Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The president's new clothes

So . . . the Obama Administration literally is taking the law into its own hands and decreeing heterosexual marriage, in effect, discriminatory.

Meanwhile, 6,000 years of civilization just texted to ask "WTF?" as America's cultural war just "kicked it up a notch."

Probably a big notch.

The details come in this report from

The decision announced Wednesday represents a big victory for gay rights activists.

Obama's Justice Department has been arguing to preserve the Defense of Marriage Act for two years in courts all over the nation. Government lawyers said they were acting out of a sense of legal precedent, not moral obligation.

Everything changed Wednesday when Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress that Obama had determined that the administration can no longer defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

"After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the president has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny," Holder said in a statement released Wednesday.

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney said Obama himself is still "grappling" with his personal view of gay marriage but has always personally opposed the Defense of Marriage Act as "unnecessary and unfair."

From now on, the Justice Department will no longer fight to support the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in court. But the government will continue to enforce the law across the executive branch unless Congress repeals it or a federal judge throws it out.

I REALIZE I'm not a constitutional lawyer, and I don't play one on the Internet, but what the hell does the definition of marriage have to do with not throwing gays out of the military?

The definition of marriage predates not only the constitution of the United States but also western civilization itself, leading me to wonder whether this has more to do with the king's new clothes than civil rights and constitutional order.

As much as the nekkid-as-a-jaybird monarch wanted to believe he had a fine new outfit, it just wasn't so. There is a difference between delusion and reality -- one which "progressives" think they can wish away just as facilely as they do the normative definition of matrimony.

Legally, if the administration unilaterally decides that a law that has been on the books for 15 years -- one which it has been defending for all that time -- suddenly is constitutionally indefensible merely because times have changed and the law is slave to societal whimsy, shouldn't it, logically, be asking what other laws are invalid because they make distinctions based on gender or "conventional" notions about the right role of sexuality?

Shouldn't Holder's Justice Department be filing civil-rights lawsuits against every local jurisdiction that allows men to go topless but forbids women to? Shouldn't we be eliminating the legal tyranny of laws based on what may well be outdated concepts of "underage" sex?

And don't we owe fundamentalist Mormons and traditional Muslims a big apology and a legal free pass to marry however many women as they will?

THE ONLY WAY out of this, I fear, is just getting the state the hell out of the marriage business altogether. Give any two consenting adults a civil union if they want one, and leave marriage as a religious matter.

Barring any reassertion of authority by society's dwindling cadre of "grown-ups," America will not end well, though end it will.

Frankly, I don't know why Glenn Beck is all head up about the pending global takeover by the coming Islamic caliphate. If and when it arrives on our shores, I predict we'll be about ready to embrace a little order -- any kind of order -- to make the mayhem stop.

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