Governor Corbett’s Foolish Calculation

In late May, Governor Tom Corbett of my home state of Pennsylvania decided to throw in the towel on same-sex “marriage” and not appeal a federal district judge’s decision to strike down the state’s law that permitted marriage licenses to be issued only to male-female couples.

While Corbett is to be commended for legally defending the statute in the first place after state attorney general Kathleen Kane refused to carry out her duty to do so, he said he would just accept the court’s decision and end Pennsylvania’s hold-out status as the only northeastern state not allowing same-sex “marriage.” Corbett claimed that an appeal couldn’t be successful. That was an odd conclusion, since various other states have undertaken appeals of similar lower federal court decisions around the country. There is also no certainty that the Supreme Court ultimately is going to enshrine same-sex “marriage” as a constitutional right under the equal protection clause. Its decisions last year were narrow: invalidating a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that forbade granting federal benefits for same-sex couples living in states that had legalized same-sex “marriage,” and upholding a lower court’s striking of California’s Proposition 8 on the procedural ground that only the appropriate public officials—who also refused their duty to do so in that case—had the standing to appeal.

Indeed, as a former state attorney general himself Corbett surely knew the facts about judicial process that at one time routinely were taught to law students: the judge’s decision carries no weight outside of his jurisdiction, which is the Middle District of Pennsylvania. It did not have the effect of legalizing same-sex “marriage” for the whole state—unless, at least, officials in the state wanted to apply it that way.

Media in the state perhaps got more to the core reason for Corbett’s decision: politics. His public approval rating has been low. He is up for re-election this year and is trailing his Democratic opponent. One media report said that he has recently been trying “to move to the political center”—which, of course, means in the direction of the secular left—“on several hot-button issues.” Another interpreted his decision not to pursue an appeal as an attempt to win over Democratic voters.

From a purely political standpoint, Corbett’s decision seems foolish and counterproductive. Left-leaning Democrats aren’t likely to flock to Corbett when they can have the “real thing” in November. The Republican party has long had the tendency to allow itself to be defined by the Democrats. The Republicans try to “moderate”—move toward the positions staked out by the Democrats and leftist opinion-makers generally—in the belief that it’s necessary to win elections. This is despite the fact that, since 1940, the track record of “moderate” Republican presidential candidates has mostly not been good. Even in Pennsylvania in the last few decades many of the most successful Republicans for the major statewide offices have been on the “conservative” side, such as Rick Santorum, Pat Toomey, and Corbett himself. The Republicans who were less successful or were ushered off the scene were the ones who tilted left, such as William Scranton III, Barbara Hafer, and Arlen Specter. Republicans in general have often become known for downplaying long-term concerns and even socio-political philosophy for short-term political gain, and often wind up even losing out in the short-term. Perhaps all that Corbett will insure is an uptick in the number of stay-at-home Republican voters in November.

Actions such as those of Corbett are troubling on a deeper, more profound level. He is apparently one of the typical politicians of today who can’t fathom the civilizational crisis that confronts us, or are just caught up in the day-to-day routine tasks of governing—“maintaining,” if you will—and can’t see past them, or simply are governed by the imperatives of politics. For sure, one has to be concerned about these imperatives because after all one has to be at the levers of power in the first place to be able to accomplish anything. Still, if that becomes too much of a focus then power itself easily becomes the end, and the true ends of politics—and of human society and life itself—are lost sight of.

Corbett stated that as governor he had the duty to follow the laws as interpreted by the courts. Such a position comes dangerously close to saying that the Constitution—since it is that, our fundamental law, which is really in question here—equals what the courts say it is. That is just a step away from arbitrary government. It also makes the will of the courts take precedence over that of the people, as expressed through their representatives. Didn’t Hamilton in Federalist 78 say that the fundamental will of the people, as ensconced in the Constitution, was what the courts were charged with defending from political encroachment? On the contrary, the judge here discarded the immediate expression of the people’s will in the marriage laws of the state without any justification from their fundamental will embodied in the Constitution (if anyone seriously thinks that the Constitution was meant to embody a right to same-sex “marriage” he is foolish).

If one is going to speak of duties, both Corbett and Attorney General Kane ignored their fundamental duty of upholding a law based on the will of the people who elected them. This is essentially the same thing that happened with Proposition 8 (although it was even more pronounced in the Prop 8 case, since it involved a referendum). While one can envision a situation where a law—passed by a legislature or even a referendum—would so clearly violate the Constitution that high public officials would actually be justified in refusing to defend it, that certainly wasn’t the case here. That would be a truly exceptional, perhaps even rare, situation.

One wonders how far Governor Corbett’s sense of his duty to follow the courts would go. If the court had ordered racial segregation in the state, would he have said the same thing? Or is such a duty dictated by the politics of the moment?

Some have said that Corbett was particularly stung by the reaction he received last year when he said same-sex “marriage” was the equivalent of a brother and sister marrying each other. While the two situations are obviously not exactly the same, they are similar. Instead of beating a retreat, he could have done the cause of true marriage a service by explaining why they are similar and what really is wrong with the notion of same-sex “marriage,” and in fact why it isn’t marriage at all. He could also have explained the inevitable corrosive moral and practical effects that official endorsement of same-sex “marriage” will have on true marriage, the family, children, and the culture. That would have been in the true spirit of the long-lost educative function of politics that so desperately needs to be recovered in our day. The problem is that that requires not just proper understanding, but also courage. However, it appears that Corbett, like most of today’s politicians, is “courage-challenged.” Indeed, the quality most desperately needed by people in all walks of life to counter the homosexualist juggernaut is courage.

Not much was even asked of Corbett here. It was just a question of filing an appeal and preparing an appellate case. If he did not think his legal staff adequate, any number of legal advocacy organizations would have been prepared to help him. It wasn’t like he had to face down the federal judge and actually resist his mandate and set up a constitutional confrontation; that is something that a president and not a governor must bring himself to do when the federal courts act unconstitutionally. Again, politics—not just electoral calculation, but also “getting along” in the current political environment—seems to have trumped duty, sound judgment, the people’s will, and concern for public morality and the common good. Insufficient attention to the last point is particularly troubling for the Catholic Corbett.

