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Monday, March 18, 2013

Writing Our Own Moral Code

Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman, who, for the last several years has frequently been in the conversation for national office, recently reversed himself and declared his support for same-sex marriage. According to Portman himself, two years ago, his son Will announced that he was gay. Not wanting to stand in the way of his son’s opportunity “to pursue happiness and fulfillment,” is, evidently, what led to Portman’s change of heart when it comes to the definition of marriage.

Writing for New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait (a supporter of same-sex marriage) describes Portman’s decision as a “moral failure, one of which he appears unaware.” According to Chait, this “moral failure” is due to the fact that Portman “opposed gay marriage until he realized that opposition to gay marriage stands in the way of his own son’s happiness.”

Chait goes on, “Portman ought to be able to recognize that, even if he changed his mind on gay marriage owing to personal experience, the logic stands irrespective of it: Support for gay marriage would be right even if he didn’t have a gay son. There’s little sign that any such reasoning has crossed his mind.”

Notice that? Chait is appealing to a moral standard (one of which he appears unaware). Chait decries Portman’s “moral failure” while appealing to logic, reason, and what is “right.” What makes Portman’s seemingly self-serving conversion a “moral failure”?

After all, isn’t looking out for one’s children noble behavior? Why must Portman think of others (or, as Chait puts it, “consider issues from a societal perspective”) to be considered moral, himself? What standard is Chait using?

Of course, Chait is appealing to Natural Law. He has rightly recognized Portman’s apparent hypocrisy. However, as I noted in my last column, by appealing to what is “right” in one situation, but ignoring it in another, he is sawing off the limb upon which he is sitting. For millennia, guided by Natural Law, civilizations the world over have deemed homosexual behavior as immoral.

No less than the U.S. Supreme has said so. As recently as 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court declared, “Proscriptions against [homosexual] conduct have ancient roots. Sodomy was a criminal offense at common law and was forbidden by the laws of the original 13 States when they ratified the Bill of Rights. . . . In fact, until 1961, all 50 States outlawed sodomy, and today, 24 States and the District of Columbia continue to provide criminal penalties for sodomy performed in private and between consenting adults. Against this background, to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition,’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty’ is, at best, facetious [silly].”

Of course, the Court reversed itself in Lawrence vs. Texas in 2003, declaring that, “The petitioners [Lawrence and Garner] 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.”

In his dissent, Justice Scalia correctly concluded that, “Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct.... [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.”

Unsurprisingly, after gaining the legal justification for homosexual sex, the next moral domino in the sights of the homosexual agenda has been marriage. On November 18, 2003, just four-and-a-half months after the Lawrence decision, the Judicial Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled in favor of legalized same-sex marriage. Thus Massachusetts became the first state in the U.S. to grant marital rights to same-sex couples.

The Chief Justice of the Massachusetts court, Margaret Marshal, referenced Lawrence in the ruling: “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.”

But “mandating our own moral code” is exactly what supporters of the homosexual agenda seek to do. Again, what existing moral code are they using to justify homosexual behavior? They rarely, if ever, appeal to one. The argument is simply, there are some people who want (it makes them “happy”) to engage in homosexuality, thus “liberty of all” dictates that it should be allowed.

The majority in Lawrence also concluded that, “[Liberty] gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.” Of course, no such conclusions have been reached when it comes to prostitution, or polygamy, or incest, or bestiality. In other words, liberals have decided that homosexuality deserves special privilege when it comes to the law and “private sexual conduct.”

And thus we see the real goal of the “so-called homosexual agenda:” the legal legitimization of homosexuality across all of America. After all, if it makes liberals “happy” then it shouldn’t be illegal. And if it’s not illegal, well then, it must be moral.

(See this column on American Thinker.)

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.

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