GAY MARRIAGE, REDUX
Newsweek has a cover story entitled, “The War Over Gay Marriage” which reflects on the potential impact of the Supreme Court’s far-reaching opinion in the Texas sodomy case.
Justice KennedyÃ¢€™s ruling in the Lawrence case Ã¢€œmay be one of the two most important opinions of the last 100 years,Ã¢€ says David Garrow, legal scholar at Emory University and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of Martin Luther King Jr. Ã¢€œItÃ¢€™s the most libertarian majority opinion ever issued by the Supreme Court. ItÃ¢€™s arguably bigger than Roe v. Wade,Ã¢€ said Garrow, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision giving women a right to abortion. At least in symbolic terms, Garrow put the decision on a par with Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 ruling declaring that separate was not equal in the nationÃ¢€™s public schools.
The difference, of course, being that Brown was at least consistent with the plain meaning of the 14th Amendment.
While noting that Justice Scalia and many Christian conservatives are furious about the ruling, the authors think their fears overstated:
While gays can now claim some constitutional protectionÃ¢€”their new right to privacy under the Lawrence decisionÃ¢€”the federal government and the states can override those rights if they have a good enough reason, a Ã¢€œlegitimate state interest.Ã¢€
Granting that this Court has shown no tendency towards consistency, it would be hard to come up with a rational basis for denying homosexual marriage that was any more compelling than denying homosexual sodomy.