He publicly said that he upholds the Church’s teaching about marriage, but made it clear that he thought he had to separate that from his public actions. In a reversal, he even said that he was going to keep his personal feelings about same-sex “marriage” to himself. Besides ignoring the fact that the homosexualists and their allies have no such reluctance, Corbett betrays the century-old American confusion between strictly religious or sectarian beliefs and the natural law. It is also the Republican version of the endemic Democratic refrain, seen for so long on abortion, of “I’m personally opposed, but….” The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has made clear, however, that such a stance is no more acceptable on the question of legal recognition of homosexual unions—which seems to extend to not just same-sex “marriage” but also the now-discarded notion of civil unions—than on abortion. Over a decade ago, the Congregation said that a Catholic politician is obliged to clearly express opposition to efforts at legal recognition and vote against them. If such laws are already in force, he must oppose them “in the ways that are possible for him” and “attempt to obtain at least a partial repeal of an unjust law” when complete repeal is not possible. It seems clear that appealing a judicial decision imposing such an errant public policy is well within the obligations of a Catholic politician who is in the position to do it.

In an era when one finds Catholic politicians actually leading the charge for abortion rights, the homosexualist policy agenda and the rest of it, Governor Corbett’s decision can hardly be considered one of the most grievous offenses. Most of what the Congregation addresses, however, are obligations of Catholic public officials to stand up to do something to stop such immoral policies when they can. History is fraught with examples of how “sins of omission,” even small ones, have grave consequences.

(Photo credit: AP / Matt Rourke)

Stephen M. Krason


Stephen M. Krason's "Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic" column appears monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) in Crisis Magazine. He is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. He holds a J.D. and Ph.D. (political science) and an M.A. in theology/religious education and is admitted to a number of law bars, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the author, most recently, of The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and editor of three volumes: Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013) and The Crisis of Religious Liberty (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014); and most recently, Challenging the Secular Culture: A Call to Christians (Franciscan University Press). His latest book is Catholicism and American Political Ideologies (Hamilton Books). He is also the author of a new novel, American Cincinnatus. The views expressed here are, of course, his own.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Perhaps, like any litigant contemplating an appeal, he should have taken (and published) the opinion of leading counsel on the prospects of its success, rather than rely on his own judgment, however well-informed.

  • Scott W.

    Corbett doesn’t realize, like many Catholics, that this is a zero-sum game. As my friend Lydia McGrew put it, they think if enough concessions are made to the homosex movement, they will leave us alone to pursue our own beliefs unmolested. But that is not how it works because they actively pursue us onto our very own turf so to speak and demand more concessions. The mere existence of Chastity and traditional family and marriage is sign of contradiction, so they simply cannot coexist with “alternative” arrangements. Believe in true Chastity is already being relegated to “between your ears alone.” Soon, not even silence will protect you.

  • AcceptingReality

    Simply speaking, Governor Corbett failed to demonstrate the courage of his (alleged) convictions. Which begs the question, are they really convictions at all.

    • John O’Neill

      Maybe Governor Corbett has realized that which we should all be aware of and that is the fact that the culture war is over and we lost. We lost; the Americans among whom we live have chosen the homosexual culture over traditional marriage and it is to be forced upon everyone. At this point a defeated army either fights a last stand or tries to go underground and survive. We must pretend to be one of them and pretend to salute their red white and blue flag but we must be determined to strike as soon as they slip and they will. The supposed libertine French came out in the thousands in Paris after their communist government rammed homosexual marriage down their collective throats; riots ensued and government police forces had to beat the demonstrators to the ground. In America there was a big yawn and roll over boys atmosphere. The American bishops in their usual cowardice said nothing and pretend that they are still the good old boys of the urban Irish democrat clan. Their motto has always been let us go along to get along

      • hombre111

        ??? The homosexual culture is to be forced on everyone? Oh, please. It is true that you lost the culture war. Now homosexuals can claim the rights you take for granted. That is all they want. Go your heterosexual way and be at peace.

  • publiusnj

    What Corbett did is essentially what Chris Christie did back in 2013 when he was running for re-election. He made a pretense about standing up for Traditional Marriage but then declined to pursue an appeal when he lost. As in: “oh well, we tried.”

    The problem is that the Supreme Court’s 2013 Decision on the CA Prop. 8 Gay Marriage Referendum Result–with Antonin Scalia of all people concurring–has made it possible for state officials to act like politicians and not pursue defenses of their own state laws. The Supreme Court chose to read the “standing” principle as barring anyone else from standing in the place of a “reluctant governor.” IOW, even if Gay Marriage has not been approved in a state, the Gay Activists can challenge it and it is then up to the state officials to fight vigorously or if they choose, just fold on the issue. If they fight vigorously, the next level of court can rule against them a second time or for them but if they fold, no one can gainsay their refusal to uphold the Law. Except the People, but they’ve been there and done that before with 32 referenda that struck down Gay Marriage. Yet the politicians in the courts and state houses have just ignored that clear wave of opposition. Democracy is a very sometime thing in 21st Century America.

    • DE-173

      Corbett, Christie: CINOS.

      • There was a time when conservatism had nothing to do with religious belief. Goldwater tried to warn us and his voice fell on deaf ears.

        There are some VERY conservative people who fully support marriage equality.

        • DE-173

          Not you again.

          Conservative people don’t mess with nature. Please tell me how Dick Cheney is for pseudonogamy, because it’s a principled stance, not because his daughter is a lesbian.

          • Were Goldwater alive he would be a champion for gay rights and green energy (he was a conservationist). Ted Olson is extremely conservative. So is the Cato Institute. There is a conservative argument for marriage equality.

            True conservatives respect the Establishment Clause.

            • DE-173

              I don’t worship Goldwater.

              Ted Olsen is NOT a conservative.

              Cato is libertarian.

              I wonder if Cato will contest the Colorado Human Rights Commission’s edict to the confectioner that he WILL BAKE A CAKE.

              • Thomas

                Attaboy! Nice response.

                Some folks can be so cunning.

            • Thomas

              Which Establishment Clause are you referring to?

              The one intended by the Founders? Or the new Establishment Clause that presumes the government must, at all cost, be anti-religion?

