Harry Osborne
Harry Osborne

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"What Is Written... How Readest Thou?"

An Amoral Basis for Law:
It Won't Work!


A few weeks ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled "that barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution." On a 4-3 decision, four judges have taken it upon themselves to require the recognition of homosexual marriage as equally valid and deserving the same benefits as a marriage between a man and a woman. Their opinion is available to the public as a 75-page document. It is a textbook study of sophistry and the effects of institutionalized amorality. When one reads the whole ruling, it becomes clear how the pieces of our moral decline all fit together. Thanks to four judges overruling the origin of marriage, its legal definition for hundreds of years in English common law and common sense, we now face the very real possibility that "same sex marriages" may soon have the force of law to validate their acceptability. With this decision, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has arrived at the end many have warned was coming — an attempt to form a fully amoral basis for law and ethics.

As they defined the points at issue in the case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the majority ruling said:

The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples.

As the majority summarized their decision, they concluded that there are no "relevant characteristic that would justify shutting the door to civil marriage to a person who wishes to marry someone of the same sex." They closed their comments justifying their ruling with these words:

The marriage ban works a deep and scarring hardship on a very real segment of the community for no rational reason. The absence of any reasonable relationship between, on the one hand, an absolute disqualification of same-sex couples who wish to enter into civil marriage and, on the other, protection of public health, safety, or general welfare, suggests that the marriage restriction is rooted in persistent prejudices against persons who are (or who are believed to be) homosexual.... "The Constitution cannot control such prejudices but neither can it tolerate them. Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect." ...Limiting the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the basic premises of individual liberty and equality under law protected by the Massachusetts Constitution.

In the body of the decision, the four judges cited judicial and legal precedents that supposedly justified their ruling. This part of their catastrophic decision was the most disturbing to read. To build their base, they appealed to a variety of legal and judicial decrees that forbade moral judgments in public policy. The "no fault" divorce law changes of the past century were used to set the stage by showing the legislative intent to ban moral judgments in the realm of family formation and dissolution. They noted decrees excluding the use of moral judgments as factors in determining the fitness of prospective parents in adoption or custody cases. This led them to conclude that adultery, homosexuality or other behavior could not be condemned in public policy as "immoral." They cited the Roe v. Wade case making abortion legal as another example of the right of individuals to engage in action deemed immoral by others and forbidding the government from condemning such acts. Then, as any thinking person could have predicted, the four justices appealed to the Lawrence v. Texas case decided by the United States Supreme Court last summer overruling the Texas sodomy laws. They quoted that decision's fundamental principle which held, "Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code." With that ruling, the last piece of an immoral mosaic was set in place. One cannot discerningly read the Goodridge ruling without understanding the process underway for over a generation to "call evil good, and good evil" (Isa. 5:20 cf. Prov. 17:15). Our courts and legislatures have systematically abolished the God-given basis of morality from our legal system and have replaced it with an officially sanctioned and even lauded amoral "legal" system.

With morality sufficiently banished, the four justices turned to examples of judicial and legal correction of racial discrimination as the model for eliminating distinctions between homosexual and heterosexual marriage. They stated their rationale as follows:

For decades, indeed centuries, in much of this country (including Massachusetts) no lawful marriage was possible between white and black Americans. That long history availed not when the Supreme Court of California held in 1948 that a legislative prohibition against interracial marriage violated the due process and equality guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment, Perez v. Sharp,... or when, nineteen years later, the United States Supreme Court also held that a statutory bar to interracial marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment, Loving v. Virginia.... As both Perez and Loving make clear, the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one's choice, subject to appropriate government restrictions in the interests of public health, safety, and welfare... In this case, as in Perez and Loving, a statute deprives individuals of access to an institution of fundamental legal, personal, and social significance -- the institution of marriage -- because of a single trait: skin color in Perez and Loving, sexual orientation here. As it did in Perez and Loving, history must yield to a more fully developed understanding of the invidious quality of the discrimination.

The fallacy of their reasoning is obvious to all who put their trust in God and His word as the perfect and complete guide to law and morality as God defined it (2 Tim. 3:16-17). God ordained government "for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well" (1 Pet. 2:14 see also Rom. 13:1- 4). In granting government its limited function subordinate to Him, God mandated that government base its exercise of power upon morality as He defined it (Prov. 13:34; 11:11; 16:12). Any government's failure to "take away the wicked" constitutes a rejection of God's conditions whereby its right to rule "shall be established in righteousness" (Prov. 25:5). Removal of racial discrimination was moral because it submitted to God's righteous order: "God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to Him" (Acts 10:34-35 see also Rom. 10:12). Though God condemns racial or ethnic distinctions, He ordained and demands distinctions between righteous and wicked conduct. While some have tried to justify bigotry and racism by abusing God's law, their efforts are without defense to all who depend on God's word, not human opinion, as the standard for defining right and wrong. But how does God define the nature of homosexual action? God made that point crystal clear in very plain language:

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due (Rom. 1:26-27).

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

When one leaves God-ordained morality as the standard for law and ethics, he is left without a rational basis for legitimate distinctions giving order to society. Though our humanist friends declare their ability to devise a non-moral (really "amoral") basis for law, their philosophers have utterly failed in their search as is evident by the depravity, violence and chaos left in their wake. We do not need more justices and legislators widening their destructive path, "but by men of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged" (Prov. 28:2). As Nineveh of old repented at the preaching of Jonah, let us unashamedly and boldly proclaim the standard of righteousness and call upon our people and leaders to repent! The destruction of any nation that sanctions immorality is certain. It may already be too late, but it is certainly not too early to let our voices and votes be heard! If we remain silent and inactive, what kind of society will we leave for our children and grandchildren?

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