated political and legal battles ahead and much more divisiveness. A giant and unnecessary rip through our already fragile societal fabric. Hooray for us.

Leaving decisions like this is to the states is called Federalism which is not just fundamental to our American way of government, it’s what the entire system is based on. Acting as both a way to check and contain the power of an ever-growing federal government, federalism is also the best way for states to respond directly to the interests of their local populations.

Yes federal law trumps state, but the twisted logic the majority Justices used to slap a constitutional stamp of approval on this ruling make me fear we will pay for this dearly down the road. Coming on the heals of the awful Obamacare subsidy ruling in King v Burwell, it’s now painfully clear our Supreme Court has ceded it’s judicial responsibilities to become just another political arm of the Executive branch.

Where we go from here is unknown but the precedents set are not. Rulings many are celebrating today also open the door for future ones where an entirely different set of characters with new and enormous power will be at the helm. This does not leave me optimistic for a peaceful future.

As far as Biblical views limiting marriage to being just between a man and a woman, there is valid theological reasoning behind this involving the parallel of husband and wife with Christ and the Church, and “two becoming one flesh”.  I am absolutely horrible at explaining the nuances behind  this, but insanitybytes22 does an excellent job here.

My thoughts are that if you don’t follow a religion that prohibits a gay lifestyle, than you shouldn’t be expected to live by those rules. Those that do though have valid and important reasons for being against it having nothing to do with hate. Some of the most loving and caring people I know are Christians and I’ve seen first hand how they extend this love towards gay people, even though they don’t agree with their lifestyle.

This piece was not written to change anyone’s mind on the court decision. Its only purpose was to highlight some of the many legitimate concerns against it. Just something to keep in mind as discussions on this continue, as you probably know a lot of people who share these concerns yet are not speaking out in order to keep the peace.

We are a large society with wide and varied opinions; we all need the space to have those opinions without others thinking the worst of them. That’s the American way. At least it used to be.

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29 Responses to Supreme Confusion

  1. Julie says:

    Very well said. Thank you for speaking up with a calm voice of reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Al says:

    You continue to be one of the most well-spoken bloggers out there. There is way too much vitriol these days and a dangerous trend toward demonizing those who do not agree with a particular issue. People tend to act on things that will make them feel good without concern to long term consequences. When this is pointed out to them, the invectives begin to fly. This country is in deep trouble right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Al, I really appreciate your comments. You’re so right about people demonizing others based on disagreement over political issues. It is a big problem in this country, one that I don’t see getting any better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. JunkChuck says:

    Before I start, I want to say that I appreciate your eloquent explanation of your position. Yours is probably one of the better arguments I’ve seen, probably because you’re not foaming at the mouth and hyperventilating over the issue, as most of the marriage equality opponents have been–though I admit to enjoying the rampant hysteria among many who very much have been, as you put it “on the wrong side of history.” I would counter your peripheral arguments by saying that this certainly is about bigotry and intolerance, and while a better man would forgive much of that out of sympathy for the ignorant fear driving those feelings, not to mention the manner in which certain politicians and commentators have used, and continue to use, the issue as a means to advance their own personal interests.

    I don’t believe this case, or the AHC case, set precedents for legislation from the bench. This has been happening for quite a while now, and the same arguments were made during the civil rights days and earlier–objections to Brown vs. The Board of Education parrot right wing responses to this most recent set of decisions, for example. More recent, abominable examples like Bush v. Gore and Citizens United come to mind. Judicial activism, I believe, is largely in the eye of the beholder. As a self-styled, old school, Roosevelt “Bull Moose” progressive I’m not horrified. I don’t have a problem with social issues like Brown and Obergefell v. Hodges being dealt with from the perspective of what is right–and I think that it can be argued that the constitutional interpretation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is fair game in this regard. The only way that it could be argued against is if marriage equality “happiness” impinged upon the rights of others–and it doesn’t. Not one straight conservative has been harmed by marriage equality–outraged, offended, scandalized, to be sure, but not harmed.