            • asmondius

              Were homosexuals a natural occurrence equal to heterosexuals, they would be able to create life as couples.

            • Interested

              They are not conservatives. If they were they would not support unnatural acts and unions.

        • Interested

          They must be shallow thinkers.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “the next level of court can rule against them a second time or for them”

      But are these two equally likely outcomes? Is litigation merely a toss of the coin, or are some results predictable?

      At what point does prudence suggest further appeals are a waste of time and public money?

      • DE-173

        At what point does prudence suggest further appeals are a waste of time and public money?

        Are you seriously proposing that this is the issue where thrift is a consideration?

      • publiusnj

        It’s not about constitutional principles but about politics most of the time in these United States. In the DOMA Case, the Supreme Court ruled marriage was a state issue, not a federal issue; so that suggests there is a strong case to be made for state laws that limit marriage (as they have for centuries) to one man and one woman. In the companion CA Prop 8 Case, though, a different USSC majority gave state officials an easy out by ruling that a state official can walk away from defense of the state law without fear that someone will stand in his place and defend the law in the official’s place. So, a politician facing a reelection can walk away from defense of the marriage case and point to what has happened in other cases, none of which involve a situation where the state official has defended the traditional position all the way to the Supreme Court. Given the superior political machine that is supporting Gay Marriage, most politicians have opted for the easy way out. If that sounds cynical, I plead guilty.

    • slainte

      Your claim regarding CA Prop 8 is supported by media reports published in September 2010:
      “… California’s highest court on Wednesday refused to order Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state’s attorney general to appeal a federal ruling that overturned the state’s gay marriage ban.
      The state Supreme Court denied a conservative legal group’s request to force the state officials to defend the voter-approved ban. “Earlier Wednesday, lawyers for Attorney General Jerry Brown and Schwarzenegger filed letters with the court maintaining state officers have authority to choose which laws they challenge or defend in court.”
      “The governor, like any litigant, has complete discretion over his own litigation strategy, including whether or not to appeal an order,” counsel Andrew Stroud wrote for Schwarzenegger. “Here, the governor exercised his discretion and decided not to file an appeal.”…

      • publiusnj

        There is no question that Schwarzenegger took a dive and that the USSC found that totally acceptable and unobjectionable. Nobody on the Supreme Court said: “how can we have a government of, by and for the people when state officials choose not to recognize the force of a law passed by a referendum of, by and for the people?”. Rather, the USSC effectively said: “if the state officials don’t defend the law arising from the referendum, no one else can, not even the people who proposed the referendum and got it on the ballot. Once they get the law passed they are just another bunch of citizens and if the state officials choose to ignore the referendum’s results, too bad.” That is American Justice, 2014.

        • slainte

          At least one pro life group in Washington is in the process of introducing legislation to grant Standing to persons and/or groups other than, or in addition to, state governors and Attorneys General to enforce state laws in the Courts.
          The remedy is somewhat reactionary, rather than offensive; but I suppose something is better than nothing… albeit a day late and a dollar short.

          • DE-173

            Define “reactionary” as you are using it in this context, please.

            • Slainte

              New laws expanding legal standing will not reverse what occurred in California regarding Prop 8. They constitute a reaction to what has already happened.
              The citizens of the States have been politically out maneuvered by their elected politicians who, by refusing to defend the will of the people, handed a procedural victory to those in favor of same sex marriage. The procedural victory (lack of standing ) also permitted the US Supreme Court to avoid ruling on the substantive issues raised by Proposition 8. Some very tidy and sophisticated strategy at work here. Quite scary actually.

              • DE-173

                Thanks. Agreed.

                The real question is where is the money coming from.

                • slainte

                  Leverage is multi-faceted…money is just one form. What do those with skeletons in their closet fear?

  • Josefa

    The only explanation Corbett has for not appealing is that he could really care less about it and homosexual marriage is not political baggage that he wants to pull around. Something like 16 or 17 Governor’s in his position ( activist Judges overturning state traditional marriage laws) have appealed the judge’s decision in their state and put a stay on the decision, until it eventually gets to the SCOTUS. Arnold Schwartzenegger was the only other Governor( at that time) that didn’t appeal the activist Judge’s ruling.

    Beside’s turning him into the ” Mario Cuomo” of homosexual marriage- “I’m personally opposed , but…” ( translation: I won’t stop you from killing unborn babies, or “marrying” the un – marriable ) this is a losing position for Corbett, for his election and especially for his soul. In social issues, at this point there is not much difference between the two candidates.( Democrat BillionaireTom Wolf) As the author said, why would a true authoritarian progressive vote for Corbett even if he instituted state policy for male workers to “Wear a dress Fridays”?

    The only ones in an even worse situation than Corbett are the Pennsyvania Bishops, who think writing a few letters (and possibly some internal maneuverings that are not visible to the faithful- I’ll try and give them that) is enough.. To a lay Catholic the Bishop’s inactivity shows acquiescence and approval -”Oh, well, it seems to be the way things are going..”.
    Just like in NYS, the Bishops do not protest in a believable manner, and one could come to the conclusion that the Bishops want homosexual marriage instituted. Barring some type of immediate intervention , that’s how it looks to me.

  • Josefa

    There is only until June 19th to appeal Judge John E Jones’ decision. After that, homosexual marriage will be enshrined in state law. in the meantime the Pennsylvania Diocese(s) appears to be steering the faithful towards the “March for Marriage” in Washington DC, which is also on June 19th, (which is a good thing), but are not informing or organizing anything to encourage an appeal in PA before that critical date.
    It almost seems like a distraction for the faithful of Pennsylvania at this point.

    • DE-173

      “In the meantime the Pennsylvania Diocese(s) appears to be steering the faithful towards the “March for Marriage” in Washington DC”

      Haven’t heard a word of it.

      • Josefa

        Emails from our Diocese…

  • Mike Smith

    “Some have said that Corbett was particularly stung by the reaction he received last year when he said same-sex “marriage” was the equivalent of a brother and sister marrying each other. While the two situations are obviously not exactly the same, they are similar. Instead of beating a retreat, he could have done the cause of true marriage a service by explaining why they are similar and what really is wrong with the notion of same-sex “marriage,” and in fact why it isn’t marriage at all.”

