By Monsignor James Farmer
The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage June 26, 2015 in its ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges. The court held that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.
We need to keep one fact clearly in mind: The state did not invent marriage. God created marriage to be a permanent, binding relationship between a man and a woman.
“But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mk 10:6-9).
The Obergefell case will not end the debate over same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court is not perfect. Reversal of precedent is well documented in American jurisprudence. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel Alito wrote: “Today’s decision usurps the constitutional right of the people to decide whether to keep or alter the traditional understanding of marriage. The decision will also have other important consequences.”
God’s law, natural law, is perfect and permanent. Man-made law is subject to the changing trends of societal values.
This brief review of Supreme Court cases illustrates that the court’s decisions are not necessarily permanent:
In 1857, in Dred Scott v. Sanford, the court held that African-Americans, enslaved or free, could not be American citizens and had no standing to sue in Federal Court, with the federal government having no power to regulate slavery in the federal territories acquired after the creation of the United States. The Dred Scott case was a terrible decision and did not end the slavery debate.
This decision prepared the way for the Civil War. The 13th Amendment ended slavery and the 14th Amendment gave African-Americans full citizenship.
In Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), the court held that the negro is not denied the equal protection of the laws by compelling him to accept “equal but separate” accommodations. The Louisiana legislature, in 1890, passed a statute providing that all railway companies carrying passengers in their coaches in this state shall provide separate accommodations for the white and colored races.
This case legalized the terrible practice of racial segregation in our country. The court made a horrendous mistake in this case. The Plessy v. Ferguson case did not end the debate over segregation.
The court reversed Plessy v. Ferguson in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) and held state laws establishing separate public schools for blacks and whites to be unconstitutional.
In Roe v. Wade (1973), the court ruled that “a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of human life.”
The court made a horrible mistake in legalizing abortion by establishing a non-existent penumbral right of privacy. This decision has caused the deaths of 58 million babies in the United States of America, and has denied the pre-born child any rights. Roe v. Wade did not end the debate over abortion.
The Supreme Court was wrong in Dred Scott. The Supreme Court was wrong in Plessy v. Ferguson. The Supreme Court was wrong in Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court was wrong in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The Supreme Court lacks the jurisdiction to overrule God’s definition of marriage.
Monsignor Farmer, the 2013 recipient of the Man for All Seasons Award from the St. Thomas More Society, holds degrees in civil law.
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