Did the Supreme Court “Honor” Gays?

 At The Edge of the Kalahari analyzed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage (June 26, 2015) from a cross-cultural perspective. Here is an excerpt, posted with permission.  
This ruling was more about honour, not the law.  This was not just about equal ‘rights’ in daily living but more about a desire for equal ‘dignity’ – in other words ‘honour.’ In fact the conclusion of the document states : “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law”. photo (2)

As Al Mohler mentioned, this was about a desire for gay couples to feel like they were of equal worth and ‘belonged’. The arguments used in the ruling were cased in honour terminology. Here are quotes from the Supreme Court ruling.

  • “children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser…….marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples”.
  • “Especially against a long history of dis-approval of their relationships, this denial works a grave and continuing harm serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians”
  • “Men and women suffered pain and humiliation
  • “It is demeaning to lock same-sex couples out
  • “The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life”
  • “Far from seeking to devalue marriage, the petitioners seek it for themselves because of their respect and need for its privileges and responsibilities”
  • “The state must accord them its respect
  • “Many who deem same-sex marriage to be wrong reach that conclusion based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises  and neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.”
  • “Same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite sex couples and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.”

The document did not emphasise ‘justice’ in the eyes of the law, but ‘dignity’ in the eyes of the law.  

So what’s my point?  Although our research was initially with the purpose of better reaching Africa it may well be used on a different continent……as I’ve said before….if the West wants to reach the post-modern West with the gospel that will be heard at a heart level, it MUST factor in the reality of ‘honour’.  

People must come to understand true honour in Christ if they are ever going to be willing to put aside a desire for honour in the eyes of the world around them. (Read the complete post here.)

I’ll add three observations: 1-The word “dignity” appeared 30 times in the Supreme Court ruling. The word “respect” appeared 40 times. 2-The Supreme Court certainly was not the first to explain homosexual relations in honor-shame terms.

They did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. …Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, … For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:21-27. Curiously, the NRSV title for this section is “The Guilt of Humankind.”)

3. Justice Thomas’ dissenting brief included these insightful musings on the nature of human dignity and government (pp. 16-17; section IV).

[T]he majority goes to great lengths to assert that its decision will advance the “dignity” of same-sex couples. Ante, at 3, 13, 26, 28.8 The flaw in that reasoning, of course, is that the Constitution contains no “dignity” Clause, and even if it did, the government would be incapable of bestowing dignity.

Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

The majority’s musings are thus deeply misguided, but at least those musings can have no effect on the dignity of the persons the majority demeans. Its mischaracterization of the arguments presented by the States and their amici can have no effect on the dignity of those litigants. Its rejection of laws preserving the traditional definition of marriage can have no effect on the dignity of the people who voted for them. Its invalidation of those laws can have no effect on the dignity of the people who continue to adhere to the traditional definition of marriage. And its disdain for the understandings of liberty and dignity upon which this Nation was founded can have no effect on the dignity of Americans who continue to believe in them. 

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1 Comment on “Did the Supreme Court “Honor” Gays?

  1. Just as an aside, dignity is almost always at the core of what we term “basic human rights”. It represents an inherent, non-negotiable, non-variable type of social honor that likely every culture will gloss with a term distinct from its other honor-vocabulary. Great post and observations.

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