    Why retreat from that when it is accurate? Those situations ARE exactly the same when you are taking THEIR definition of marriage. When you ask them to define it, marriage boils down to love between two consenting adults. Incestuous relationships therefore should get the same treatment, because they meet both criteria. In fact, why stop at two? If it’s all arbitrary, let’s bring on the throuples.

    I always tell gay marriage advocates here in PA that I’ll await their vocal support of repealing 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4302, a law that criminalizes the sexual relationship between two consenting adults.

    • DE-173

      I’ll await their vocal support of repealing 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4302, a law that criminalizes the sexual relationship between two consenting adults.

      That was already done with Anthony Kennedy’s magnum opus in Lawrence v. Texas. Since sodomy is “customary” among homosexuals, it must be permitted.

      I’m waiting for that logical to be extended to certain political groups that consider it “customary” to evade the Internal Revenue Code or to reject the Federal Reserve.

  • Jhawk77

    I hope the next time Corbett opens his Bible, it falls to 1 Peter 4:16: “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Sigh!

  • J.Scott

    How is that Corbett could stand before the Pope and invite him to “The World Meeting of Families,” when he won’t appeal a ruling that is a blatant assault on the very institution that gives rise to the “family” in the first place.

    • DE-173

      Words are cheap, courage is dear.

    • Now it’s an “assault.” What are the consequences of same-sex marriage in terms that are neither theoretical or in the abstract?

      Moreover, the Pope is irrelevant to an issue of civil law.

      • asmondius

        Loss of common sense, for one.

      • Interested

        It harms children.

      • slainte

        Same sex marriage promotes no identifiable “legitimate state interest” as such term has been historically defined.

      • The Truth

        The biggest casualty of homosexual “marriage” is truth. Homosexual sex isn’t love, it’s an act of lust. Depraved lust at that. By equating it with real love, conjugal love between a man and woman that are married, is a lie.

  • JP

    Why should Gov Corbett lead the way when so many Catholic Bishops either hide from the controversy, or very quietly write a vague theologically cryptic public pronouncement that in no way conveys that homosexual acts are Grave Sins, and why that Gay Marriage is an abomination, which makes a mockery of Christ’s Sacrament of Holy Matrimony? If Catholic Bishops collectively are so meek and morally obtuse about gay marriage why do people expect the laity to take charge? In an age when it is virtually impossible to find a bishop anywhere that will condemn acts of public scandal by our elected Catholic politicians, why is it imperative that lay people “must preach from the stump”?

    Politics does not lead people to morality. It’s the other way around – a moral people will lead the way to good politics. The pressure must come from below and not above. Many decades ago, astute politicians avoided and at times feared the ire of Catholic Bishops. The last Catholic Bishop who evoked such fear in Republican and Democrat politicians alike was the late Cardinal O’Connor.

    Any Catholic parent will preach out of fear for their children’s soul right from wrong as defined by the Magesterium, for what parent wishes their children to go to hell? It is our obligation to preach the truth to our children no matter how much they disagree with it. We will be held accountable in the end. And it is in this same line of reasoning that our Bishops must emphatically teach all of us what lies at the end of the road with regards to our Sins (any Sins, not just sexual ones). They themselves have this very heavy burden to bear. In the end, I wouldn’t want to bear their obligations for any amount of money. Which makes me wonder why in the world they soft pedal Christ’s teachings to such a degree? We, the laity, are drowning a sea of ignorance and moral sloth. We need a life preserver. And we don’t expect a governor or any other politician to be the one throwing it.

    • John200

      I liked your comment, but I can answer your opening question. The answer is, because when the cup comes to you, you either drink or pass.

      He passed. He will carry that memory in his head, and that stamp on his reputation in the world, always, even if he is ultimately forgiven for his failure to do right. I hope he gets himself forgiven pronto. That’s the big thing for him.

      Now the rest of us have work to do. We cannot expect Justice Kennedy to do it.

  • DE-173

    For those not immersed in Keystone state politics.

    Tom Corbett was elected in 2010 after serving as the state’s Attorney General. He largely succeed because of the revolt against Obama that tended to benefit Republicans and because his opponent was a hair-brained leftist, Dan Onarato.

    Signs of trouble were apparent in his first budget address. In a speech that should have addressed big and broad themes, Corbett announced that he would continue to
    submit the “movie credit” aka the Pennsylvania Film Production Tax Credit to the Legislature for approval, on the basis that it would produce jobs. I’m not sure exactly how giving money to Denzel Washington for “Unstoppable” or Tom Cruise for “Jack Reacher” or to lesser knowns for “ Zack and Miri Make a Porno” creates employment, I do know Hollywood takes an interest in politics and money.

    During his term, Corbett has gotten some things right. Gosnell is out of business. He’s submitted budgets on time, something that perennially eluded his predecessor-big deal,those things are basics. When people of both parties in the legislature wanted
    to “uncap” the limits, the administration urged “caution”. He didn’t go along with the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

    Now for the other side of the ledger, Corbett has wasted valuable political capital
    on things that have mile-deep but inch-wide support like lottery and liquor
    privatization. He sought a transportation bill that includes increased fees and
    taxes, so fielding ads about Wolf being a former Revenue Secretary with designs on new taxes in true, but will ring hollow.

    (Tom Wolf, a “one-percenter” is attempting to portray himself as small business man who richly shares his profits with employees). Not exactly true. That he beat Allyson Schwartz and Katie McGinty was as much a comment on them as him.

    Here’s the irony of the marriage debate. A few weeks ago,some Republicans were considering impeaching Kathleen Kane, for failing to support the marriage law and
    for passing on investigating some (alledged) corruption among Philly Democrats.
    Now that’s dead and instead of defending herself, Kane is now pursuing issues
    related to the Jerry Sandusky case, just in time for the election.

    If Corbett wins in November (a long shot) it will be for the same reason many other RINOS will win. It won’t be because they deserve to win, but because the Democrats are just so thoroughly dreadful.

  • Dr. Krason is an attorney. He should know that marriage discrimination is over. The Church should be content if adherents practice its teachings. This emphasis on affecting civil law is not only futile but counter-productive.

