Crisis in the Court
On June 26, the United States Supreme Court made a very telling decision. In the Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas, the court’s majority decided that the Constitution contains a fundamental right for homosexuals to engage in sodomy.
Besides establishing this right, the Lawrence decision has other dangerous ramifications.
Should morality be a deciding factor in upholding the laws of the land? If not, what does this do to the constitutional foundation of society, and furthermore, to the institution of family?
State anti-sodomy laws have existed in the U.S. since 1791, when the original 13 colonies ratified the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution. State after state enacted these laws until all 50 states had them. The present Supreme Court recently found the new fundamental sodomy right in the Fourteenth Amendment. But when the states ratified that amendment back in 1868, 32 of the 37 states in the U.S. had criminal sodomy laws. Those who drafted the amendment and the states that ratified it didn’t intend the amendment to apply to sodomy rights. That much is clear.
Sir William Blackstone, a legal scholar in the 18th century, wrote in a four-volume commentary on the common law of England (on which America’s common-law system was based) that homosexual acts were a capital offense, and an “infamous crime against nature … an offense of so dark a nature … the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature … a crime not fit to be named” (Bk. iv, p. 215). Most early Americans felt this way about homosexual sodomy.
Beginning in 1961, however, state courts began to strike down the anti-sodomy laws, or state legislatures repealed them. Yet 13 states, mostly in the Midwest and the Southeast, kept their anti-sodomy statutes. They retained these laws primarily as a moral sign that the citizens and their representatives in the state legislatures thought sodomy to be an unlawful and immoral act.
In 1998, Texas, one of these 13 states, charged John Lawrence and Tyron Garner with committing sodomy. Lawrence and Garner planned and arranged their arrest specifically to challenge the law prohibiting sodomy.
Morality and Law
The Supreme Court agreed in March of 2003 to hear the joint case. It issued its ruling three months later, in June. Six out of nine Supreme Court Justices concluded that the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment guaranteed the right for people to engage in sodomy, asserting that all anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional.
Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy stated, “[Homosexuals] are entitled to respect for their private lives. The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” The syllabus of the case, summarizing the reasoning behind the ruling, said this: “(1) The fact a state’s governing majority has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice, and (2) individual decisions concerning the intimacies of physical relationships, even when not intended to produce offspring, are a form of ‘liberty’ protected by due process.”
Justice O’Connor agreed with the majority’s judgment. She wrote that a state couldn’t justify a law based on morals alone; there must be some other “state interest” to defend an anti-sodomy statute, or it would be discriminatory against homosexuals. Moral disapproval, as a basis for an anti-sodomy law, is like “a bare desire to harm the group,” she wrote.
What makes that statement so absurd is that all criminal laws in the U.S. are based on morality!
As Justice Scalia wrote in the minority opinion, “State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers’ validation of laws based on moral choices [referring to a 1986 Supreme Court case]. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today’s decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding. … The impossibility of distinguishing homosexuality from other traditional ‘morals’ offenses is precisely why Bowers rejected the rational-basis challenge. ‘The law,’ it said, ‘is constantly based on notions of morality, and if all laws representing essentially moral choices are to be invalidated under the Due Process Clause, the courts will be very busy indeed.’”
By deciding this case with the notion that law cannot be based on morality, the Court is demonstrating a shallow understanding about the nature and purpose for law. And as Justice Scalia implied, this type of thinking has tremendous implications.
Effects on the Constitution
The effects of the Supreme Court’s ruling are quite far-reaching. They go beyond the specific content of the ruling. The way this case was decided amounts to an attack on the U.S. Constitution.
With the Lawrence decision, the high court has once again proved that it is perfectly willing to form a politically desirable conclusion while making tortured interpretations of the Constitution to supposedly support its view. In this case, it ruled against anti-sodomy laws. But in 1973, in Roe v. Wade, the conclusion was that women have a right to abort their unborn children for any reason—and states cannot have laws prohibiting abortion.
Rather than studying that document and appropriate precedents that stem from it, the justices decide upon a politically desirable result and then try to justify their decision with a new constitutional right they claim to have found—a right that has supposedly been hidden for 200 years!
Writing about the Supreme Court in his book The Tempting of America, former federal appellate court judge Robert Bork correctly noted that some justices believe that “judges may create new principles or destroy old ones, thus altering the principles actually to be found in the Constitution.” Judge Bork’s observation is truly alarming!
