Saturday, July 26, 2008

Supreme Deception: the Right to Deceive, Part III

Even on the surface, the idea of same-sex marriage must be either a lie or a deceit; hence, any court’s opinion that is engaged in “legalizing” such a thing must also be replete with lies or immersed in deception. In “redefining” marriage without admitting that it has done so, the Supreme Court of California’s opinion is riddled with deceptions. The California Supreme Court has masked its reduction of marriage to the mere legality that it conferred on civil unions by using the misleading terms “family relationship” and “family unit” to describe homosexual relationships and civil unions. Furthermore, the Court’s opinion use of this misleading terminology generates the appearance that previous courts' opinions and precedents support the benefits of, and state interests in, gay marriage. In fact, the opinion refers to no evidence whatsoever from previous case law or precedent that the state has either an abiding interest in, or that individuals derive substantial benefit from, gay marriage.

Whether by design or by incompetence, the Court’s opinion uses circular reasoning throughout. The opinion supposes that marriage is not between a man and a woman so that it may find an offended class and conclude that marriage, indeed, must not be only between a man and a woman. Finally, not satisfied with an opinion that is so inadequate that it deceives only the public, the Court produces several passages in which it seems to have conferred the right to deceive the public on the plaintiffs. Deceiving people is what the Court has, directly or indirectly, sanctioned by its discussion of “privacy rights” on page 105 below:

“Plaintiffs point out that one consequence of the coexistence of two parallel types of familial relationship (marriage and domestic partnerships) is that — in the numerous everyday social, employment, and governmental settings in which an individual is asked whether he or she “is married or single” — an individual who is a domestic partner and who accurately responds to the question by disclosing that status will (as a realistic matter) be disclosing his or her homosexual orientation, even if he or she would rather not do so under the circumstances and even if that information is totally irrelevant in the setting in question.”

The opinion of the majority in “re Marriages” explains that disclosing one’s sexual orientation is protected under a right to privacy, but the Court’s resolution of the issue should not be to sanction intentional deception as a remedy. Under this court’s ruling same sex couples may mislead an employer, whether it is a government office or a private enterprise, by leading individuals to believe that their status is heterosexual. That is, they may rest assured that when they say they are married , their employer or insurance company will understand the ordinary sense of the word and assume they are heterosexual. Doesn’t the state have an interest in deploring all acts of deception, especially as it relates to its own offices? Instead, this court has sanctioned the deceptions and provided the means of deception. Is deception, then, simply a matter of course and necessity to the California Supreme Court? Shall we consider this evidence of the intention of the court itself to deceive the public with its ruling and its opinion? Doesn't it seem that the court recognizes that the high end of “equality” justifies deception? Should we assume that the Court itself with its high view of equality and equity felt that, for itself too, deception as practically necessary is a dogma worthy of application? If we should so decide, fellow Californians, what then should we do? You know very well what you must do. You must recall these judges.

Nor is the foregoing deception seemingly advocated by the Court without potentially serious implications for insurance, credit, and medical institutions. Although the court recognized that some of these requests for information are not relevant, the discretion on when to deceive seems to be entirely in the hands of a member of a same sex partnership.

Some may argue that the destruction of the word marriage and its meaning would result in “marriage” would no longer implying heterosexuality. Hence, there would be no deception. However, until the process of reconstructing documents in which one’s sexual orientation is necessary information and, instance by instance, allowing courts to decide upon this necessity, many instances of deception on important matters will have been perpetrated and seemingly sanctioned by this Court.

Nor is such deception a necessary instrument for achieving equality in the United States of America. No one can seriously imagine women seeking equal opportunity being able to get away with bubbling in "man" on their employment applications. No, in order to equalize the playing field women proudly declared their gender and insisted on access. Likewise, African Americans proudly declared their identities as they demanded the equal rights they were entitled to under the law.

Perhaps religions have had the "option" of “going public” with their beliefs through the years. Notice how well that has gone? The religions such as Islam that state their creeds by their apparel and their deeds have a far greater opportunity for recognition and accommodation under U.S. Laws than do the more timid believers who obey court and statute despite the outcry of their consciences. Secrecy is no ally of civil rights. Not only does the Court appear to confer the right to deceive on a special segment of the population, it undermines the very equality is seeks to establish. The gay community ought to rise up and vote “yes” on California’s proposition 8, not only so they are not embarrassed by being part of a ruling that must go down in infamy, but so that their own movement for equal rights and recognition is not undermined by legally sanctioned duplicities.