    There is one question that nobody will answer (except in the abstract). What possible benefit to the state accrues from preventing gay couples from marrying?

    • DE-173

      Marriage deformation is being enshrined in the law, mostly by lawyers and judges who imagine themselves to be fit to rule over others because they are afflicted with logorrhea.

      It’s time to rethink the legal jackboot that’s on the neck of society.

      • Answer the question. What is the benefit to the state; what is the state’s interest in preventing gay couples from marrying?

        • DE-173

          Answer the question: How does the state make something from nothing.

          • Interested

            Raw power and deceived minds.

        • asmondius

          The same interest it has in not permitting people to declare that they are onions.

        • Interested

          Logic and common sense. Two men cannot be married. It is pure fiction. Children have rights!

        • slainte

          Again….wrong question….legitimate state interests are defined by what goals they affirmatively promote. Thus, the query is:
          What legitimate state interest is promoted by same sex “marriages”?

        • John200

          There are considerable benefits to all who are weakened when a man destroys himself and another. The list includes:
          1)the state,
          2)society as a whole,
          3)the homo”sex”ual,
          4)the man he is destroying. As you know, this usually means the many men he is destroying. Then we have,
          5)others who would have been better off if the homo”sex”ual had defeated his misfortune and not practiced it. This list varies from case to case. It can includes relatives, friends, co-workers, children — Bingo! Is there an easier way for the homo”sex”ual to get his hands on a boy? I believe the term is “chicken.”

          You know all that. And you know it at dissertation length. So do your interlocutors. They are trying to be nice to you.

    • FrankW

      This argument really isn’t about preventing same-sex couples from marrying. The argument you make could just as easily be made to support the man who wants to legally marry his porn-laden laptop computer (What harm can it do)? Anyone who opposed letting anyone marry whomever (or whatever) he wants can be labeled a bigot, and dismissed outright using that approach.

      The real issue, which isn’t being discussed enough, is the fact that this is a federal government power grab. Prior to all these rulings, the federal government didn’t have the power to define marriage. Now, the government has not only the right to determine who can get married, but implicitly the authority to determine who cannot get married. When the dust clears, they will have usurped that power to themselves. The concept of judicial restraint, meaning that this is not an arena that the government should have a role in, has completely flown the coup.

      What’s next? Should the government define parenthood as a civil right? There are plenty of well-meaning citizens of our nation who would think so. The problem is, like marriage, the right to become a parent does not come from our government.

      • DE-173

        “The problem is, like marriage, the right to become a parent does not come from our government”

        Funny thing. Those men who wrote our constitutive documents, so loathed as Protestants, deists, masons and Calvinists here on Crisis knew rights were from God. Whatever their failings, they were ahead of many modern Catholics in giving just credit to God, unlike many modern Catholics who think rights come from the state.

      • A subset of “marry their dog” is an abstraction. “What’s next” is a slippery slope.

        In Loving v. VA the United States Supreme Court determined that marriage to the person of one’s choice is a fundamental civil right. In Windsor the Court determined that the federal government must recognize marriages that the states license.

        At the same time, the majority opinion expresses the rights of states to regulate marriage PROVIDING that it does no infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens. Justice Kennedy cites Loving v. VA as impermissible.

        Equal protecting is afforded to people similarly situated. The SOLE issue that remains is the state’s interest in preventing gay people from marrying. Unless that can be eloquently expressed – gay couples will be able to marry throughout the land.

        You have not answered the question.

        • DE-173

          The Supreme Court: Korematsu, Kelo, Buck v. Bell, Plessy v. Ferguson….. Justice Jackson once quipped, “we are not final because we are not infallible, we are infallible because we are final”.

          He could have just said, we are not infallible.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour


            You could have added that in Jones v Opelika [319 US 584 (1942)] one finds Roberts J complaining that, in some six years, the court had fourteen times reversed one or more of its earlier decisions, many of them recent. He observed that such decisions tended “to bring adjudications of this tribunal into the same class as a restricted railroad ticket, good for this day and train only. I have no assurance, in view of current decisions, that the opinion announced today may not shortly be repudiated and overruled by justices who deem they have new light on the subject.”

            As one particularly egregious example, a case, Minersville School District v Gobitis [310 US 586 (1940)] that was decided by a majority of eight to one, was overruled three years later in West Virginia School Board of Education v Barnette [319 US 624 (1943)] by a majority of six to three. Of the six, three of the Justices (Black, Douglas & Murphy JJ) had changed their minds, two (Jackson & Ritledge JJ) were new appointments and one was the former lone dissident (Stone CJ, formerly Stone J)

            • DE-173

              Thanks for the additional citations to show that jurisprudence is largely a exercise in caprice.

              Living close to Minersville and having friends that reside there makes my omission all the more egregious.

        • asmondius

          ‘In Loving v. VA the United States Supreme Court determined that marriage to the person of one’s choice is a fundamental civil right.’ Incorrect – the case specifically dealt with race.

        • Interested

          It is most definitely a slippery slope. The idea that you can magically claim two men are married means anything goes including “marrying” yourself. No rational thinking can conclude same sex person can be “married. It is as logical as having a square circle. The law can fabricate this fiction but it can never exist. Pure nonsense.

        • FrankW

          The federal government didn’t create or invent marriage. That’s the answer to your question.

          Marriage has been, from the beginning of recorded history, a heterosexual institution. It has no known author. It is your side of the argument that is seeking to turn history on its head, and redefine an institute which is born of Natural Law.

          That is why Marriage as a civil right is a bogus argument. We do not get our “right” to marry from government.

          • In Loving the state made the same natural law argument.
            It’s a loser because gays are seeking marriage as a civil construct. Whether or not the Church concurs is irrelevant.

            For most of human history, btw, marriage was defined as one many and several (or even hundreds of) women.

            You STILL have not answered the question. States prohibit same-sex marriage through state laws. In this country laws must have a secular purpose. What is the state’s legitimate interest in prohibiting same-sex marriage?

            I defy anyone to point to Massachusetts and claim that as a consequence of equal marriage, after more than a decade, we observe adverse events including ……

            • Interested

              Race has nothing to do with sodomy or unnaturalness. Your argument is absurd. Marriage has always been between male and female. Aberrations do not prove your point.

