‘Marriage and Self-Government’
Here’s our editorial on marriage, self-government, and the Supreme Court’s announcement on Friday that it will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry and U.S. v. Windsor.
Of the various arguments advanced for a constitutional “right” of same-sex marriage, none withstands even momentary scrutiny by accepted standards. Are gays and lesbians a powerless and oppressed minority? One can hardly say that after the November elections, in which the cause of same-sex marriage was victorious in four states, in a year when it was also embraced by the president of the United States and enshrined in the platform of the larger of our major parties. Is it rationally indefensible to reserve the institution of marriage to the only kind of union — one man and one woman — that is capable of procreation, and to the kind of union that is proven to be the best general setting for the rearing of children? The question answers itself.
Are laws protecting this time-honored institution founded upon a culpable animus against persons of homosexual inclination? Such a conclusion would rest on three errors. First, it would confuse the law’s purpose with the putative motives of some who support it. Second, it would accuse some citizens — citizens holding moral opinions about behavior that the Constitution plainly permits them to act upon — of a personal animosity of which they are not guilty. Finally, it would be blind to the plain fact that in a society that is increasingly open and tolerant regarding homosexuality, many Americans find it easy to join in such welcoming attitudes while believing quite sensibly that governmental recognition of same-sex couples as married is incompatible with the purpose for which marriage policy exists in the first place: to foster stability in the sort of relationships that can give rise to children.