The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property—TFP vehemently protests the “profoundly immoral and unjust”1 majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges which imposed same-sex “marriage” on America by judicial fiat.
The sacred institution of marriage—established by God in Paradise for our first parents, Adam and Eve,2 and which has been seriously undermined by the moral crisis devastating Western society since the sixties—suffered a tremendous blow on June 26, 2015.
In the most powerful nation on earth today, five liberal judges reinterpreted the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to discover that it contains a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage.”
The Court Rejects God and His Law
When declaring America’s independence from Great Britain and forming a new political unity, our founding fathers placed “the rectitude of [their] intentions” before God as the “Supreme Judge of the world.”
In this landmark decision, however, the majority basks cynically in an atheistic, implied rejection of God and His right to be adored and obeyed by men, His creatures, not just individually, but as a society.
A Skewed Understanding of Liberty…
Written by liberal Catholic Justice Anthony Kennedy—who was joined by fellow liberal Catholic Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Ginsburg—the majority opinion ignores the physical liberty plainly meant by the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment3 and embraces an evolving and anarchy-favoring reading of what human moral liberty is supposed to be: Liberty understood as license, whereby man is free to do as he pleases, regardless if the action is good or evil. In doing this, the Court implicitly rejected a proper understanding of liberty found in the perennial moral teaching of the Catholic Church, which, echoing natural law4 and the Ten Commandments, defines human moral liberty as our freedom to pursue all that is good and our duty to avoid all that is evil.5
…Informed by Moral Relativism
In Obergefell, Justice Kennedy builds on the moral relativism undergirding the majority opinion he authored in Lawrence v. Texas— a decision that went down in history as having “decreed the end of all morals legislation”6—when the Supreme Court discovered in the same Fourteenth Amendment a constitutional right to the practice of sodomy. Now, twelve years later, Justice Kennedy explains further his liberty-as-license perspective:
Lawrence therefore drew upon principles of liberty and equality to define and protect the rights of gays and lesbians, holding the State “cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” This dynamic also applies to same-sex marriage. It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality.7
The Court Breaks with History and Tradition
Kennedy cynically affirms that this “Nation’s traditions make clear that marriage is a keystone of our social order”8 and that “[t]he right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition, but rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.”9
“[T]hese [fundamental] liberties extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices that define personal identity and beliefs.”10
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimension, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”11
“The right of same-sex couples to marry that is part of the liberty promised by the Fourteenth Amendment is derived, too, from that Amendment’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws. The Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause are connected in a profound way though they set forth independent principles….This interrelation of the two principles furthers our understanding of what freedom is and must become.”12
This evolving notion of liberty is the Supreme Court’s justification for rupturing with history, destroying tradition, and redefining marriage. Since Herodotus started recording the history of nations and peoples, thousands of years ago, nowhere do we find lawful same-sex “marriage.”13 Not in lustful Rome. Not in dissolute Greece. Not in the horrors of Communist China or Castro’s Cuba. Not even in the divinely chastised cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Chief Justice Roberts’ Inexcusably Weak Dissent
Regrettably, Chief Justice Roberts’ dissent was weak and included concessions to the homosexual movement such as: “Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us….” “Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling….” “The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition.”14
More importantly, Roberts’ dissent shares by omission in the majority’s implied denial of the obligation of every man, and therefore of society, to do good and to avoid evil. There is no discussion much less condemnation of the unnaturalness and intrinsic immorality of the homosexual act, which lies at the root of every same-sex “marriage.”15
With the attention of America riveted on the issue, Roberts’ dissent could have been used as an ideal “teaching moment” that a moral wrong can never become a civil right, steering America’s conservative reaction onto the high ground where it belongs.
None of the Dissents Defended Natural Law
Of the three other dissenting opinions only that of Justice Thomas comes close to mentioning our obligations under Natural Law, but only in a fleeting manner. He quotes John Locke and Thomas Rutherforth but does not develop this line of thought.16 While he expounds ably our constitutional political liberty and correctly denounces the majority’s misconception of the physical liberty alluded to in the Fourteenth Amendment, he does not denounce their erroneous view of man’s moral liberty.
On the Cusp of a Religious Persecution
Both majority and dissenting opinions talk about the impact of this decision on the free exercise of religion in America. The latter show evident concern that it stands threatened, and they should be worried. Just as the homosexual movement fought for the legalization of same-sex “marriage” so that homosexuality would be accepted as normal and homosexual acts would be considered equal to the marital act, it will now push to further erode and eventually extirpate the expression of Christian morality from society.17
This decision increases the country’s growing polarization. If before this decision anti-discrimination laws around the country were already being used to elevate homosexuals to a privileged class, giving rise to many incidents of egregious and unjust persecution (e.g. bakers, florists, photographers, CEOs, teachers, etc.), what will the nation witness in the decision’s wake?
The world knows how religious Americans are. What will happen when our fundamental right to adore God above all things and obey His Law is effectively denied because it runs contrary to the new constitutional right of homosexuals and their media- and now government-privileged status? What conflicts will this religious persecution engender? Will it lead to civil war?
Did the Court’s majority weigh possible outcomes before opening this Pandora’s Box?
Christians Must Resist This Unjust Law
In this ever more intense Culture War, all Americans who consider themselves faithful disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ “must obey God rather than men”18 and peacefully and legally resist legalized same-sex “marriage” for the unjust and unconstitutional law it is.
