Roe and Gay Marriage
Behold a runaway judiciary. One that is forcing an unwanted socio-sexual innovation in violation of tradition, religious values, and simple logic on the country at large, with the support of media, academic, and political elites with no evident regard for the consequences.
Gay marriage? Yes – and in detail. But in fact, we’ve seen the same scenario before, within living memory of many AT readers.
Legalized abortion was forced on the country in 1973 by identical means. There was no public debate, no crisis that had to be met, no reason to establish it by legal duress except that the liberal elites felt like it and thought they could get away with it.
The legalization of abortion was carried out with the full cooperation and encouragement of the Burger Supreme Court bench. We shall never know the details concerning this. We know it was the case because legalization was actually argued twice before the court. Attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee had in fact won the original case in Texas against restrictive state abortion laws but carried on to the Supreme Court anyway. Their 1971 effort to plead the case was so disastrous that the justices allowed them a do-over and rescheduled the case for October 1972.
The two decisions – Roe v. Wade and the often overlooked Doe v. Bolton – were handed down on January 22, 1973. Both were written by Harry Blackmun, a freshman justice of little experience or legal knowledge. A pure example of the dangers of cronyism, Blackmun was on the Supreme Court bench solely because he was a grade-school pal of Chief Justice Warren Burger. (The two were known as the “Minnesota Twins.”) Though a stately figure of high accomplishment, Burger suffered from severe personality disorders, including a dramatic sense of inferiority, and desperately wanted a friend on the bench. This was the role that Blackmun was to fill. In exchange, as justice he rose much higher than he’d ever expected, having limited himself to handling legal chores for a medical trade association.
Most of the other justices were skeptical of Blackmun’s ability to deal with the touchy and complex abortion decision, but Burger gave it to him anyway. Blackmun may not have known much about legal theory, but he knew he liked doctors, and he wrote the decisions to cover them as much as possible.
Roe contains next to nothing of legal reasoning, merely referring to a few earlier cases and declaring out of thin air a “right” to abortion. At the same time, it set limits on this “right,” declaring that it was not unlimited and that the state could restrict it due to “compelling interests.”
Blackmun then blew this all to hell and gone in his second decision that day, Doe v. Bolton. Doe created the “health exception,” otherwise undefined or limited, which enabled any abortion to be carried out under any circumstances at any time. Blackmun is probably the only justice who ever torpedoed his own previous decision on the same day. Those doubting his ability were fully vindicated. Many complaints about Roe’s jurisprudence actually should be aimed at Doe.
No public reaction was expected. Burger foresaw no “sweeping consequences,” and Blackmun himself thought he’d done an excellent job that might need only a few cases argued on the state level to true things up.
Of course, Roe and Doe unleashed absolute chaos. Abortion, at a low simmer for the previous decade, exploded into one of the major social controversies of the late 20th century. The abortion industry was targeted en masse with demonstrations and picketing of abortion “clinics” amounting at times to near-riots. Tens of thousands of Americans devoted their lives to challenging this gross insult to human decency. At first limited to believing Catholics, the pro-life movement became one of the great social movements of the modern Church, involving much of the hierarchy and even drawing the attention of Popes. Later, evangelical Christians became involved in large numbers. In turn, American elites attempted to portray opposition as a backwoods obsession, with support for abortion as an emblem of sophistication and modernity. Constant media pressure and a misbegotten attempt by feminists to turn the procedure into something resembling a sacrament of modern womanhood merely fueled the flames. The movement began to attract fanatics and unstable personalities, with assassinations and bombings as the inevitable sequel. The '90s saw public sympathy fade, accompanied by the FACE act, which curtailed 1st Amendment rights as regarded abortion clinics.
Then the abortion industry attempted to force the issue of partial-birth abortion, effectively a form of infanticide in which viable infants were murdered as they emerged from the birth canal. This represented a step too far for the American public, which recoiled in revulsion, an impulse reinforced by revelations that the abortion industry was largely staffed by degenerates such as Kermit Gosnell. The pro-life movement had also taken stock and come up with a superb tactic: the establishment of crisis pregnancy centers designed to provide an alternative for frightened and desperate women.
All these had their effect: abortion peaked at 1.6 million in 1990, failing to 1.29 million in 2003 and 765,651 in 2010, less than half the peak total. If abortion is the success that the feminists, academia, media, and so on insist it is, then how do we define failure?
Legalized abortion was a product of civil arrogance on a national scale. Would-be Solomons in black robes wreaked havoc on the status quo in favor of the attitudes of a single social class. Although it took time, they were fairly rebuked. (For their part, the two justices most responsible held up no better than their policy: Blackmun was never again allowed to author an important decision and soon fell out with Burger. In the end, neither could bring himself to say as much as “good morning” to the other.)
But have they learned anything?