              It is not about religious laws. It is about normality and sanity. Children have rights!!

              • Children have the right to be raised by married parents. About two million kids are being raised by gays. Again, the Court cites Loving in Windsor as an example of impermissible regulation.

                The point here is that the Church’s teachings are irrelevant to CIVIL marriage. Moreover, your judgments on what is normal are irrelevant. You do know. I hope, that slavery was supported by so-called natural law.

                • Interested

                  No, you are quite wrong and your propaganda goes nowhere. Slavery was ended by Christian principles. It was not ended by “gays”.

                  Children should not be raised by “gays”. They have rights.

                • slainte

                  Mr. Hart,
                  Natural Law is merely the use of Reason to apprehend nature.
                  If you insist that same sex marriage is a “social construct”, you are acknowledging and conceding that same sex unions are anti-Reason; in essence a rebellion against Reason.

                • John200

                  “Children have the right to be raised by married parents. About two million kids are being raised by gays.”

                  Almost good – although you exaggerate the current size of the problem, at least you see the problem itself. I didn’t think you could.

                  Not-so-good – The source of that fact is…?

                  Outright evil – Those children, who number fewer than two million, are not being raised by homo”sex”uals. They are being ruined by homo”sex”uals. Having survived the abortion lottery, they face mental disease, physical abuse, and spiritual ruin.

                • Objectivetruth

                  “About two million kids are being raised by gays.”


                  I’m sorry, DavidHart, but reading your posts, you have a great tendency for extreme exaggeration if not flat out lies. See below the work done by C.Miller and J.Price from Bringham Young University.

                  “We use data from the American Community Survey and National Survey of Family Growth to calculate the number of children being raised by either same-sex couples or gay or lesbian single parents. We estimate there are 190,000 children being raised by gay or lesbian couples, 83% of which are being raised by lesbian couples and 17% by gay couples. In addition, there are another 150,000 children being raised by a lesbian single parent and 60,000 being raised by a gay single parent. These estimates are significantly lower than previous estimates, to part, due the way in which parents who report being bisexual are categorized.”

                  • Yes. I am familiar with that study. Neither the NSFG nor the ACS provide the data necessary to make a proper estimate. Their total of 350,000 is their estimate. It is not only inaccurate but dated. Moreover, “raised by” is ambiguous. Presumably that does not include the children in foster care who, btw, would benefit from married foster parents. Finally, neither the NSFG nor the ACS provide the data necessary to determine who is gay. The ACS comes closer but relies on people telling the government (via the census bureau) their sexual orientation. IOW, it is hogwash.

                    The 2 million figure is also (obviously) an estimate. IIRC, it emanates from noted sociologist Dr. Michael Rosenfeld at Stanford.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      “The 2 million figure is (obviously) an estimate.

                      An estimate with an error rate of 75%

            • slainte

              Mr. Hart states, “….In this country laws must have a secular purpose. What is the state’s legitimate interest in prohibiting same-sex marriage?…”
              Once again, you have mis-stated the question; you put the cart before the horse.
              The operative question is….what legitimate state interest is advanced by so called same sex “marriage”?

    • Josefa

      Right from the beginning, the traditional family was the first structure and form of government. EVERY social and moral foundation of civilization has it’s roots in the traditional family.It is irreplaceable . The primacy of raising children with both a mother and father cannot be questioned. Only a mother can provide a child with maternal sensibilities, and only a father can provide paternal sensibilities, together necessary for the best possible outcome and “ideal ” circumstances for rearing children. Yes, many, due to difficult circumstances, ( or even non- traditional mores )raise children in more difficult and less stable circumstances, and they should be assisted in every way possible. But their non traditional environment ( even because of hardship) should not be elevated and applauded and raised to a platform, enshrined into law, somehow being “equal” in some way to a traditional family of husband , wife and children.
      This is not a narcissistic discussion based solely on homosexual “rights” and demands., There are other people involved, and children, in their innocence , should not be subject to social experimentation, no matter how well intentioned. Their rearing stays with them a lifetime, and we are already witnessing the fallout from less than “ideal” family environments. Homosexual marriage will expose the plasticity of children’s psyches

      • “Homosexual marriage will expose the plasticity of children’s psyches.”

        Marriage, adoption and ART are three separate issues.

        Nevertheless, gay couple have been raising children for decades (that ship sailed). Those kids are doing just fine. Indeed, their lives will be improved when their parents are able to marry.

        • DE-173

          Those kids are doing just fine. Indeed, their lives will be improved when their parents are able to marry.

          Anthemic Bovine Excrement.

        • Josefa

          I never got to finish that sentence……( re plasticity of psyches)
          I’m afraid kids are more confused and depressed than ever, especially regarding gender roles. They ARE NOT doing just fine. I’m sure you can role out a few that are successful on the surface, but just read some of the forums of children raised by homosexuals ( very scary) Higher suicides, higher psyche drug (SSRI) and illegal drug use, and much more recently, a slew of sexual abuse cases from within the household.
          Our kids are a mess. Don’t they deserve the BEST we can give them?

        • Interested

          The “marriage” is a fiction just as boys playing mom and dad is a fiction. The problem that fiction hurts people.

        • asmondius

          Those children have been denied a mother or a father, forever, on purpose, to satisfy a sad adult desire to be ‘accepted’. They are not doing ‘just fine’.

        • slainte

          Mr. Hart….to thine ownself be true…this is not about the well being of children.
          This is about seeking societal equality of same sex relationships by using children to advance that cause. The children are being used as a means to an end; horrific!
          A child’s well being and best interests must always take priority over that of two adults whether same sex attracted or heterosexual.

        • John200

          Those kids are victims, not doing fine at all. If their parents had not been so selfish, the kids would have done better. Homo”sex”ual “marriage” will improve nothing, and it will krappe all over the children’s interests.

          And you know it.

          You are fooling no one, not even yourself, with these magical incantations.

    • Interested

      Protection of children. Children have rights.

    • asmondius

      ‘This emphasis on affecting civil law is not only futile but counter-productive.’ Have homosexual activists learned this?

      ‘What possible benefit to the state accrues from preventing gay couples from marrying?’ It protects children, for one.