This method of ruling is known as judicial activism. It has an official name because the method is commonly recognized. The problem is, it isn’t the justices’ job to make rulings based on their own views. Their job is to make rulings based on the Constitution, the document on which this country was founded. If courts are allowed to circumvent the Constitution, then the document has no purpose.
Ultimately, if the high court continues on its present path, it will become a political organization with nine intellectually elite justices who dictate laws to the American people—without any accountability to voters. Instead of justices in the Supreme Court, America will get lifetime politicians with definite agendas—agendas that may not sit well with the public they are supposed to serve.
While the framers of the Constitution intended the nation’s laws to be created by a democratically elected legislature, today all that is needed is for one person who represents a small group to raise a test case, such as Lawrence, that will make it to the sympathetic high court. Then the court can legislate from the bench by making or repealing laws with their decisions. Lately the court is simply bypassing Congress and making its own laws.
As William Rees-Mogg wrote, “[T]he Supreme Court has repeatedly taken to itself decisions which were originally intended to belong to the democratic process of the individual states. It has been said that ‘the Supreme Court has raped the Constitution’” (Times, London, July 7).
The nation’s founders intended that the Supreme Court decide cases based on the law—the Constitution, which was based to a great extent on the Ten Commandments (request our free booklet No Freedom Without Law). The Supreme Court is attacking the foundation of this nation.
Attacking Marriage and Family
It is not just America’s underpinning of law that suffered from the Lawrence decision; the Supreme Court has also struck a blow at America’s families.
The legal system now considers homosexuality an official legal classification, such as race or gender, accepted under the law. How does that affect families? The dissenting justices in Lawrence addressed this issue.
In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote, “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”
Focusing on how the majority’s decision will affect homosexual marriage, Justice Scalia wrote, “At the end of its opinion … the Court [majority] says that the present case ‘does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.’ Do not believe it.”
He is saying the decision will lead to legalized homosexual marriage. How?
The Lawrence decision entitles homosexuals to the same rights as heterosexual people. All 50 states presently license only heterosexual couples to be married. Since this now discriminates against homosexuals, a legally recognized classification of person, state marriage laws will eventually be challenged in court as being unconstitutional—unless of course the marriage laws change to treat all people equally. Actually, there are already cases in many state courts about the right for homosexuals to be married—and the parties are using the implications and wording of the Lawrence decision to back up their claims against the states.
Another harmful effect on the family is how adoption laws will be affected. Many states don’t allow homosexuals to adopt children—but that will soon have to change, since those adoption laws also discriminate against homosexuals.
The family unit in America is rapidly disintegrating. The Supreme Court is hastening its decline. This is so because the court has the power to force every state, district, county, city and town to comply with its rulings. Homosexuals have won a major battle—courtesy of America’s high court. As Justice Scalia put it, the court “has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.”
Such is the end result of America’s humanly devised political system. The outcome will be akin to that of ancient Israel in the time of the judges. At that time, no power was extant to define true right and wrong, no standard of righteousness was enforced, and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jud. 21:25).
Justice Is Coming
The great American political experiment has had its day. Its system of justice is weighed in the balance and found wanting. There is left only one way for Americans to see true justice.
The greatest law book in existence, the Holy Bible, foretold this crisis in the court. Speaking of the end time, the Prophet Micah declared that those in seats of judgment and authority in America (part of modern-day Israel) would be unjust: “Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity” (Mic. 3: 9).
The Scriptures prophesy that leaders in America—including the Supreme Court justices—would be pernicious. But just as the Bible prophesies of lawless leaders, it also prophesies of a supreme, lawful leader. That leader is Jesus Christ (Ps. 98:8-9).
In No Freedom Without Law, Gerald Flurry wrote, “Christ came the first time for a great purpose. ‘And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see [or think they see, but are wrong] might be made blind’ (John 9:39). Christ came to this world for the purpose of judgment, or justice” (p. 13).
Mr. Flurry continued, “But the second time He comes, Christ will enforce His justice based on God’s law of love. He will rule according to what is right and wrong.” Jesus Christ will return and administer true justice with the God family in the Kingdom of God.
At that time, the King of kings will teach mankind what the family is and how the physical family is a type of the spiritual family of God. To better understand this truth, request our free book The God Family Vision.
Isaiah the prophet foresaw the time when Christ would return and establish the glorious Kingdom of God. “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:7). Soon, Jesus Christ will return and with His family He will establish the Kingdom of God with righteous law, justice and judgment!