    I don’t hold to Federalism in all cases, either. If we let all things to the states to decide, a large swath of the country would still be plagued by Jim Crow. Again, it’s all a matter of perspective. Of course–had SCOTUS ruled opposite, I’d be outraged by the unfairness, as I have been. And I don’t think I’d be wrong. The wrongs heaped upon the people “harmed” by the scenarios mentioned by opponents don’t impress–clerks forced to accept checks and stamp approvals on marriages licenses complain of having their consciences violated? They should give us all a break and get off the petty power trip: they’re not sanctifying homosexual unions, they’re pushing papers. Likewise the apocryphal cake bakers and florists whose businesses have been ruined by their refusal to serve certain people based on their value judgements of the worthiness of those potential customers. Pick a better stand to make, and read your new testament. Jesus dined with tax collectors, associated with lepers, and employed an alleged former prostitute as his chief of staff–does anyone really believe he would have blinked at giving cake to a couple of lesbians from Warm Springs, Georgia?

    Not that Jesus has anything to do with this discussion. There is simply no room for ancient religions in modern interpretations of constitutional law. I accept that certain individuals have theological opposition to equality, but I utterly deny its relevance in a modern, secular, state. Forgetting for a moment the myriad variations of marriage established in the old testament–it is a stale argument, however amusing it may be, to flaunt all the laying about with concubines and slaves, daughters and sisters-in-law, and wives of vanquished foes in the early bible. Citing religious sensibilities as grounds for any legislation, particularly legislation that establishes a subsection of the population as secondary in any regard, is a slippery slope. We’ve seen all too clearly the possibilities that occur when matters of state are transposed into matters of theology. I say this confessing to a deep fear of other people’s gods or, more precisely, the things I’ve seen people willing to do in the name of those gods.

    In the end, this is an improvement to our nation that benefits many and harms none. It should never have become the all-encompassing argument that it has.

    Liked by 1 person

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      A very well-balanced and forthright statement, Trish, but a couple of points in contrast:

      …it’s now painfully clear our Supreme Court has ceded it’s judicial responsibilities to become just another political arm of the Executive branch” – During his eight years in office, ‘W’ had the good fortune to pack SCOTUS with his own appointees, hopefully assuring that his policies would long outlive his term of office – is it not possible that the Court, in voting AGAINST what I think we can safely assume Bush would not have wanted, were following their own consciences, rather than being any “tool” of any particular administration?

      Secondly, we live in a democracy, which by definition, means government by the will of the majority, but the entire concept of the court system is designed to ascertain that the rights of the minority don’t get trampled in the process. I’m not gay, and I have lost all contact, through time, with all of the gay friends and acquaintances I ever had, so from that standpoint, I really don’t have a horse in this race, but the truth is, that when any of us are denied a basic human right – in this case, to acknowledge their love for each other to the world, and as mundane as it may be, assure their loved ones that they are legally protected by insurance policies, wills, and whatever legalities entail – then that diminishes us all.

      It is not my way to promote atheist blogs on clearly Christian websites, and trust me, I don’t post this to promote any atheist agenda, but Neil Carter addresses, from a former Christian standpoint, a number of concerns he feels Christians may well have over the recent SCOTUS decision, in a manner as fair and honest as your own post has been – To My Evangelical Friends Upon the Legalization of Gay Marriage.

      It’s true, as you say, that given time, with 37 of 50 States already endorsing gay marriage, “a natural democratic process that would have been much more peaceful and consensus driven,” other states would likely have come over, but the truth is, that slavery was a dying institution as well, and although 250 years old, probably hadn’t had another fifty years of life – but fifty years was the average lifespan of a slave. Who among us would really want to wait fifty years to be free?

      Leaving the decision to the states, would certainly have removed any taint of Federalism, but it would leave the fates of thousands to the whims of State Legislatures and become a patchwork quilt of regulations, entirely lacking uniformity. A quick look at how that works – if I should want to have sex with a 14-year old girl (don’t gasp, the Bible’s full of it), I could go to Arkansas and do so legally – now the girl can’t drive, she can’t vote, but she can legally consent to have sex with me. On the other hand, should she for some reason agree to have sex with a classmate, who just happens to be 13, she could be jailed for statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor! I can’t believe that makes sense, even in Arkansas.

      An isolated example, to be sure, but my point is, in a nation as mobile as the US, some laws need to be uniform. If I and my 14-year old girlfriend decide to drive across the boarder to any other state, I am immediately subject to arrest (and no, I don’t have a 14-year old girlfriend!). Already, recalcitrant states are seeking ways to subvert the SCOTUS ruling by various means, and that’s with the weight of the nation’s highest court behind the ruling – with what kind of mess would we have been left had we waited for all of the states to unite behind a mutual decision to stop discriminating against those whose sexual orientation is merely different from our own?

