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No, No, the Cart Isn't Rolling
03/12/2003

One oft-cited reason for granting science primacy over religion is its ability to predict what will happen in a given set of circumstances. Of course, that confuses the differences in purpose and the validity of coexistence between the two, but that's not the point I'm making, here. No, what brought this bit of dogma to mind was a case in Canada that represents a first glimpse of the world around the corner of the issue of homosexual marriage, and it's a world that some conservatives have been ridiculed for predicting. According to Stanley Kurtz, a lesbian couple is seeking to grant their child's father official parenthood, for a total of three parents.

First, this exposes the falsehood of assertions that gay marriage is not one step toward the complete devolution of marriage into a matter of loose contract, by way of polygamy. In fact, most of the conservative arguments on that aspect of the controversy have mainly argued the point as a matter of logic. The case at hand expands on that by showing the forces at work to dissolve restrictions based on number directly within the arrangement of gay marriage. Consider this from the Jeff Jacoby column that I mentioned recently:

There are three core elements to a legal marriage: It must be a union of (1) two people (2) of the opposite sex (3) who are not related. The Goodridge plaintiffs are asking the SJC to strike No. 2 -- to rule that denying a couple a marriage license because they are both men or both women is to violate their civil rights. ''Because marriage is so centrally about an individual's love and commitment,'' their brief argues, ''it is embraced within the sphere of privacy and self-determination protected by the liberty and due process clauses of the Massachusetts Constitution.''

But if Core Element No. 2 can be struck down for that reason, so can No. 1 and No. 3. If the state has no right to deny a marriage license to would-be spouses of the same sex, on what reasonable grounds could it deny a marriage to would-be spouses from the same family? Or to would-be spouses who happen to number three or four instead of two?

Second, it highlights the fact that progressives are not averse to undermining our structure of government. And with compliant judges, this aspect of the case may prove much more broadly damaging than we anticipate now. As Kurtz puts it:

Some may dismiss this suit as a freak occurrence, with no real chance of success. Yet the judge has already openly sided with the plaintiffs. Family Court Justice David Aston is quoted as saying, "I can't imagine a stronger case for seeking the order you are seeking....The only concern is that I'm governed by legislation and that's the only hurdle you've got to get over.

It's rare that a judge openly admits what has been so obviously going on regarding gay marriage — that he is searching for a way to usurp the role of the legislature, so that he can decide the case according to his personal preferences. If Justice Aston doesn't find a way to legalize group parenthood right now, who can doubt that another judge will do so shortly?

Posted by Justin Katz @ 02:12 PM EST