The current campaign in support of gay marriage suggests not. The “marriage equality” campaign follows the abortion blueprint in detail – exactly as if it had been a success to be emulated. We have the media tsunami, the judicial old-boys network making secret arrangements, an elite attack on tradition and values, the middle and working classes utterly ignored.
Supporters would argue that it could not be more different than the abortion debate – there’s no question of human life involved, simply an extension of “rights” to a previously cheated minority. We’re inundated with shots of lovely young women and trim handsome men, all members in good standing of the American Society of Peace, Understanding, Motherhood, and Ice Cream, swearing their vows amid rainbows and butterflies. Obviously, only psychopaths, Neanderthals, religious fanatics, and misfits could be against such a procedure.
But of course that’s not it at all. The campaign for gay marriage targets the exact same things that abortion did: tradition, middle-class values, the family. Abortion was part of a large-scale effort by the “Dead Souls” – the upper-class elites – to destroy lower-class attitudes, traditions, and beliefs, above all involving religion and the family, that were thought to be holding back progressive social evolution. The same motive can be seen here.
Marriage has no actual place in homosexual culture. It never has. If marriage were of such overwhelming importance to homosexuals, they would have, at some point in the last several thousand years of civilization, created some institution of their own to reflect it within their ranks. There is no sign in the historical record that this has ever happened. (The reason is that the basic impulse behind same-sex attraction is profoundly different from the attraction between the sexes. But we won’t go into those complexities here.)
Andrew Sullivan and others have reflected this reality by declaring that gay marriage would be “different” from traditional marriage, involving open relationships, shifting liaisons, and the like. In other words, reflecting gay life as it is actually lived, and for all practical purposes not marriage at all. That is, something that could have been established generations ago if gays really wanted it.
So if this campaign is not about marriage per se, what is it about? To put it bluntly, it’s about vengeance. The modern view of civil rights does not involve justice, reconciliation, or tolerance. It involves revenge. No longer is it enough to correct injustices, to see to reparations, to guarantee that no backsliding with regard to minority rights occurs. Since the 1960s, it has been necessary to punish the majority for various historical sins – even if they had no actual involvement. This began with black civil rights, as the movement, at one time a campaign of high moral content, went off the rails with the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. In short order we got forced bussing, affirmative action, and political correctness, each of which was intended less to assist blacks than to punish, harass, and annoy whites. The same has followed with the feminists, Hispanics, and now gays.
Behind all those athletic young men and winsome girls stand the six-foot-tall drag queens and three-hundred-pound lesbians in tuxes who are the neglected image of “gay marriage.” The intention is to destroy marriage itself by turning it into a joke, a clown show. This is how gays seek their revenge: by striking at the key heterosexual ritual, one that for most women marks a peak experience in their lives and for men marks the moment of leaving behind carefree youth for responsible manhood. Marriage is the basis of the family, and more than that, a state that marks the differences between the middle class and on one side the “undeserving poor” who don’t care enough to marry, and the butterflies of the wealthy elite, to whom, as the old country western song put it, “love’s a passing fling.”
But there’s more to it. Marriage is also one of Burke’s “little platoons,” the social institutions that guarantee that the individual will not be forced to stand alone against the vicissitudes of life, which include the powers of the monster state. Marriage is most basic of these, since it creates the family, “where they have to take you when you’ve got nowhere else to go.” A man with his family in his corner is a contender. Which is why the totalitarian states of the 20th century put so much effort into undermining family autonomy. Pavlik Morozov, the Ukrainian youth who betrayed his parents to Stalin’s secret police, was made a state hero for a reason.
The same reason animates our country’s elites vis-à-vis gay marriage. If they can destroy the family, what is left will be a sea of atomized individuals, easily manipulated and exploited, a nation of Julias with nowhere to turn but to the Obamas, Pelosis, and Ryans. Many of the once tightly bound urban black communities are today in precisely this state. Gay marriage is a huge step in the same direction for the rest of us.
All this has eluded most Americans up to this point. Many have bought into the Hallmark Card take on “marriage equality” because they have heard nothing else. As with any social debate in the 21st century, the entire process occurs within a progressive frame of reference, with no meaningful debate and with the so-called opposition numbly shrugging its shoulders.
But as with all forms of cheating, the response comes afterward, when the actual victims begin to feel their loss.
As in case of abortion, it will begin with religious believers, and it will come from the rank and file – the opposition against abortion did not originally rise from the Church hierarchy, too many of whom were willing to play the game, but from parish priests and laymen – many of them angry Catholic women. The same process will occur today.
As Doug Mainwaring has pointed out, gay activists have for the past quarter-century followed a Fabian strategy (described in After the Ball, the gay’s Rules for Radicals) designed to persuade Americans that homosexuals were in fact no different, were rather dull, and certainly presented no threat. “Marriage equality” represents a dramatic break with this strategy – a direct assault on American verities, an attempt at a coup de main that will upend society and leave it open to further exploitation.
The abortion advocates thought the same thing back in 1973. This war has only begun.