Saturday, June 27, 2015

Justice Kennedy's silly third argument

You are probably sick of hearing commentary on the new Supreme Court same-sex marriage mandate, but I want to point out that the opinions completely ignore the downstream consequences in family court: divorce, alimony, child custody disputes, child support, paternity disputes, etc.

In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy gives three arguments:
A third basis for protecting the right to marry is that it safeguards children and families and thus draws meaning from related rights of childrearing, procreation, and education. See Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925); Meyer, 262 U. S., at 399. The Court has recognized these connections by describing the varied rights as a unified whole: “[T]he right to ‘marry, establish a home and bring up children’ is a central part of the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause.” Zablocki, 434 U. S., at 384 (quoting Meyer, supra, at 399). Under the laws of the several States, some of marriage’s protections for children and families are material. But marriage also confers more profound benefits. By giving recognition and legal structure to their parents’ relationship, marriage allows children “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Windsor, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 23). Marriage also affords the permanency and stability important to children’s best interests. See Brief for Scholars of the Constitutional Rights of Children as Amici Curiae 22–27.

As all parties agree, many same-sex couples provide loving and nurturing homes to their children, whether biological or adopted. And hundreds of thousands of children are presently being raised by such couples. See Brief for Gary J. Gates as Amicus Curiae 4. Most States have allowed gays and lesbians to adopt, either as individuals or as couples, and many adopted and foster children have same-sex parents, see id., at 5. This provides powerful confirmation from the law itself that gays and lesbians can create loving, supportive families.
Excluding same-sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents,relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples. See Windsor, supra, at ___ (slip op., at 23).
I don't see how anyone can believe any of this nonsense if he has spent a couple of hours in family court. The idea that this sort of abstract reasoning can be the interest of the kids is craziness.

Suppose your mom divorces your kids, wins sole custody in family court, and moves in with a lesbian. How is a lesbian marriage going to save the kids from harm and humiliation? How is it going to allow children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.?

More importantly, there are millions of good dads who are reduced to supervised visitation of their own kids, just because someone made an unverified allegation and some psychologist cannot make up his mind, or similar such reasoning. Who is going to shelter them from their humiliation?

Why is the desires of a few thousand gays and lesbians getting the Supreme Court to try to improve their dignity, but millions of alienated parents never get any attention?

Kennedy concludes:
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
Again, if he spent a day in family court he would see that other laws have reduced marriage to a financial arrangement that either can terminate at any time. Child custody and support have been removed, and replaced with the most leftist socialist scheme.

This paragraph might make more sense as one striking down no-fault divorce, or child support.

Love? Fidelity? Devotion? Family law has backed out of these concepts long ago. Kennedy acts as if marriage is a lifelong commitment. Legally, it is not.

And unmarried are "condemned to live in loneliness"? That is maybe the weirdest phrase. Earlier Kennedy says:
Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. It offers the hope of companionship and understanding and assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other.
Really? Are there people who say, "I got married because I was lonely and I had a fear that I would call out and and find that no one was there and I wanted someone to care for me for the rest of my life."?

There are many people who achieve lifelong companionship and devotion, but not because of any legally binding document. Kennedy seems to be living in some imaginary universe with little relation to how marriage works today in family courts. Marriage is not even that important anymore. See the chart at this site:
Looking to more recent history, there has been a steady decline in marriage rates (and consequently, divorce rates) since the 1980s, with no sign of slowing down. In fact, when taking population into account, marriage rates in the U.S. are now at the lowest they’ve ever been in recorded U.S. history — even lower than during The Great Depression!

With lower marriage rates, that's a lot of people condemned to a life of loneliness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As Tina Turner sang, what's love got to do with it?