The US Supreme Court is currently considering arguments for and against gay marriage. In the prognosticating about what was going to happen, and given John Roberts' willingness to cave at the last minute on Obamacare, I think Pax Dickinson's view is probably a fair bet:
"My guess is that SCOTUS will arbitrarily legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Cthulhu only swims left."The latter part is a rather reliable prediction, especially in the long run, but it's a somewhat noisy predictor for any particular Supreme Court decision. Cthulhu swam right, at least temporarily, on the question of the Second Amendment. Maybe gay marriage will break the same way, although I wouldn't bet on it.
That said though, there's someone who called all this much earlier, saying that the Supreme Court was going to impose gay marriage on the country. They made this prediction way back in 2003, in fact.
See if you can guess who it was (answer below the fold).
It was, of course, Antonin Scalia. Back in 2003, the Supreme Court decided the case of Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down Texas' anti-sodomy law as a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Following my rule even back then, the case seemed interesting, so I read the damn decision.
The majority opinion wrote the following:
The present case does not involve minors. It does not involve persons who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused. It does not involve public conduct or prostitution. It does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter. The case does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent from each other, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives. The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government. “It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.” Casey,supra, at 847. The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.Justice Scalia delivered a thoroughly excellent dissent, worth reading in full. Most prophetically, however, he concluded with the following remarks :
One of the benefits of leaving regulation of this matter to the people rather than to the courts is that the people, unlike judges, need not carry things to their logical conclusion. The people may feel that their disapprobation of homosexual conduct is strong enough to disallow homosexual marriage, but not strong enough to criminalize private homosexual acts–and may legislate accordingly. The Court today pretends that it possesses a similar freedom of action, so that that we need not fear judicial imposition of homosexual marriage, as has recently occurred in Canada (in a decision that the Canadian Government has chosen not to appeal). See Halpern v. Toronto, 2003 WL 34950 (Ontario Ct. App.); Cohen, Dozens in Canada Follow Gay Couple’s Lead, Washington Post, June 12, 2003, p. A25. At the end of its opinion–after having laid waste the foundations of our rational-basis jurisprudence–the Court says that the present case “does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.” Ante, at 17. Do not believe it. More illuminating than this bald, unreasoned disclaimer is the progression of thought displayed by an earlier passage in the Court’s opinion, which notes the constitutional protections afforded to “personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education,” and then declares that “[p]ersons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.” Ante, at 13 (emphasis added). Today’s opinion dismantles the structure of constitutional law that has permitted a distinction to be made between heterosexual and homosexual unions, insofar as formal recognition in marriage is concerned. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct, ante, at 18; and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), “[w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,” ante, at 6; what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution,” ibid.? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case “does not involve” the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court. Many will hope that, as the Court comfortingly assures us, this is so.
The matters appropriate for this Court’s resolution are only three: Texas’s prohibition of sodomy neither infringes a “fundamental right” (which the Court does not dispute), nor is unsupported by a rational relation to what the Constitution considers a legitimate state interest, nor denies the equal protection of the laws. I dissent.We'll see if the great Justice Scalia's prediction proves correct. I suspect it will be.
And for the incessant Clarence Thomas haters, his opinion, although short, summarises the entire case extremely well, and his opinion very close to my own views:
I join Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion. I write separately to note that the law before the Court today “is … uncommonly silly.”Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 527 (1965) (Stewart, J., dissenting). If I were a member of the Texas Legislature, I would vote to repeal it. Punishing someone for expressing his sexual preference through noncommercial consensual conduct with another adult does not appear to be a worthy way to expend valuable law enforcement resources.
Notwithstanding this, I recognize that as a member of this Court I am not empowered to help petitioners and others similarly situated. My duty, rather, is to “decide cases ‘agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the United States.’ ” Id., at 530. And, just like Justice Stewart, I “can find [neither in the Bill of Rights nor any other part of the Constitution a] general right of privacy,”ibid., or as the Court terms it today, the “liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions,” ante, at 1.Just so.