As Most Rev. Joseph E. Strickland, Bishop of Tyler, Texas, reminds us:
We know that unjust laws and other measures contrary to the moral order are not binding in conscience, thus we must now exercise our right to conscientious objection against this interpretation of our law which is contrary to the common good and the true understanding of marriage.19
In 2003, addressing the growing threat of legalized homosexual unions around the world, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons. This instruction to the universal Church was signed by the Congregation’s Prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) and Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato. The Vatican document insists that, “any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws” and even any “material cooperation on the level of their application” must be avoided. “In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”20
Our Bishops Should Excommunicate Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor
In this monumental fight, we pray that our spiritual leaders will wield their shepherds’ staffs courageously, reinvigorating discipline, strengthening the faith of good Catholics, and dispensing appropriate punishment to bad ones.
The Vatican Considerations document quoted above also addresses the responsibility of Catholic politicians (and, by extension, judges who legislate from the bench) whose public lives must be “consistent with Christian conscience.” The document states:
If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legalization of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians…. The Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.21
For the great harm done to the sacred institution of marriage, the family in America, and the common good of the nation, Associate Justices Kennedy and Sotomayor should be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.
Legalized Same-Sex “Marriage”: A Sin of the Nation
As in its unjust Roe v. Wade decision, which imposed legal procured abortion on America, so too now, and abusing its authority, the U.S. Supreme Court has consummated a collective sin of the nation, which will draw God’s justice and chastisement upon us, because the sins of nations are punished in this life, not in the next. In His justice, God rewards or chastises nations in this life for the good or evil they do, because unlike individuals they are incapable of being rewarded or chastised in eternity.22
This truth makes us fear for the nation. We draw comfort, however, that principled and loyal resistance to this sin does not pass unnoticed by God. The resistance that needs to occur is precisely the means of averting Divine wrath and drawing instead His mercy on America.
We Are Certain of Final Victory
If Christians in America fight in this way they have every reason to confide in God’s assistance, for as Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the first TFP in Brazil, reminded us:
“Omnia possum in eo qui me confortat” (“I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” – Phil. 4:13).
When men resolve to cooperate with the grace of God, the marvels of history are worked: the conversion of the Roman Empire; the formation of the Middle Ages; the reconquest of Spain, starting from Covadonga; all the events that result from the great resurrections of soul of which peoples are also capable. These resurrections are invincible, because nothing can defeat a people that is virtuous and truly loves God.23
In her seemingly impossible quest, Saint Joan of Arc ever reminded her troops: “If we fight, God will give the victory!”
And in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, when appearing to the three little shepherd children to deliver the Message for our times, the Mother of God assured us of Her ultimate victory: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
May the loving and faithful resistance of millions of Americans to this unjust law attract God’s mercy and blessings on the nation, and may the prayers of Mary Most Holy bring special graces that change hearts and minds, thus making America truly and enduringly “one nation under God.”
Spring Grove, Penn., June 29, 2015
The American TFP
- Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, “Supreme Court Decision on Marriage ‘A Tragic Error’ Says President of Bishops’ Conference,” June 26, 2015, at http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-103.cfm, accessed June 29, 2015.
- “And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam. And Adam said…. Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.” (Gen. 2:22-24).
- “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Section 1. (Our emphasis.)
- Natural law informs our oldest legal traditions as evidenced by this quote from Sir William Blackstone: “This law of nature, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original” (Commentaries on the Laws of England [Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1765], 1:41).
- Cf. Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Libertas, June 1888, at http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_20061888_libertas.html, accessed June 29, 2015.
- Lawrence v. Texas, J. Scalia, dissenting opinion, section IV.
- Obergefell v. Hodges, majority opinion, p. 22. (Our emphasis.)
- Ibid., p. 16.
- Ibid., pp. 18-19. (Our emphasis.)
- Ibid., p. 10.
- Ibid., p. 11. (Our emphasis.)
- Ibid., p. 19. (Our emphasis.)
- “No country allowed same-sex couples to marry until the Netherlands did so in 2000.” Obergefell v. Hodges, J. Alito, dissenting opinion, p. 3.
- Obergefell v. Hodges, C.J. Roberts, dissenting opinion, p. 2.
- Sacred Scripture and the perennial moral teaching of the Church have always categorized homosexual acts as intrinsically evil as they are contrary to nature, and always sterile, closing the sexual act to the gift of life.
- “Locke described men as existing in a state of nature, possessed of the ‘perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature…” J. Thomas, dissenting opinion, p. 7. (Our emphasis.) “Rutherforth explained that ‘[t]he only restraint, which a mans right over his own actions is originally under, is the obligation of governing himself by the law of nature, and the law of God.’” Ibid., p. 8fn.
- The railroading of same-sex “marriage” on the American people helps us understand better what homosexual activist Paul Varnell wrote: “The gay movement, whether we acknowledge it or not, is not a civil rights movement, not even a sexual liberation movement, but a moral revolution aimed at changing people’s view of homosexuality.” Paul Varnell, “Defending Our Morality,” Chicago Free Press, Aug. 16, 2000.
- Acts 5:29.
- Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, “Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision,” June 26, 2015, at https://www.dioceseoftyler.org/news/2015/06/bishop-stricklands-statement-on-u-s-supreme-court-decision/ accessed June 28, 2015.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, no. 5, at www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html, accessed June 28, 2015.
- Ibid., no. 10.
- This is the underlying thesis expressed throughout Saint Augustine’s famous City of God.
- Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), p. 104, at http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/books/revolution-and-counter-revolution-v15-1370.html, accessed June 29, 2015.