After Gay Sex Ruling, Does Gay Marriage Gain? (News)

The Christian Century, July 26, 2003 | Go to article overview

After Gay Sex Ruling, Does Gay Marriage Gain? (News)


Fearing that barriers to same-gender marriage may also fall following the Supreme Court's decision to strike down state laws against homosexual sex, religious traditionalists want the Bush administration to throw its weight behind a constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriages.

But President Bush told reporters in early July that "I don't know if it's necessary yet." According to the Washington Times, Bush said, "Let's let the lawyers look at the full ramifications" of the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision June 26 on a case that struck down a Texas "sodomy" law and comparable ones in a dozen other states.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R., Tenn.) announced June 29 that he will support the amendment. Introduced in the House but not the Senate as yet, the amendment would not only bar recognition of same-sex marriage on the federal level but also invalidate any state or municipal law that confers either marriage or its corresponding benefits on gay couples.

"It is clear from this that the court has taken sides in the culture war," said Justice Antonin Scalia, summarizing from the bench his dissent in the Lawrence and Garner v. Texas case. That interpretation was echoed by Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, who said, "Once again judicial activists have used their fertile imagination to create fights that simply don't exist in the Constitution. In doing so, they have imposed their own moral judgments in place of state legislatures and have thereby undermined the democratic process."

The court's ruling was unexpectedly broad, explicitly embracing the right-to-privacy argument and implicitly embracing the equal-protection argument.

The decision means that all bans on consensual, adult sodomy--for gays and heterosexuals alike--violate the fight to privacy that the majority of the court believes exists in the 14th Amendment.

The decision has already had legal ramifications. On the day after the decision was announced, the Supreme Court invalidated a sodomy conviction that a Kansas teenager received for having sex with a younger boy.

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After Gay Sex Ruling, Does Gay Marriage Gain? (News)
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