      Liked by 2 people

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Sorry – I left out the fact that if left up to the States, the regulations are subject to the whims of each new State administration, and could be changed at will, so that the state that accepts it today, could well reject it in four more years – imagine what a rollercoaster ride THAT could be!
        (also, above, “…in voting AGAINST what I think we can safely assume Bush would not have wanted….” should have been, “ in voting AGAINST what I think we can safely assume Bush would not have wanted….“)

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      • Tricia says:

        Thank you Arch. As stated, the point of my post which was not to convince you or others to change your mind on the ruling, only to reiterate that most people who are against it are not bigoted against gay people. People may not agree with those reasons, but they are no excuse to demean and question the moral character of those that hold them. That’s a very serious thing and I think we are headed down a bad path trying to assassinate another’s character as opposed to seriously giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have good intentions as well.

        By the way, we live in a Republic, not a Democracy, designed to protect people from the majority via the Bill of Rights.

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        • archaeopteryx1 says:

          As I suggested, read Neil’s article – I think you and he basically think along the same lines, except for that whole god thing —

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      • JunkChuck says:

        The Neil Carter article is excellent–he says so much that I’d like to say, in the way I’d like to say it if I wasn’t such a natural born ass.

        Like

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks for commenting JunkChuck and I appreciate your thinking my explanation was eloquent. While I don’t agree at all with what you wrote, I do value the perspective you shared. As stated in my post, the point was not to change opinions on the ruling, but to perhaps open a small crack in the minds of those predisposed to thinking that anyone not happy with the Overfill v. Hodges decision is a homophobic bigot. In your case it seems I’ve failed.

      Obama was against gay marriage up until 2012 when it became politically inconvenient and Senator Clinton gave a speech in 2008 touting marriage as between one man and one woman as a fundamental bedrock principle, are they narrow minded homophobes too? Are you prepared to call a family member, friend or colleague who disagrees with you on this “a frothing at the mouth hyperventilating bigot”? I guarantee there are decent people you communicate with every day who oppose the ruling but won’t speak out for fear of being bullied.

      This demonization of politics is tearing the country apart and it’s got to stop. Thinking the worst of someone based on what political party they belong to and/or what issues they support is narrow minded thinking at its worst and does great damage to both the relational structure of society and our ability to properly debate important issues. Is it too much to ask that we treat each other as fellow human beings even though we might hold different opinions? This country was built on the free exchange of ideas and when that mechanism breaks down, democracy suffers. I would say that mechanism is on life support today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tricia says:

        I forgot to mention the interracial marriage comparison which I’m glad you brought up as I don’t think the two can be properly equated. Prohibitions on marrying outside of your race were vicious eugenics type rules meant to stamp out blacks and had little to do with defining marriage. For more perspective read this ,http://www.nationalreview.com/article/419441/supreme-court's-gay-marriage-case-unlike-1967-ruling-on-interracial-marriage

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      • JunkChuck says:

        I, perhaps, spoke too carelessly if you thought that I was classifying you, or all opponents of marriage equality, and ranting bigots–but there are certainly plenty of them, such as the California preacher I saw on the news today waving what he said was a printed copy of the decision around in the air, shouting and screaming, then throwing it on the ground and stomping on it. There are a lot of people shouting and wailing–if more folks like you were reasonable in stating their positions, we’d accomplish a lot more as a nation. I understand a lot of people have passionate, heartfelt objections, and do not descend into tantrums–unfortunately, many of those who do tend to shoulder their way to the front of the crowd.

        You are absolutely right about President Obama. He made promises during his campaign, backtracked once he got in office, and only came around because it became expedient and he no longer has a stake in the matter. He was not my candidate, but I privately hoped (pardon the pun) he would live up to his public image. Now that he’s building his legacy in the eleventh hour, I remain unimpressed. Sadly, the menu for our next election promises nothing–empty vessels posturing for hard right donors, Hillary, and an old hippie from Vermont who means well, but…no. I honestly wish I didn’t care.

        I only have one relative who fits the frothing hyperventilator persona, but yes, absolutely, I’d tell him to his face–he’s a doctor and thinks I’m a liberal because because I offered to remove him from the holiday dinner table when he said “all the fags will burn in hell, so who cares who they marry.” He can’t understand that both his hatred and his calling me a liberal offend me.

