Monday, November 17, 2003

Justice Sidetracked: Jeff Jacoby looks at the implications of same-sex marriage in a New Hampshire divorce case:
When the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled in a divorce case recently that a married woman who had a lesbian affair had not committed adultery in the eyes of the law, one disappointed party was GLAD, the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. In an amicus brief, GLAD had taken the side of the betrayed husband, who wanted to be divorced from his wife not on the neutral grounds of "irreconcilable differences," but on the specific fault ground of adultery.
Jacoby goes on to get everything else wrong, though, by praising the decision. Jacoby, like the court, thinks adultery, like marriage, is between a man and a woman, and that to grant legitimacy to a divorce on the grounds of adultery, when the actual adultery was a lesbian affair, is to see homosexual and heterosexual sex as threateningly similar. This is a cowardly decision. The court, to hold as it did, must have willfully decided the case not on its merits but with an eye toward how such a case would sit as precedent. In fact, I submit it to you: Is it not obvious that the woman in question was unfaithful to her marriage vows? To make the case that she was not is to marshall judicial fiat against the facts of the case and reasonable interpretation. This kind of irresponsible judicial thread-the-needle doesn't stand up to common sense and logic; further, it does so with callous disregard of the case at hand -- that is, denying justice to a reasonable complainant for divorce because a grant of divorce under the terms he requests challenges how a particular judge feels about the legitimacy of the queer.

Jacoby ends with a standard "marriage defender" non-sequitur:

The purpose of marriage is to unite the fundamental opposites of male and female -- the only kind of union that can produce new life. Wherever human society has developed, marriage has developed too, and always for the purpose of bridging the divide between men and women. We look back with scorn at those who twisted the law to make marriage serve their racist agenda [i.e., those who made anti-miscegenation laws]. So will our descendants look at us if we yield to the demand that the marriage laws be twisted to suit a radical sexual agenda.
In other words, Jacoby thinks the fight to open marriage beyond racial laws is morally the same as the fight to keep it closed to homosexuals. The tortured logic of that boggles the mind. Jacoby, like those who fought miscegenation, thinks that his argument is made when he simply covers his eyes and says, "This is not how marriage should be!" Moronic, yes, but at least one court has borrowed his blindfold.

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