      Hope this helped your confusion.

      • Just the opposite. Gay couples are raising millions of children; either through a previous traditional marriage, adoption, ART or as foster parents. That ship sailed and it’s not coming back. Gays are going to be raising the same children irrespective of their legal marital status.

        Those children are best protected if their parents can marry. The purpose of marriage in civil law is to create a marital estate. This provides for the care of children and a surviving spouse in the event one spouse dies or the union is dissolved.

        • Interested

          Marriage is not a mere contract. If it were then there would be no rapacious quest for it by the homosexualists.

          • The CIVIL purpose of and for marriage is to create a marital estate.

            • Interested

              The civil purpose cannot contradict reality and still havie authentic meaning. If it is simply about taxes, land, and money there are other legal devices available. it is about affirmation and normalization of vice.

              • Windsor was strictly about taxes. In Florida, the state’s interest in marriage (in family law code) is limited to providing for the welfare of children in the event that the marriage dissolves.

                Federal law is settled. Done. Now it’s about the remaining 50% of the population that reside in non-equality states. I expect that to be settled law by June, 2015. All this fuss over what will probably amount to about 2% of marriages without any consequences.

                We neither seek nor require your approval. Nor, for that matter, does anyone seek to change the teachings of the Church.

                • Interested

                  The law has become arbitrary as those who decide make things up based on popular culture and not truth or the law. What you have is a reductionist reasoning formed by hedonism and addle-minded perverts.

                  Square circles can never exist. Two men can never be married. Like Nazi Germany the overlords foist immorality on the masses.

                  You desires do not change anyone’s mind and certainly do not change Truth or nature. Like children your group demands affirmation thinking it will quiet their minds. It will not and cannot.

                  Children have rights!!

                  • Godwin was correct.

                    Affirmation? We don’t care.

                    • Interested

                      I do not abide by silly internet rubbish. And yes, you demand affirmation. It is obvious.

                    • slainte

                      You should care about an innocent child’s right to have a mom and a dad. That child does not deserve to be the subject of an experiment however worthy you think the end goal you seek to promote.
                      No child (or person) should ever be a means to an end.
                      Please be kind and stop the experimenting with children.

                    • John200

                      Affirmation? You don’t care?

                      You are spending your life trying to get it. You ache for it.

                • DE-173

                  “We neither seek nor require your approval. ”

                  They do however demand your acquiescence.

                • Objectivetruth

                  Even though gay marriage is legal in those states, why do so few gays take advantage of the law and get married?

                  • I don’t think that either of us knows the number of same-sex marriages. Spain runs at about 2% of all marriages. Nevertheless, the number is irrelevant.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Why are you trying to claim what I know or don’t know?

                • slainte

                  “…Federal law is settled. Done…”
                  Really?….Recall “Dred Scott v. Sandford” (1857) which upheld the horrific institution of slavery.
                  Despite best efforts, the U.S Supreme Court and federal courts sometimes make mistakes. Judges are human and they are fallible.

            • slainte

              The benefit and legitimate purpose of marriage is the procreation by a man and a woman of children who are the future citizens of the state.
              The state’s legitimate interest in advancing marriage is to support the natural union that produces its future citizens.
              Nature has always provided a child with a male father and a female mother; there can be no other.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                No, or the law would not facilitate death-bed marriages. The purpose of civil marriage is not procreation, but filiation. Marriage in extremis cannot produce children, but it can legitimate an heir

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              The civil purpose of marriage is to determine paternal rights and duties and has been since Roman times.

              Pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant (Dig. 2.4.5 Paulus 4 ad ed.) – Marriage points out the father

              No-one will deny that the state has a clear interest in the filiation of children being clear, certain and incontestable. It is central to its concern for the upbringing and welfare of the child, for protecting rights and enforcing obligations between family members and to the orderly succession to property. To date, no better, simpler, less intrusive means than marriage have been found for ensuring, as far as possible, that the legal, biological and social realities of paternity coincide. And that is no small thing.

              • slainte

                Thank you MPS for weighing in and offering a very important historical defense of traditional marriage. The welfare of children is at stake and truth must prevail to ensure their wellbeing.

                • Michael Paterson-Seymour


                  Thank you for that.

                  I have always drawn much inspiration from the words of André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris (now Cardinal) to the National Assembly’s commission on children and the family in 2006: “Even though it has not taken the modern form familiar in our civil legislation, there has always been a means of handing things down from generation to generation, which is the very basis of continuity and stability in a society. This transmission between generations is primarily effected by the family. It is the legal framework of family life that structures the transmission of life and shapes the future of society.”

                  The most damning description of SSM can be found in the laconic words of a leading French jurist: “It is necessary, since the law of 19th May 2013 (2013-404) opening marriage to persons of the same sex, to distinguish two marriages:-

                  1. The union freely agreed to, of a man and a woman in order to found a family. Only this marriage between a man and a woman affects filiation (Title VII of Book I of the Civil Code) [This is a reference to Art 314 of the Civil Code, “The child conceived or born during the marriage has the husband for father”]

                  2. The union, freely agreed to, between two persons of the same sex, which permits them, within the limits of the appreciation of the interests of the child by the administration and then the judge, to adopt (Title VIII of Book I of the Civil Code) the child of one of them, or a ward of the State or, subject to what is permitted by conventions between states, a foreign child.”

                  Marriage equality, even in the hands of its proponents, reveals itself to be an illusion.

        • JP

          The Pagan Romans and Greeks had marriage too. They also practiced infanticide and matricide. What the gays have may be called marriage, but it is anything but a Christian union.

          • That may be but gays are not suing to obtain Christian unions. Some of my friends have been perfectly content to have Jewish unions or unions created by civil authority.

            • slainte

              You can acquire the protections of inheritance, tax benefits, health care, etc. through the mechanism of state authorized civil partnerships.
              Same sex couples should not disturb or impair the well being and best interests of an innocent child who needs and is entitled to the loving support and care of a mother and a father.
              Please be kind and stop experimenting with children.

            • Objectivetruth

              But a union created by civil authority is not created (blessed) by God. But the vast majority of gays are atheists, so that doesn’t matter.