        I like you a lot more than I like him, though.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          No, I didn’t think you were directing that at me so sorry if I made it seem that way. You’re response was respectful and I appreciate that. I guess it just seemed to me that you were not convinced that it’s not mostly loons who were against the decision, but I see that’s not the case. And oh I agree, there are some loons out there for sure, like the guy who said he would light himself on fire because of the decision, geeze, go ahead then right? And I’ve got some frothers in my family too but on the far left side…;0

          And I’m glad to see we agree on something and that’s our shared dislike of Obama, for different reasons I’m sure. And if it ends up being a Bush vs Clinton election again? Well just shoot me now…!

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          • JunkChuck says:

            I’m write in Ralph Nader before I vote for either. Actually, I’d probably go hippie and vote for the guy from Vermont, whose name I can never remember, because at least he seems earnest in his beliefs–but as we speak now, I’m not ordering any of the 16 selections currently on the menu.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tricia says:

            You are thinking of Bernie Sanders, the self descriibed Socialist…

            Like

  4. Imagine what would happen if everyone followed the saying, “Would you rather be right or would rather have peace?” Is it possible for everyone to have their beliefs and their own way while still respecting the beliefs and ways of other people in a fashion that effectively communicates that respect?

    I don’t know the answer to that. But I do know that I like the way your comment shows respect while also showing your beliefs. 🙂

    And I agree with the idea that states should decide these issues for themselves. We’re supposed to be the “United States of America,” not just “America.” States should be allowed to do what works for them. Diversity is a strength, and yet we’re now supposed to see it as a weakness, as if it’s better for everyone to come under one rule and that one rule is supposed to fit everyone’s lifestyle. That’s the very contradiction of respecting differences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      “as if it’s better for everyone to come under one rule and that one rule is supposed to fit everyone’s lifestyle. That’s the very contradiction of respecting differences.” That’s exactly right Gabriel, you nailed it!

      And it’s weird how ugly things get now around just about every issue. I think social media plays a big role in this, but I have to think it’s a break down in values too in regards to how we treat one another. I dunno, so many factors involved I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well said, a nice reasonable post. I often wonder about what has caused so much division, inability to respect others opinions, the attempted elimination of all dissent? Certainly social media has contributed there, and our political leadership has also set a bad example, but I’ve noticed a huge shift in the way we discuss issues. It’s definitely not the American way, not the traditional approach to dissenting opinions at all. I’ve been watching it grow for about a decade now and observing the changes. Not much I can do about it, but I do find it fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      I/B – Speaking of, “the attempted elimination of all dissent,” I have a number of comments sitting in your spam folder on your site, that you doubtless have simply been too busy to notice – I would type this comment to you on your own site, rather than Tricia’s, but it would only go to the same folder to join the others. I do hope you’ll take a moment to rectify that obvious oversight at your earliest convenience – some of those were pretty funny, when they were fresh —

      Like

      • Tricia says:

        Arch, would you please stop taking your beef’s with other bloggers over to my site? It’s really worn out its shelf life.

        If ya can’t tell the difference between moderating a blog and the public dissent essential to a free society than all hope is lost for you my friend…;)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      You’re right IB, it is fascinating in a weird way! It would almost be fun to study if it were’t such a serious matter. And oh yes, our political leadership has contributed enormously to the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Some great points here that I hadn’t even considered and summed up by the pic ‘ liberty and justice for all unless I disagree.’ I fear this ruling or rather the way it was carried out will indeed come back to bite some people on the bottoms when it works agin them. Your point about the church was also spot on I think – unless I’m easily swayed today.
    ‘if you don’t follow a religion that prohibits a gay lifestyle, than you shouldn’t be expected to live by those rules. Those that do though have valid and important reasons for being against it having nothing to do with hate. ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Well thank you and I appreciate you coming by and sharing your opinion. And I agree, I this and other recent rulings will result in unintended consequences we’ve yet begun to even consider I think what saddens me the most though is the automatic negative assumptions about, and outright hate being directed towards people based soley on their opinion of this ruling. Very Orwellian times we live in…! 🙂

      Like

  7. ColorStorm says:

    Can I say how clever the ‘Supreme Confusion’ is 😉

    Do you recall the Temps hit ‘ball of confusion?’ and the band played on…………….

    Some good stuff here trish, but there will be fallout from many quarters lasting a long time; will be interesting to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Ha, good reference to the The Temps! Yup, the fallout will be huge, should be interesting but kind of scary at the same time. Not that I’m that old (at least I like to think not) but I’ve never seen such a shutting down of opinions when merely trying to discuss issues, at least not in my lifetime. Orwell’s genius has never been more evident.

      Liked by 1 person

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