Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SCOTUS: Too Much and Too Little

by Rosaria Butterfield
July 2015

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued the majority opinion in Obergefell et. al. v. Hodges, which consolidated four cases addressing the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage. Led by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the majority found state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Piggybacking off of the 14th amendment, the Supreme Court made sexual orientation a protected category, analogous to race, using cosmological language about the greater good that comes to all when homosexual sexual relationships are allowed to flourish under the invention of a new kind of marriage. Gay marriage is now the law of the land. This public policy change to the definition of marriage commands a redefinition of personhood.

Arguments by analogy always lose something in translation, as apples and bicycles don't have nearly as much in common as their proponents think. And ever since the SCOTUS decision, all ontological hell seems to have broken loose. Many celebrity Christians have laid down their cards: they reject biblical inerrancy (and really always have) and embrace gay-affirming theology, keeping in step with seeker-friendly visions. A video featuring a medical director of Planned Parenthood trafficking fetus body parts over arugula salad and salmon has gone viral. Christian business owners face gag orders for living vocationally for the glory of God. It seems now that there are two kinds of "Christians": the revisionists who sport a "high regard" for scripture with a correspondingly dreadfully low literacy of it, standing proudly with their rainbow flags on the right side of history, and the rest of us bigots on the other. We seem to have entered some Orwellian nightmare, where the wages of sin is no longer death, but a false and misleading travesty of grace. This might even make one long for the good old days when worldview conflicts involved atheists.

Of course, I have no right to complain.
The blood is on my hands.
For a decade, I lived as a lesbian who advanced the cause of gay rights.
The world we see today is the one I helped create.

In 1996, when DOMA was first passed, I grieved with my people. And today, after the Supreme Court has made gay marriage the law of the land, I grieve with my people.

I am also a scholar of the 19th century, a whole-book-history-of-ideas former professor of English (who now only professes from the homeschool table). And like others of my ilk, I know that sexual orientation is an invented category of personhood. Indeed, even from the old feminist perspective that I sported back in the day, I knew that sexual orientation as an identity was a category mistake. the rest


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