In a victory for human rights today, 5 members of the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). And in what at least is surprising to me, let stand a Federal Appellate Court ruling, overturning California's Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. Not surprising were the 4 dissenters to the DOMA opinion: Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito.
As a quick update, here's the link to the actual Supreme Court opinion. U.S. v. Windsor
I can't help but notice that Justice Scalia's dissent reads very much like sour grapes and lame excuses. His ability to separate his catholic sensibilities from his judicial responsibilities has been more than suspect to me ever since this issue came up. Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas have demonstrated repeatedly that they are more about privilege than they are about rights.
I'm no lawyer, but from where I sit, their bias betrays the position they have been entrusted with. No, not one of them is ever liable to be impeached ... but Oh, how I would love to see it!
Thomas has all the judicial and legal insight of Zippy the Wonder Slug exploring a salt mine. Scalia is just flat out intellectually dishonest. Haven't quite figured out Alito, but I've heard the nickname "Scalito." As to Roberts, he actually pleasantly surprises me on occasion. This, not being one of those occasions.
As regards Alito, I heard the same nickname applied to him when he first came up for confirmation. He may not be as vocal, but for what I've seen to date, his judgments are little different from his putative namesake.
Thomas belongs on that court about as much as I do ... and you wouldn't catch me DEAD on the Supreme Court!
Interestingly, Thomas might have voted to make his own marriage illegal, if he had been on the Supreme Court when Loving vs. State of Virginia legalized interracial marriage in 1967. I suppose back then "traditional marriage" was "one man / one woman / same race". also here.
We can always count on Antonin Scalia to weigh in on the wrong side of history. In his dissent, he writes: "As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms…" For traditional moral read Roman Catholic and/or Christian. The only possible basis for ruling same sex marriage IMmoral is scriptural, at least as interpreted by the RCC and evangelicals. Today, dogma lost. Reason won.
As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms…
-- Antonin Scalia
Okay, Tony ... WHOSE Norms? And reflective of what era and what social mindset? Slavery was a "tradition" 150 years ago, as was denial of interracial marriages until much more recently. Again, Scalia's personal beliefs are being discomfited, and he is trying to use the law to justify his discomfiture. This is unworthy of a high jurist of this country.
I'm very happy about this.
I grew up feeling so demonized and marginalized, I was not able to say aloud what I was. I didn't even have the words for it. I was socially isolated, had no role models, no self esteem. People like me did not deserve even consideration for equal rights. I didn't deserve to be acknowledged as existing.
In the rough little town where I grew up, there were "urban legends" about disappearance of "men like that" - and to be honest, I do think they were disappeared. One was a lawyer for my great aunt - when she died, he could not be located - no one ever knew what happened to him. Another was a participant in the "Little Theater" - infamous for attracting gay men. He was supposedly castrated in the town square (no way to go back and know if that is true), leaving behind a trail of blood, and disappearing.
As I matured, I was afraid of discovery, arrest, having coworkers / supervisors discover I was gay. And family. I could not honor my relationships as boyfriend and then partner - it was always a phase. It was going to pass. Denial of the relationship, and not wanting discovery, undermined those relationships. In the Army, I had the advantage of youth - no one worried about long term life, and people were friendly and accepting. That was mostly pre-Reagan I think. But after - then came AIDS, and more.
With AIDS, demonization, isolation, judgement worsened. I worried I would become one of the statistics, and more than that, have to break my parents' hearts by telling them, if I developed AIDS. I had a suicide plan, designed to look like an accident, so if that happened to me, I could at least save them, that. Reagan never mentioned AIDS until after more died from that disease, than from the Vietnam War. And most people didn't care. And many judged.
Fast-forward a generation.
Now my partner and I are married. Coworkers are so matter-of-fact about my being gay, it's not an issue. A majority of Americans, small majority but still a majority, recognize that we deserve the dignity and respect afforded to any other human being. Even the president states, being gay, which I am, is worthy of dignity and respect. My employer recognizes my marriage, with the same benefits as other couples. Now the United States Government recognizes my marriage, with the rights and responsibilities as with any other marriage.
I almost have to pinch myself. It is so amazing.
There are battles to be fought. There are many prejudiced and disingenuous bigots out there. There are millions like me, but in states where they don't have the same rights that I now have.
It's one step at a time. But it's a very big step. I still can't believe it.
Excellent reply, SB. All I can say is to repeat my first phrase in this post, In a victory today for human rights... HUMAN RIGHTS!
I'm a straight, white, old, heterosexual. Today was as much of a victory for me as it was to every LGBT person out there. I'm reminded of what fellow A|N member James Martin pointed out to me in a quote he once posted.
Respect for the rights of others means peace. Benito Juarez.