On page 117-118 the Court issues a pronouncement that, essentially, concedes the right to deceive to all same sex couples in California while, at the same time, insisting that all citizens of the state of California who have direct dealings with the state government perpetrate deception on others:

“As discussed above, (page 81) because of the long and celebrated history of the term ‘marriage’ and the widespread understanding that this word describes a family relationship (my italics) unreservedly sanctioned by the community, the statutory provisions that continue to limit access to this designation exclusively to opposite-sex couples — while providing only a novel, alternative institution for same-sex couples — likely will be viewed as an official statement that the family relationship of same-sex couples is not of comparable stature or equal dignity to the family relationship of opposite-sex couples.”

First of all, the word marriage does not refer to the commonly understood words “family relationship.” The new terminology introduced by the George court names marriage a “family relationship.” In the same way that a cursory reading of this ruling and an assumption of judiciary accuracy with language might mislead a reader, the use of the term “marriage” for same sex couples has the potential for misleading many citizens of the state and the nation. The problem is that, if nothing else, same sex civil unions are very novel, and indeed they are an alternate relationship relative to that of traditional marriage. Novel and alternative are not pejoratives, nor should anyone expect them to be.

By the courts own admission, by its stated design, the venerable history of marriage will be conferred, naturally, on same sex couples. However, that is deceptive precisely because same sex unions have no history at all. The application of the commonly understood word to marriage to same sex couples is, therefore misleading and deceptive. Even if there is a tradition of prejudice towards gay couples, prejudice in every other area of American life is not overcome by way of deception. Prejudice is overcome by being who we are, and by proving, with the equal opportunities we are granted, that hurtful prejudgments are no more than the products of ignorance.

Marriage has a long and celebrated history and has been widely sanctioned in every community in history (even if not always faithfully adhered to!) because of what it is. The use of the word “marriage” in California is now new, controversial, and alternate from every other known use of the word for 6,000 years of recorded history. Let us as Californians be clear about this: marriage in California now, under the ruling of the George court, no longer means “marriage.” If you think it does, you are deceived. If after reading this series of articles you are deceived, then you are deceiving yourself. However, when state employees, whether they be doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, policemen, or firemen say “marriage,” the common understanding of marriage will come to the mind of the hearers. Government employees everywhere may be directed to say “marriage” with the intended new meaning concocted by this court; however, those that hear what they say will not necessarily understand what is meant. Indeed, who really can understand this definition of marriage as a “family relationship” given meaning through a concoction of legal rights pulled from a seascape of irrelevant references?

The entire progress of this Court’s legislation, and it is certainly that, and its explanations are immersed in deception. It is by this means that it seeks to persuade us of its equanimity in making us its partners in its deceptions. Whether these deceptions are accidental or intended, we will all be employed in them. This court's ruling, whether by incompetence or by malice, evinces a design to reduce us under an absolute despotism of the state. It demands that we ourselves become the instruments of deception. The state can stand in no greater tyranny to its subjects than that it demand them to dissemble in order to comply with its dictates.

On page 8 of this opinion, Judge George wrote,

“We need not decide in this case whether the name ‘marriage’ is invariably a core element of the state constitutional right to marry so that the state would violate a couple’s constitutional right even if — perhaps in order to emphasize and clarify that this civil institution is distinct from the religious institution of marriage — the state were to assign a name other than marriage as the official designation of the formal family relationship for all couples.”

This is incorrect. If the opinion of this court is that marriage is no longer marriage and that one new institution is fitting for all, then let the Court proudly proclaim this! Instead, this court lets stand a document that rids California of marriage entirely without even the slightest acknowledgment of its radicalism. The Court seems to embrace deception for a remedy to the plaintiffs claims of privacy and its ruling encourages the deception of the entire state by insisting that government officials use a new, and impossibly complex and incoherent legal definition in communicating with children and minors about marriage.

Oh... no adults would be lying to children… Oh, no… And fear not California, your little children will not be deceived. No, even they know what marriage is. Instead, they will assume that policemen, firemen, teachers, doctors and nurses are cowardly liars or deluded morons. Good work Chief Justice George, and let us give thanks to all those members of the court that concurred.


