Last week, Friday, June 26, 2015, the US Supreme Court, voting five to four in Obergefell v. Hodges, redefined the nature and meaning of marriage, by declaring that two persons of the same sex have a right to contract it. A few weeks earlier, in previously Catholic Ireland, 62 percent of 60 percent of the voters who turned out in a referendum on “same-sex marriage” voted in favor of the proposition: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” This, in the view of many, has no basis in moral law, religion, science or reason. I share this position.
Neither the US judicial ruling nor the Irish vote is a reflection of an American or Irish national consensus. Although the distinguished American ethicist and papal biographer George Weigel points out that “the marriage battle was lost in the culture long before foundations of our culture have eroded,” the pro-life and pro-family movement in the US had been continuously reporting victory after victory in the United Nations and in many US states before the Supreme Court cataclysm came. This means that the majority of the American and the Irish peoples may not be entirely supportive of same-sex “marriage,” except that a small legal majority is empowered to give it legal effect.
Throughout human history, marriage has always been understood as the permanent and exclusive union between one man and one woman for the propagation of the species. It is a natural institution, as old as humanity, not a mere legal construct that courts and Congresses can amend or reconstruct. Polygamy, polyandry, divorce, adultery may corrupt the dignity of marriage, but nothing and no one can ever redefine it in the way “same-sex marriage” tries to do, or does.
The US court ruling is an act of judicial activism, by far the most audacious act of judicial activism in US legal history. It puts the US court in charge of the moral and spiritual life of the nation and every individual therein, contrary to the self-evident truths and values upon which the American nation is founded. And contrary to what the Church Magisterium teaches. In an important lecture, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says the state is not the source of truth and morality; it cannot produce truth from its own self by means of an ideology based on people or race or class or some other entity; it cannot produce truth via the majority; it is not absolute.
In the tradition that defines law as an ordinance of reason promulgated by those in authority for the common good, the court ruling does not create law but violence. Where Roe v. Wade (1973) makes abortion, the destruction of the unborn inside the mother’s womb, a constitutional right of women, and makes the “empty cradle” a most appropriate symbol of marriage, the same-sex ruling removes the empty cradle altogether, and replaces it with a question mark, as it makes every same-sex “marriage” fatherless, motherless and childless. This is the worst form of population control. Contraception is population control, abortion is population control, but “same-sex marriage” is the ultimate.
Our own Supreme Court may have much to learn from this. In ruling on the constitutionality of the Philippine Reproductive Health Law, which President B. S. Aquino 3rd railroaded through Congress by paying off its members, the SC justice who wrote the ponencia declared that the law was a “population control measure,” but that “population control” is not unconstitutional, although it is not permitted by the Constitution, which makes the State the equal protector of the mother and the unborn from the moment of conception. Through the US ruling, our justices could revisit and relearn the meaning of “population control.”
Many Americans are obviously dismayed, but even in their dismay they have reason to be grateful to Justice Anthony Kennedy and his four other colleagues for not having made same-sex marriage compulsory on all. Otherwise American men would have been compelled to marry men only, and women; women only. This would have ensured deaths without births to every given population, and helped fulfill the dream of those who would like to see the global population reduced from seven billion plus to only one billion or less old people.
For US President Barack Obama, same-sex marriage helps to make the United States a “more perfect union.” No explanation was given. But Obama, like Hillary Clinton and notable members of the British royalty, are foremost exponents of population control. Ironically, the ruling came within weeks after The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record and voice of the American liberal establishment, formally threw in the towel on the long-drawn controversy over “population control.”
After trumpeting the doomsday doctrine of the Malthusians and the eugenicists and population controllers for decades, The Times conceded that they were on the wrong side of science, economics and history, and that population growth, as demonstrated by China, India and others, is mankind’s ultimate resource, as the economist Julian Simon argued in opposition to the doomsday prophet Paul Ehrlich, author of the completely discredited The Population Bomb.
America will now have to find out who is the wiser, The Times editorial board or the five justices on the US Supreme Court.
The folly is obvious, but there is no lack of crazy people in the world who will follow anything that moves, if it bears the US signature. We have no lack of psychopaths and copycats in the Philippines. The gay movement has already infiltrated Congress, but in addition to its gay members, there are any number of brainless congressmen, and even senators, who having nothing to contribute to the political conversation going on, will not hesitate to propose same-sex legislation, even though it has absolutely no foundation in the culture or the Constitution. We suggest that instead of following blindly the counter-cultural emanations from the US, they study the human person and the family better, much better.
In his opening address at Humanum, the international colloquium on the complementarity of man and woman, where I sat with some 400 other representatives of all religions at the Vatican last November, Pope Francis said, “In our day, marriage and the family are in crisis. The culture of the temporary has led many people to give up on marriage as a public commitment. The revolution in manners and morals has often flown the flag of freedom, but in fact it has brought spiritual and material devastation to countless human beings, especially the poorest and most vulnerable.”
In the same colloquium, Rev. Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, reminded us that the family is the “single most humanizing institution in history. The family–man, woman and child–is not one lifestyle choice among many. It is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations and enabling children to grow in a matrix of stability and love. It is where we learn the delicate choreography of relationship and how to handle the inevitable conflicts within any human group. It is where we first take the risk of giving and receiving love.”
Those who would like to redefine marriage may be guilty of what Frederick Hayek called ‘fatal conceit,’ to believe that somehow they know better than the wisdom of the ages and can defy the lessons of biology and history, Sacks said.
In their widely acclaimed small book, “What is Marriage?” Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson and Robert T. George, who were also present at Humanum, point out that the gay marriage debate is not directly about homosexuality, but about marriage. It is not about whom to marry, but about what marriage is.
Is marriage a human institution, touched by God, which permanently and exclusively unites one man and one woman for life for the begetting and educating of children? If the partners are of same sex and therefore incapable of procreation, no matter how much they may “love” each other, their union can never be called a marriage. The same-sex ruling therefore cannot be called a law, it cannot bind; it is nothing but violence, as Aquinas would put it, even if it bears the mighty imprint of the highest magistrates of the United States.