Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Correcting Rick G.'s reading of my argument

In my book, I specifcally declined to argue that a state's refusal to call same-sex unions "marriages" violates the Constitution.  (This is an issue that has divided some state courts--state courts that have ruled that a state's refusal to extend the benefit of law to same-sex unions violates the state constitution.)  I argued only that a state's refusal to extend the benefit of law to same-sex unions violates the Constitution.  (Whether SCOTUS should so rule is another matter.)

BTW, Proposition 8 spoke only to the "naming" issue:  In California, well before the state court decision that gave rise to Proposition 8, the state legislature extended the benefit of law to same-sex unions.

Now, over at The Immanent Frame, there is an interesting collection of comments that may be of interest to MOJ readers--comments on the conflict over homosexuality in the Anglican communion (and beyond).  Here's the list of those commenting:

Mary Anne Case, Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

Eric Fassin, Professeur agrégé, Ecole normale supérieure (Paris)

Siobhán Garrigan, Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies and Associate Dean for Chapel; Yale Divinity School

Jimmy Casas Klausen, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Assistant Professor, Wesleyan University

Emilie M. Townes, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of African American Religion and Theology, Yale Divinity School

Here is what Mary Ann Case has to say:

<br />Mary Anne Case, Arnold I. Shure Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School

I fear those who support equal rights and equal rites for gay couples and individuals, whether in faith communities or in law, tend to underestimate the extent to which a commitment to traditional sex roles rooted in the subordination of women motivates the opposition.  Among Baptists, a division that began with two views of Negro slavery has continued to this day with two views of women’s role in the leadership of the Church and the family.  In the Anglican Communion, many of those who now oppose the ordination of gay people in committed relationships also opposed the ordination of women.  A bishop’s miter remains for some among those things “which pertaineth unto a man” and should be forbidden to a woman, whatever her sexual orientation.

Rowan Williams tells Anglicans to take “due account…of the teachings of ecumenical partners” in formulating answers to questions of homosexuality.  The head of one of those partners, Pope Benedict XVI, has been quite clear and direct in linking his Church’s recent teachings on homosexuality, on the ordination of women, and on heterosexual marriage in a theological anthropology of essential sex and gender differences.  Benedict analogized what he saw as the growing disregard for the essential “nature of the human being as man and woman” to the destruction of the rainforest in his December 22, 2008 address to the members of the Roman Curia.  Given the historical exclusion of women from decision-making in the Church, Rowan Williams’s invocation of the “venerable principle” that “what affects the communion of all should be decided by all” (”Quod Omnes Tangit”) as a brake on change in the direction of freedom and equality in matters of sex and gender is, as one of Boccaccio’s heroines suggested on Day Six of the Decameron, deeply problematic.

To read the other comments, click here.


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