Friday, June 26, 2015

A paragraph about marriage

The next-to-last paragraph of the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges might prompt any number of already-married people to take their marriages a little more seriously. I can imagine the first two sentences being read by a wedding officiant:

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
The final paragraph: “The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.” A PDF of the ruling and the dissenting opinions is available from the Supreme Court website.

[What most strikes me from quick browsing: Antonin Scalia’s conception of marriage as an institution that limits rather than expands human freedom, diminishing one’s possibilities for (ahem) intimacy and requiring constant vigilance about what one says. Sigh.]

comments: 8

Pete said...

Methinks the Justice doth protest too much. And is due for some cold, silent stares when he gets home tonight.

Zhoen said...

I feel sorry for Scalia's wife. So obvious he is talking more about his own issues, and from a very emotional view, than anything to do with law or justice or the constitution.

Anonymous said...

Plural marriage challenges are already being filed. Welcome to the next step.

Diane Schirf said...

I couldn't get to what Scalia said about marriage, but this struck me of how far I did get: Not a single South- westerner or even, to tell the truth, a genuine Westerner (California does not count).

Can the Justice explain why California "does not count"? It looks pretty far west on my map, and I'm pretty well informed on geography. Who determines a "genuine Westerner"? Does there need to be a law, vote, or decision on that? Just curious.

Fresca said...

*Hooray* for the SCOTUS ruling x infinity!
But this highfalutin' praise of marriage makes this single person feel a little queasy:
Am I, an unmarried woman... " to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. "

Geez. Not everyone finds their highest social/sexual fulfillment in marriage (even people who are married).

The thing that's so exciting about equality is that it liberates people to say, "No, thank you" as well as to say "Yes!"

As for plural marriages---it does not follow.
However, with proper checks and balances in place (e.g. no child spouses), why not? The US-style marriage is not the only kind in the world...

Michael Leddy said...

I think the way to redeem that passage is to recognize that he’s writing about the people who have appealed to the Supreme Court, people who want to be married. Certainly there are other ways to find fulfillment in life. A contemplative would find it hard to agree that no union is more profound than that of marriage.

I find it fascinating that people who oppose equal marriage rights always warn that plural marriage as a next step. You might be amused by what I wrote in this post about such reasoning. But perhaps plural marriage will become more generally accepted and understood.

Frex said...

Heh, your take-down of Santorum made me smile.
Yeah, what about THREE MEN ...AND A BABY?*

I do appreciate the romantic view of marriage, and the incredibly poignant story of Obergefell and his husband!
I just wish some more of the focus was on the equality part of the SCOTUS ruling and not just the *marriage* part.
I would fight for equal rights even for things I don't support, like military service. (Equal oppression!)

Anyway, I know you understand (right--St Augustine is turning in his grave at the idea that marriage is the highest relationship, though he agrees it's better than burning), I just wanted to squeak up.

*Did you know that film was directed by Leonard Nimoy?

Michael Leddy said...

Re: Leonard Nimoy: no, I didn’t. And I admit to almost total ignorance of the Star Trek world. But I did see (and very much liked) To Be Takei.