- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2015


You might think the gays, the liberals and the mellowed-out folks who groove on kittens and little living things would be content to lie in a patch of sunlight in the corner and purr together.

Chief Justice John Roberts told them it was OK to celebrate, though it’s not clear why a chief justice who said the Constitution had nothing to do with the gay marriage decision would urge anyone to celebrate setting the Constitution aside.

The gays, liberals, etc., spent the weekend reading Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion to each other, marveling at his skill in the law, his mastery of logic and reasoning, above all the poetry of his purple ode to love — it’s not quite the right shade of lavender, but it will do. But even that is not enough.

Some of the gays, liberals, etc., are angry at Chief Justice Roberts because he suggests that the ruling will “pave the way” for polygamy, not that there could be anything wrong with that. If nobody has a right to say who you can love, as President Obama reminds us, then no one can rightly say how many people a body can take on a honeymoon. Congress might even consider an apology to the Mormons for insisting that they had to disavow polygamy, once a key doctrine of their church, before Congress would admit Utah to the union.

Walter Dellinger, the director of the U.S. Office of Legal Counsel in the Clinton administration, is miffed because the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, was only 5 to 4. Switch one vote and an estrogen shortage would settle over the wedding chapel. Without that fifth vote there wouldn’t be room for two of those little men in tuxedos of spun sugar on the wedding cake (preferably baked by a reluctant baker under court order). “The four dissenting justices wrote four separate dissenting opinions,” Mr. Dellinger wrote in Slate, a magazine of the Web. “The judicial opponents of gay marriage were not content to go gently into that good night.”

He got in his licks at the Confederate battle flag, too, since that’s the nifty thing to do this week. He mocks the dissenters — Messrs Roberts, Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — for their consideration of “tradition” and “heritage,” isolating the words in quotation marks as if they smell bad, like something on his shoe.

There’s four villains to boo and hiss in the gay bars of the land. Justice Scalia is a favorite villain, not only for his opinion of the law, but because he writes so well and laces his opinions with gall and bile, leaving the rosewater to Justice Kennedy. Mr. Scalia is particularly naughty for his remark that if he had put his name to a purple opinion as Mr. Kennedy might have written, “I would hide my head in a bag.” His head in a bag is exactly what a lot of the gay caballeros can’t wait to see.

Those who felt the love from Justice Kennedy and the merry ladies and merciful knights of the High Court seem particularly disappointed that the decision won’t put a stop to the controversy over gay marriage, and they’re concerned how the ruling might be used by other litigants in other causes (such as group marriage). Well they might be. Americans wrangled over the Brown decision, declaring legally enforced segregation in the public schools to be unconstitutional, for a half-century, a controversy extended by how Chief Justice Earl Warren picked a spavined Swedish horse to ride to the right place.

Wrangling over Roe v. Wade, where a divided court found a right to abortion in the Constitution, has hardly settled anything. Litigants and legislatures continue to find ways to restrict the boundaries of the decision.

Justice Samuel Alito, in his dissent, asks on what grounds a state might deny a marriage license to a foursome of two men and two women. Justice Scalia asks whether a state must recognize a polygamous marriage from a foreign country.

The question that might be asked is what about a group marriage including children? (At last, a little girl might get to marry her daddy.) Such a union sounds weird enough, but so does same-sex marriage to nearly everybody. It’s the “ick” factor of same-sex marriage that will keep the issue on the stove.

But next up is the wrangle to divide the land as it has not been divided since Appomattox. What must be done with the clergyman who won’t participate in the new orthodoxy? A town in Idaho has already enacted an ordinance to fine and jail stubborn parsons. The show has barely begun. We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

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