        • slainte

          You are using children as leverage to create a state interest that otherwise would not exist.
          The laws of nature do not permit two persons who are the same sex to procreate children. Children must therefore be manufactured to meet the requirements of persons in these same sex relationships.
          Nature through male/female procreation provides a child with a mother and a father. Any other arrangement constitutes performing an experiment on a child which may compromise that child’s emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical best interests in order to advance the values and preferences of two same sex adults.
          The best interests of the child has always been the guiding principle behind family and domestic relations Law….not the preferences of two same sex or heterosexual adults.

        • Objectivetruth

          You do realize, Mr. Hart, that 100% of all heterosexual people feel gay homosexual acts such as sodomy are repugnant, disgusting, and perverted? So 98% of the United States population actually finds your lifestyle vomit inducing? Please don’t take this statement the wrong way, for it is not intended to be attacking in any way. It is just a simple, objective fact that all heterosexuals find homosexual acts nauseating.

          • Well about 55% of the population supports equal marriage (according to the most recent Gallup poll). About 40% of the population have an immediate family member who is gay.

            Mathematics aside, were you correct it would still be irrelevant. At the time that Loving v. VA was decided, about 80% of the population opposed interracial marriage – “oh, the poor children.” That, too, was irrelevant to equal protection and due process.

            We do seem to be winning the argument. More accurately, our opponents are losing the argument for failure to accurately articulate the purpose of marriage and the state’s interest in marriage. Once you take God out of the equation there really is nothing left of the argument.

            • Objectivetruth

              You’re missing my point.

              If 100% of the population says SSM should be legal, that would have nothing to do with how all heterosexuals have a natural revulsion to homosexual sex. It’s the irony and power of political correctness. Think about it: 55% might say gays should marry, but 100% of that 55% (being heterosexual) find homosexual acts such as sodomy gut wrenchingly disgusting.

              “Once you take God out of the equation…” I always find the find it intriguing how almost all those that live the gay lifestyle are atheists. Is your atheism a result of your choice to be gay? Because one who chooses to live the gay lifestyle would have to deny any divinity or laws of nature.

          • Melinda H.

            You wish! 2% of the population identifies as gay. But that’s not the end of the story. A further 2% are bisexuals. Further, in all of the surveys on this subject, there is a consistent 1 or 2% who refuses to answer or who answer “don’t know”, and it seems unlikely that these are folks embarrassed to admit their heterosexuality. So that’s 5%. And then we have a larger group of people who experience weaker or occasional same sex attraction. They don’t identify as gay or bisexual, but they certainly don’t find homosexuality vomit inducing. Now you are in the double digits. And then you have heterosexuals who have no real homosexual attraction but who may have indulged in a homosexual act at some point in their lives. They didn’t find it so vomit-inducing, did they? And then you have the heterosexuals who have never had any homosexual attraction and have never engaged in any homosexual act but who simply aren’t disgusted. They accept that others are same-sex attracted and they are not, and, unlike you, don’t ruminate about it daily.

            When all is said and done, the nauseated people you describe are the minority. As a minority, you should organize and lobby to have barf bags covered by Obamacare. Because you are going to need a lot of them for a long time to come.

            • Objectivetruth

              Wow! So according to your “estimates”, half of all Americans are homosexuals? Really?

    • Scott W.

      What possible benefit to the state accrues from preventing gay couples from marrying?

      The benefit of not being a state of insanity. Same-sex “marriages” are legalized fiction.

    • slainte

      You ask the wrong question. The proper question is:
      What legitimate state interest is advanced by permitting a same sex couple to form a union?

  • FrankW

    I wish I could agree with the author’s assessment that our nation’s Supreme Court will not establish same-sex marriage as a civil right, but I cannot.

    There are already at least four votes on the SCOTUS that are guaranteed to vote that way. The swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, has essentially already gone on record labeling anyone who supports maintaining the traditional definition of marriage as a hater. You can read his opinion from last summer’s decision on DOMA.

    The redefinition of marriage at the federal level is coming, it’s just a matter of when.

    • DE-173

      Anthony Kennedy is a constant reminder of Samuel Johnson’s observation: The law is an ass.

  • ForChristAlone

    It is impossible for two men or two women to marry. Case closed. Nothing more needs to be said.

    It is high time for the Catholic Church to state unequivocably that the She will recognize NO marriage other than the ones performed under Her aegis. None!

    • Thomas

      Not sure what you mean.

      Currently, the RCC does not recognize homosexual marriages. That is not to say that a dissenting priest won’t just brush it aside and perform the ceremony. Is the latter what you are referring to?

      • ForChristAlone

        I am saying that all civil marriages and all marriages performed by protestant ecclesial communities hold to a definition of marriage NOT shared and different in its essentials from that held by the Catholic Church. Because of this, it makes little sense for the Catholic Church to recognize that whatever those entities might call it, it is NOT marriage and should not be treated as such.

  • Paul

    When will folks realize politicians are all the same. They worry about their jobs more than anything else. When it comes to election time they will do whatever that will win them votes so they can keep their jobs. I have not seen many politicians with a backbone to date.

  • CalB

    The professional GOP machine never really cared about this issue much beyond the get-out-the-vote angle. The special interest groups the pros work for (ultra-wealthy types, narrow industry interests, etc) have effectively rented the “value voter” block from the GOP for 30 years. This was a great wedge issue for a long time – now that the wedge has turned, they are dropping it and moving on. By 2016, it will be obvious that they could care less. They might squeeze a cycle out of it by promising to replace judges who rule in favor of marriage equality, but by them it would not matter anyway.

  • Gary Cangemi

    What Governor Corbett did was either an act of cowardice or political expediency. I am extremely disappointed in him and feel betrayed as a conservative Pennsylvanian who voted for him. Now he thinks he has my vote locked up because the alternative is a liberal pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage candidate. I’m not voting for him either. If I can’t vote my conscience or my convictions, then I will choose silence. But I will never again vote for the lesser of two evils. This gay marriage issue is already poisoning our community. A local Inn refuses to host a gay wedding and already they are being vilified and targeted for annihilation. We will be branded as criminals if we refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of these illicit unions, forgetting the fact that I am offended that my legitimate marriage of 35 years is being slandered as the moral equivalent of sodomy.