In the nineteenth century, the courts agreed that it was necessary for the State to acknowledge the biblical requirement of monogamy over against polygamy (many wives). Marriage is by definition a union of one man and one woman.
The courts justified their rulings because of moral absolutes found in the Christian religion. What was true of polygamy was equally true of homosexuality since homosexuality was illegal in all the states, including the Mormon-populated state of Utah. The arguments against polygamy applied to homosexuality with little or no debate.
In The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States (1890), the court determined that “[t]he organization of a community for the spread and practice of polygamy is, in a measure, a return to barbarism. It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity had produced in the Western world.”
If the Supreme Court rules to strike down the decision of the voters of California to prohibit homosexual marriage, there won’t be anything standing in the way of people who want to have multiple husbands and wives.
In his dissent in the Romer v. Evans (1996) decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the following:
“Has the Court concluded that the perceived social harm of polygamy is a ‘legitimate concern of government,’ and the perceived social harm of homosexuality is not?”
The legal door will be open for the next minority group to argue for their marriage rights. Don’t be surprised if NAMBLA (The North American Man/Boy Love Association) becomes more public with its claim that sex with children is just as valid as same-sex sex and multiple marriage partners.
In Davis v. Beason (1890) the Supreme Court came to a similar conclusion using a religious argument:
“Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States, and they are crimes by the laws of Idaho. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman, and to debase man. Few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society, and receive more general or more deserved punishment. To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind.”
Without any way to account for making laws other than judicial or legislative fiat, anything goes if there is no outside reference point for judgment. What’s legal today could, on the judgment of five of nine justices, be illegal tomorrow.
There has been an almost universal prohibition of homosexuality, condemned by both church and State for thousands of years. “When the first great book on the English Legal system was written — [William] Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England — its author referred to sodomy as ‘the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast . . . the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature.'”1
As in England and the rest of Europe, sodomy was illegal in the thirteen American colonies. Nothing changed with the drafting of the Constitution in 1787. No supposed “right to privacy” was put in the Constitution that legalized the practice. These early Christian politicians, lawyers, and statesmen saw no problem in mixing religion with politics in the case of sodomy.
A ruling by the Supreme Court to legalize homosexual marriage will place a moral burden on 97 percent of the population that does not engage in homosexuality. Once homosexual marriage is legalized, every American citizen and business will have to submit to the ruling. And I can assure you that any resistance will be met with severe retribution by lawyers representing the powerful homosexual lobby.
- Quoted in William Dannemeyer, Shadow in the Land: Homosexuality in America (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1989), 57. [↩]