Shaboog said...

You're a sad, sad man.
But thank you for commenting on my page, I was worried it was just read by my mother and my friends.
Glad I have fans.
By the way, I'd give up that "no kids produced = no marriage" argument, it's ridiculously flawed.

paulbenedict said...

I'm not sure which comment you're referring to. It's the Court of California that calls and called domestic partnership "family relationships." Look it up on Marriage, its dictionary definition is not a family, is not (just) fidelity to an oath, is not (just loving feelings). Marriage is marriage.

robert said...

Your Church recognizes the validity of civil marriages that are only for this life and not eternity, even though this is not how your God intended it.

Yet they distinguish between a civil marriage and a covenant made between the marriage parties and your Heavenly Father (definitely not mine).
In other words, there is not a religious covenant made in a civil marriage, but two people are allowed to marry outside of the Temple and are not breaking the law of chastity when they consummate such marriages. So, why should it matter who marries in a civil marriage, when your Heavenly Father's plan for marriage is only through the Temple, anyway?

I wonder if the official position against civil marriage between homosexuals is simply a result of the social beliefs of older members of the Church who are now in positions of responsibility within the Church much like has been in the past with Church leaders from decades ago regarding interracial relationships, which were illegal for a long time in most states in the US.

paulbenedict said...

In a round about way, this post makes some sense. If marriage is a "civil right" and "inalienable right" it exists for people prior to society or government. Some people don't believe they can get married without a "preacher." If this is what they believe, then marriage is not an inalienable right. However, most believe that marriage exists independent of any particular religious beliefs. The spontaneous ability of folks to get married, by that I mean the dictionary definition, is part of what we are as humans. Religions often seek to explain what we are.

Again, same sex couples that want to get "married" are using the word to mean something different than what it means. In other words they don't want to get married; they want to do some other thing and have everyone pretend with them that what they've done is marriage. Sorry, that's too silly for words and dangerous to everyone in government.

robert said...
The Town Crier
"The spontaneous ability of folks to get married, by that I mean the dictionary definition, is part of what we are as humans. Religions often seek to explain what we are."

As religions seek to explain "what we are," they are not in civil law sanctioned to 'DEFINE what we are'(although they certainly try) Therefore, it makes no sense to apply such biased 'explanations' in defining participants in a civil marriage.

Mormons and fundamentalist christians just want everyone to believe as they do like we are children who cannot think for ourselves. Your mythology is not interesting to everyone. If you want to believe in talking snakes or heads in hats and seer stones that is your business, but keep it out of my civil rights.

paulbenedict said...

Hi Robert,

Marriage happens in every society in history no matter what the religious belief is. Free people pursuing happiness get married all the time. Atheists get married... the definition is in the dictionary. Religions often try to explain the meaning of marriage, but marriage is still marriage. Marriage, in its dictionary definition, is a fundamental right of free people.

The folks passing laws trying to insist that everyone believe what they believe are, currently, not the Christians. Nope... the gay community and those that support the George Court are the religiously intolerant... aren't they?

If I insist on the dictionary definition of marriage or family, then these people act "holier than thou," begin condemning and name calling... then they pass unconstitutional laws by deceptive means... the entire time demonizing whom? People that believe the Bible... Some folks need new friends... Try a church.

robert said...

Direct from Webster's

"Main Entry:
mar·riage Listen to the pronunciation of marriage

Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry
14th century

1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage same-sex marriage b: the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock c: the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities3: an intimate or close union "

See (2) above. Maybe I should check out Westboro Baptist Church this weekend...unfortunately I live in Vietnam.

paulbenedict said...

(2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship


of a traditional marriage same-sex marriage union

Webster's is trying to reflect current usage, but it cannot bring itself to say same sex unions ARE traditional marriages. That's basically what the Court is trying to do... It can’t of course either. The Court’s definition is not 1 AND 2 as given in Webster’s. The Court doesn't say "domestic partnerships will now be called marriages" (which is deceptive enough, even as you chosen dictionary shows). No, the Court's definition is even more impossibly vague. You might want to read a few more articles on my blog...

There are plenty of churches in Vietnam that teach Christianity, or Buddhism, or even tolerance for other humans and the role of reason is political thought.