Obergefell v. Hodges

This week in class we were asked to read the Supreme Court Case of Obergefell vs Hodges. If you are not familiar with the case it is the case from 2014 that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. As I read the case there were some ideas that caught me by surprise regarding the case and the justices opinions.

To let you know what my opinion on the subject is, I don’t have a problem with same sex marriages or unions. To those of you familiar with most religious opinions on this topic it is the contrary. I would have to say my heart tends to fall more on the side of social justice and not religious perfection and idealism. I am often confused why we just don’t clear up the language used in these conversations and be more specific to what we want to communicate. I personally find the discussion tiring because it feels like to really hard heads continuously hitting each other over and over and not making much sense because neither side will budge. One says it is their “right” while the other claims divine authority. If you took the time to explain that from the view point of the Plan of Salvation verses the fact that the word “marriage” does mean union and that many things “marry” in this world and the union of two things (humans included) all fit under that definition. What would be helpful would be if that if there was a consensus to agree that the definition of “marriage” is between a man and a women is the only sanctioned way bring life into this world then you can start to unravel the language surrounding this complicated and emotional topic. Hence the whole topic of the matter at hand.

I may start to digress so I will start off with some of my observations about the court case – which I did read from front to back. It is quite interesting and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to have a deeper understanding not so much of marriage but of democracy and the use of power to create and maintain laws over the people of any country; in this case ours, the United States of America.

I thought it was interesting that none of the dissenting Judges on the Supreme Court had a strong opinion on traditional marriage, but were more worried about the hubris and audacity that the other Justices displayed in their majority opinion and how they went about it.  

To quote Justice Roberts: 

“Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever; the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause.  And they lose just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.” 

“Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of today’s decision is the extent to which the majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate” 

“If you are among the many Americans – of whatever sexual orientation – who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. I respectfully dissent.” 

Justice Scalia 

“A system of government that makes the People subordinate to a committee of nine unelected lawyers does not deserve to be called a democracy. Judges are selected precisely for their skill as lawyers; whether they reflect the policy views of a particular constituency is not (or should not be) relevant.  not surprisingly then, the Federal Judiciary is hardly a cross-section of America.” 

“But what really astounds me is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting same-sex marriages in 2003” 

“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic.” 

“Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth with the fall.”  

As I read and listened to the arguments in this week’s reading I find it hard to take “hubris” from either side of the aisle. The talks and reading I was most moved by was the reading of the Supreme Court findings and rulings as well as President Oaks. President Oaks plea to find understanding and work with a heart of cooperation was refreshing and hopeful.   I also like that in these two readings none of the authors spoke in a condescending way (nor did President Nelson) towards the audience; assuming we just agree with them, making broad statements but not necessarily backing up the statements to any extent.  It was good for me to see both sides and listen to each argument. I think in the end I can back same-sex marriage or unions because there were laws that were pointed out that denied same-sex couples social rights in terms of money, hospitals, wills, etc. I however do not agree with how the Majority of the Supreme Court ruling went about it. The blatant disregard for the voice of the people and change the Constitution was appalling. It reminds me of the unrighteous judges of the Book of Mormon. I would back Scalia’s quote, “Hubris is sometimes defined as o’erweening pride; and pride, we know, goeth with the fall.”  As I watch the world change, one of my biggest fears is the misuse of language, which teaches false principles and distorts truth. It reshapes morals and ethics and takes away the clear understanding of how things really are. When I was younger I read Neal A Maxwell’s “Things as They Really Are.” Understanding life in an Eternal Nature gives us a unique perspective that can help us discern what is truth and what is not. I am grateful that these 4 Justices had the integrity to stand up for truth and rule of law. They were able to set aside their personal opinions for the sake of the bigger picture – truth and democracy.  I loved reading the whole ruling. I couldn’t put it down. It was a crash course in understanding the true nature of democracy. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s