Archive for March, 2013

Is that Lou on the Bench?

I nearly fell out of my chair.

Browsing through the NY Times yesterday I stumbled across a link that promised to regale me with a dissertation about Antonin Scalia’s attitude toward gay marriage. Expecting some humorous reading on an otherwise dull day, I clicked on it and was presented with a photo that purported to be the renowned Supreme Court Justice standing at a lectern.

Scalia at lectern

But, instead, there before me was Lou Costello. Lou, the master of buffoonery. The guy whose “Who’s on First” routine caused all of us to stumble as we vainly tried to repeat that classic baseball conversation between Lou and his pal, Bud Abbott.

Checking my calendar, I confirmed that it was about a week too early to be an April Fool’s joke. Was it possible that the NY Times had made an error? Could the world’s greatest newspaper have published the wrong image?

And then I thought…what difference does it make? Those two clowns are interchangeable. Except that Lou doesn’t have a seat on the Supreme Court.

There’s little doubt about the way Antonin swings on the subject of gay rights. In his 2003 dissent from the Court’s overturning of Texas sodomy laws he said… Americans have every right to enforce “the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct” in order to protect “themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.” On this first day of Passover, I’m sure that had he been serving in Pharaoh’s court he would have condoned the enslavement of the Jews as being a lifestyle appropriate for both the Egyptians and those who they had enslaved.

Similarly, last month he voiced his displeasure with the Voting Rights Act. Specifically, he dismissed the entire document as a perpetuation of racial entitlement. I doubt that neither Daniel Day Lewis nor Abraham Lincoln would have been shocked by his astounding repudiation of the thirteenth amendment.

But I shouldn’t selectively pick on Justice Scalia. At today’s first day of arguments centered on the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, Justice Alito had this to offer…You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution, which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?

Justice Kennedy echoed these thoughts by expressing concern for the unknown impact of allowing same-sex marriage…We have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more. There’s no point in rushing things, unless you are the discriminatee, not the discriminator.

Although Justice Thomas held firmly onto his avowed promise never to speak from the bench, I wonder what went through his mind when he thought about his wife, Virginia. A former aide to Dick Armey, a founder of Liberty Central, an advocacy group associated with the Tea Party, and coincidentally a white female. It was 1967 and Clarence was nineteen when the Supremes overturned state laws forbidding interracial marriage.

Perhaps gays and lesbians have not waited long enough. Perhaps they should retreat to public restrooms, back alleys and other clandestine hideaways. Perhaps they should wait while we further analyze the impact of letting two people who love each other do the same thing that other lovers do.

We’d be better off if Lou were on the bench.


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