Don’t Roe Out Marriage in Tennessee

Four same sex couples were married while living in other states.  Now they live here and want a federal judge to strike down the provision in our laws that provides that only marriages between a man and a woman will be recognized in our state.  As I read the complaint, I couldn’t help but think: will we repeat the mistakes of Roe v. Wade?

In 1973, in Roe v. Wade, feminists convinced the U.S Supreme Court to impose an unrestricted right to abortion on every state in the nation despite the fact almost all those states had laws against it to some degree or another. Homosexual activists now want the federal court for Tennessee to rule in the same manner  with regard to same-sex marriage.

In Roe, the Court would not allow the state to make a straightforward moral judgment that it was in the best interest of the common good to cultivate a respect for life by protecting it throughout a pregnancy.  Because the court wrongly said no one knows when life begins, when it came to the first trimester of a pregnancy, the states’ only option was to assert its interest in maternal health during that period.

But with respect to first trimester abortions, the Court swept aside the state’s health interest claim, citing the state of “present medical knowledge” and “modern medical techniques” as reasons. In other words, science had made early abortions safe enough that the state’s health justification disappeared.

So what does this have to do with the issue of same-sex marriage?

The recently filed complaint asserts that the state no longer has an interest in encouraging activity compatible with procreation to take place in the context of a marital commitment.

Essentially, the plaintiffs believe that concept is archaic.   And to their way of thinking, it’s due at least in part, to “present … knowledge” regarding the effect of parents on a child’s well-being and “modern medical [reproductive] techniques.” The same type rationale the Court used in Roe.

The plaintiffs will no doubt argue that any rational basis exists for assuming a mom and a dad bring something to a child’s nurturing that cannot be provided by either two dads or two moms. And no doubt “scientific studies” will be trotted out to back up that claim.

But hold on. A just-released study indicates that:

Children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others….

In other words, new research shows that on the one detail measured – graduation rates – kids with a married mom and dad did best.

Here’s the point: for a constitution to have any substance it must have words that have a fixed and discernable meaning. And when the words don’t “work” anymore, we use the amendment process given to us by our founding fathers.

And law must be based on moral judgments.  In fact, that is all it can be based on.  Science may overcome nature and create pregnancies that otherwise would not occur, but only a moral judgment can tell us whether we should do so.

The plaintiffs’ assert that the “moral condemnation” they think is the basis for our marriage laws is “never a legitimate constitutional justification for legislation.” Ironically, they then assert their moral indignation as a basis for inserting their “rights” into the law.

Let’s hope we learned a lesson from Roe. Basing the law on the state of scientific research and medical progress does not make for good law.  On abortion we’ve spent over 30 years as a society trying to make the best of it.

Let’s hope that 30 years from now we are not in the same position because we began to experiment with the natural social order reflected in marriage between one man and one woman.