Cultural Revolutions

Delayed Decision

Homosexual couples in the Bay State are awaiting the unexpectedly delayed decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court as to whether they have a constitutional right to be married.  This question may not have occurred to the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, but, as this issue goes to press, it is anybody’s guess how the court will rule.  In his dissent in the U.S. Supreme Court’s remarkable June decision in Lawrence v.Texas (which held that no state could impose criminal penalties for consensual homosexual sodomy), Justice Antonin Scalia suggested that there is now no permissible bar to homosexual marriage, and perhaps he is right.  Lawrence v.Texas more or less declared that no state could make any legal discriminations based on the morality of the majority and could certainly be read to hold that homosexual marriage as well as polygamy, bestiality, and even incest—if consensual—may no longer be prohibited.  How this was accomplished by the Supreme Court will be the stuff of law-review articles for decades, but a fair reading of the majority’s opinion (as Justice Scalia hinted in his dissent) leads to the conclusion that six justices were simply expressing their personal preferences and that constitutional law really had little to do with it.  The Court, explained Scalia, had simply chosen sides in the ongoing culture war and had, as he put it, accepted...

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