blind prejudice

By Diogenes (articles) | Jul 07, 2006

The NYT editorializes on yesterday's NY Supreme Court decision that ruled denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the State Constitution:

The ruling involved some twisted legal reasoning. Judges on both sides agreed that marriage is a fundamental right entitled to the highest level of constitutional protection. But the majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, an appointee of Gov. George Pataki, said this fundamental right applies only to heterosexuals. It said limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples could be based on a sense that children benefit from being raised by two natural parents, even without any hard evidence to show that.

No evidence could be hard enough to convince someone antecedently skeptical of this benefit, but in any case the NYT is misconstruing the decision. The Court did not deny the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage legislatively, it merely said that the legality does not exist under present law, and that the law itself is constitutionally kosher. "Plaintiffs have not persuaded us that this long-accepted restriction is a wholly irrational one, based solely on ignorance and prejudice against homosexuals."

But note where the NYT locates the burden of proof: it's the defenders of marriage -- i.e., what we're being constrained to call "traditional marriage" -- who must provide "hard evidence" to acquit themselves of bigotry. Before a hostile tribunal, no social institution can meet that standard.

The NYT for some time has featured same-sex unions in its wedding columns. Institutionally, it is player --not merely a reporter--in the culture wars. For the Times to damn Judge Smith's legal reasoning as "twisted" is, contrary to intention, no mean compliment.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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