Action Alert!

Honest judges in Italy

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Feb 11, 2015

Italy may yet save the world. The top Italian court has found nothing in the Constitution that requires government to recognize same-sex marriage. It observed only that same-sex couples have the same right to legal protection as other unmarried couplies.

This is a remarkable decision. In many other countries around the world, recognition of same-sex unions or even full same-sex marriages has already been granted, not infrequently through courts which, in theory, are charged with deciding constitutionality, not morality. The same has been true for many redefinitions of human rights—the right to abortion, the right to suicide, and so on.

The US Supreme Court is widely expected to settle the question for all states in favor of same-sex marriage early this Summer. Of course, a majority of US states and many entire countries have also arrived at this conclusion through legislative action. A certain peculiarity of “representative” government may be noted here, in those cases where plebiscites recognize marriage as a union of a man and a woman, yet legislatures and courts somehow find the people wrong.

Still, it is refreshing to find a high court which actually examines the text of the constitution which it is supposed to adjudicate. No shadows of penumbras for the Italians! Granted, same-sex marriage may still be legalized by the legislative branch. After all, the French, who once lived by the proverb “Vive la difference!”, legalized same-sex civil unions in 2011 and same-sex marriage in 2013.

But the Court of Cassation in Italy at least makes no pretense of finding the difference between men and women erased in the Italian constitution. Credit where credit is due: We have reached the point where mere judicial honesty is a victory.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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