I have this odd, indirect connection to the events of the day that led me to a belief in the outcome. It was inevitable actually. The Supreme Court is made up of three blocs. The loyally liberal bloc. The loyally conservative blog. And the swing bloc. The swing bloc is generally made up of Justice Anthony Kennedy. But this isn’t news to anybody who follows the Supreme Court and its machinations.
Many moons ago when I was a young lad, I graduated from college without any kind of marketable skill or connections that might land me a meaningful job. Well, backtrack a bit, with a college degree in hand, my one marketable skill was that I could type faster than most. So, I got a job at McGeorge School of Law as a word processor/receptionist. A year later, I was an executive assistant. A year later, I was a student at McGeorge. During those years, there was a professor who taught constitutional law to the evening students. His name was Anthony Kennedy. He taught that class for years. And he clearly had a close, respectful relationship with the school’s dean, Gordon Schaber, who just so happened to be gay — and in the traditions of the time, not openly so. In various reports, I have seen Schaber referred to as Kennedy’s mentor. I don’t know if that’s exactly right, but what was clear is that they had a mutually supportive, personal, and close relationship. Clearly, even back in the late 1980’s when many homosexuals lived in the closet and most “respectable” individuals didn’t “consort” with the likes of them. And … Kennedy is a Catholic.
And this was way back then.
Think about that. A conservative, Republican, Catholic with ambitions that were quiet, but nonetheless there, with a friend, mentor, and supporter who was gay.
And this is why I never had any doubt that Justice Kennedy would rule in favor of this most fundamental right. A right that the Supreme Court has recognized for decades. A fundamental right contained within the Constitution — although not expressly stated, but contained nonetheless in its protections of freedom, dignity, and human rights — that marriage is fundamental. It is that right that Justice Kennedy protected today. Not the right of same sex marriage, but the right of marriage between two adults who wish to love each other and commit to each other.
What’s most depressing about all of this in the celebration of the outcome, is the hypocritical rage expressed by the dissenting Justices. They cry against the idea that the Supreme Court is charged with enforcing the Constitution, of protecting the rights of all instead of the few, because they do so in an area they object to — while doing the exact same thing when it’s an area or issue they believe in. (Hello, Citizen’s United and Bush v. Gore.)
But this is what we have degenerated to these days … a world in which there is no civil discourse left. No attempt to stay true to principles of behavior and of action. It goes like this … when it comes to what we believe, all that matters is the outcome. When it comes to what others believe, all that matters is that you must follow the norms and rules we are unwilling to follow ourselves. We are at a loggerheads where rather than a civil discourse we just call each other names and point fingers. The dissent in the same sex marriage decision is a perfect example of this.
So, I leave you with this. The quote from MLK that is on my blog: I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
And this … the final paragraph in Justice Kennedy’s decision:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice,
and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of
the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It
would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
The question is … do you choose love? Or do you choose to continue to participate in the seemingly endless decline into disdain and hate and rage?