Why the Catholic Position on Homosexual Marriage Is Not Mere Bigotry (But Still Is Mistaken)

by Gene Callahan

“Summum autem bonum si ignoratur, vivendi rationem ignorari necesse est.”* — Cicero

My friend Roger Koppl, in a recent discussion on this blog, contended that the only reason anyone might object to legalizing gay marriage is “bigotry.” Now, it is always a good bit o’ fun to insult one’s political opponents like this, but it may not always be helpful. So, I wish to take a moment here to demonstrate that at least the Catholic position contra gay marriage is not based on mere bigotry. Continue reading

Judicial Empathy

by Roger Koppl

Thomas Sowell and others have criticized Ombama’s call for “empathy” from the bench.  Criticizing the Sotomayor nomination, he says, “ ‘Empathy’ for particular groups can be reconciled with ‘equal justice under law’– the motto over the entrance to the Supreme Court– only with smooth words. But not in reality.” 

I have my doubts about Sotomayor.  For example, I fear she may too readily defer to law enforcement.  (See here and here.)  I think the quoted remark of Sowell is mistaken, however.  Empathy is a friend to justice.  Continue reading

Ideas have consequences

by Roger Koppl 

Last month the Los Angeles Times reported, “California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to invalidate the voter-approved ban on gay marriage.”  Brown’s brief argues that the states’ constitution protects liberty and privacy as “inalienable” rights, the courts have protected gay marriage under those constitutional principles, and the citizens cannot overturn such inalienable rights by majority vote.  “Voters are allowed to amend other parts of the Constitution by majority vote, but to use the ballot box to take away an ‘inalienable’ right would establish a ‘tyranny of the majority,’ which the Constitution was designed, in part, to prevent, he wrote.”  He was talking about California’s constitution, but he appealed to principles that were embodied in the founding the documents of the US, including  the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and the U.S. Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution did more than erect some formal governance structures.  It  embedded the ideal of ordered liberty in our political culture.  That ideal has been trampled on by the Republicans only to be picked up, dusted off, and put to good use by the Democrats.  The principles of liberalism still have an honored place in our political system.  I hope we can build on them to dismantle some of the structures of tyranny erected under Bush.