So, to begin with, let’s begin by establishing that we’ll be talking about three rulings in this post, not just the homosexual marriage one.
1. The disparate impact ruling wasn’t covered much in the media due to the homosexual marriage ruling, but it was kind of important. While it did not get rid of the notion of disparate impact, it did make the criteria for establishing malintentioned disparate impact more stringent, which can’t help but be good for everyone. The court is finally moving towards sanity on dealing with race-based discrimination–i.e., innocent until proven guilty, rather than the other way around, like with everything else in our society.
2. The death penalty ruling was…interesting, but not especially groundbreaking. Suffice it to say that the court still finds that the death penalty is still constitutional.
3. And, what you’ve all been waiting for–the homosexual marriage ruling. First, anyone surprised, shocked, or panicked by the ruling really hasn’t been paying attention to the fact that Anthony Kennedy is the most pietistic Catholic in modern jurisprudence–yes, even Sotomayor is less so than Kennedy.
Second, this ruling unfortunately makes sense under the current cultural paradigm through which we view marriage. And yes, it is a cultural paradigm, not the absolute truth. Deal with it. Anyway, the current conception of marriage is that its purpose is solely to make the individuals involved happy.
Raising happy, healthy kids in the best environment possible? Great side bonus, but not really important.
Basic building block of society? Why should I care?
Any sort of religious notion or other tradition? Hah!
How do I know this is the prevailing ethic, you may ask? Because no-fault divorce, which means that a marriage may be ended at any time, for any reason, exists. At the point where a society has such laws, it has chosen to claim that marriage is a purely personal institution, based around that relatively nebulous concept called “happiness.”
Now, a moment for clarification here. There is a rather large middle ground between the present attitude towards marriage and the “arranged marriage” idea as practiced in much of India and elsewhere. A robust societal conception of marriage would prioritize the happiness of the individuals involved, seeing as happy people tend to be better at raising functional kids–and also, it’s usually bad when people are unhappy–but would include all of the other items mentioned above as well. And no-fault divorce would not exist.
I’d go more into what that means, but that’s a blog post for another day. Suffice it to say that we have an excessively individualistic view of marriage, and that such a view lends itself to…expansion of the combinations of persons involved.
Now, the ramifications should be obvious. For one thing, we’ll get to see how many homosexual pairings decide to act on the new ruling. For another, we’ll get to see how much resistance gets put up to it–expect lots of surreptitious feet-dragging, states de facto doing civil unions, and a lot of RFRA-like laws being passed over the next few months as well.
Longer term–depends on who you ask. I’m not going to speculate, at least not here, except to say that I’ve always known that I don’t live in the world as I would have it or the world that is to come, but in the world that is. And it would behoove everyone to remember that when reflecting on any of these decisions.
‘Til next time,