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 Blooming Stars

Same Sex Marriage

            It is very important that I comment on this topic at this critical juncture. A few days ago (June 26, 2015) a judicial mega-bomb exploded in the USA ripping up the age-old social fabric of family and married life as we know them over the entire age of human civilization. It reverberated the whole world over setting up a bad legal precedence for the whole human family. In a historic, landmark judgment the nine justices of the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, with a 5-4 majority, into law legalizing same sex or gay marriage. One critic acclaimed this law as an instance of judicial tyranny. Chief Justice, John Roberts, dissenting the majority opinion reversing same-sex bans in very critical terms suggested that it employs the worst kind of judicial activism that has no basis in the constitution. He also declared that from the stand-point of history and tradition, a leap from opposite sex marriage to same sex marriage is much greater than one from a two person (monogamy) union to plural unions (polygamy), which have deep roots in some cultures around the world.

            Blasting the majority decision, Anton in Scalia, one of the justices, stated in his opinion that an unelected body of nine lawyers on the Supreme Court set themselves as the rulers of 320 million Americans. According to him this decision is an affront to democratic principle as the Supreme Court is increasingly creating policy encroaching on democracy rather than serving as a neutral arbiter. He further stated that this decision robs the people of the most important liberty asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern them. He further asserted that social transformation without representation is a violation of a very fundamental democratic principle. This law was passed on a majority of one.

            Justice Anthony Kennedy, a swing vote in the Supreme Court, has been spearheading the movement over the years banning lower court decisions that went against homosexual unions. Interestingly the US Supreme Court decision comes on the heels of a traditionally conservative Catholic Ireland legalizing same sex marriage in a referendum in May 2015 that got 62 percent approval. Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. He, a Catholic of Irish origin, needs to be aware that every individual liberty has limits in the context of a society. One’s rights and liberty are not absolute. We are all limited that is why we are all imperfect humans. Certainly everyone’s rights and dignity need to be protected without discrimination.

            As sharply dissenting Chief Justice Roberts pointed out that unelected judges should not be in the position of expanding rights seen as having roots in history and tradition at the expense of the people. A court has no right to redefine marriage that is very well defined as a union between one man and one woman. It has no right to expand marriage to include lesbian or homosexual unions. We need to find a new term other than marriage to describe same sex unions. Civil unions appear to be an adequate phrase for same sex unions. The issue at hand is not equality. The same sex union is a different kind of union that is afforded the same legal protection as marriage. Whether same sex persons should be able to adopt or have children through insemination or renting of wombs are social, psychological, moral, and bio-ethical issues that need to be very thoroughly and sensitively dealt with on the basis of common good, societal well-being, essential care for all, and, above all, sound moral principles.

            A cautionary note: Social and biological engineering is taking place in materially developed countries at a very fast pace. These extravagantly consumer, wealthy countries, while solipsistic ally concerned about their ever-expanding wants, have scant concern for the basic rights and needs of the people of poor countries, that form the overwhelming majority of humanity. We all belong to this one universe where everyone’s rights need to be valued. My lamentation here is: Religions, where have your spiritual power gone? Put your own houses in order getting back your own integrity.

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