Friday, May 16, 2008

On the homosexuality thing

I am not above engaging in typical blog behavior and weighing in on current events. The California supreme court declared that laws prohibiting gay marriage violate the California constitional right to marriage. Specifically, the statement goes:

Furthermore, in contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians,whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples.

Where do I begin? If I was going to analyze this from a Catholic point of view, I would have to break down the relevant issues into a list--for there are several. Those issues do not form a single conglomerate, but belong to different major groups. The biggest questions would be those concerning:

  1. The relationship between morality, law, and public values.
  2. The origin and nature of the "right to privacy" and the role of government in legislating matters that have private dimensions and public ramifications.
  3. The precise reasons for special cultural and/or religious opposition to homosexual behavior.
  4. The public ramifications of homosexuality (a) as open and practiced, (b) as defining unions that become the center of a family in charge of raising children, and (c) as recognized on equal terms with heterosexuality as a basis for marriage.
  5. The role of the Supreme Court, and the instruments it uses, in determining the conformity of legislation to a constitution.
  6. How homosexuality fits within the context of civil rights, and whether it has distinctive characteristics in this context.
  7. The definition of marriage, the definition of the "right to marry", and the public qualities of marriage as distinct from concrete legal priviledges granted to couples as such.

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