Bench Memos

What’s at Stake in the Marriage Cases

In an essay for the National Catholic Register, I provide a brief overview of the DOMA and Prop 8 cases and offer this warning about the consequences if the Court messes up:

The collapse of our marriage culture in recent decades — a collapse that heterosexuals are largely responsible for — has brought with it all the social pathologies associated with divorce, out-of-wedlock births, and single-parent families. Over the long term, the American experiment in ordered liberty cannot flourish amidst this collapse. It is time for all Americans to work to restore our marriage culture and to re-establish the inherent link between marriage and responsible procreation and child-rearing, rather than to redefine marriage to deny that vital link.

Catholic institutions and faithful Catholics are at special risk. The logic and rhetoric deployed in support of same-sex marriage depict supporters of traditional marriage as the moral equivalent of racist bigots. If a Supreme Court majority indulges that libel, those organizations and individuals who embrace the Church’s teaching will in the coming years be stigmatized, marginalized, and penalized, on matters ranging from educational admissions and employment to professional licenses, accreditations, and tax-exempt status.


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