Skip to comments.Knights of Columbus asks Maryland Appeals Court to Reverse Decision on Marriage
Posted on 07/04/2006 5:01:36 PM PDT by AlaninSA
ANNAPOLIS, Md., July 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Knights of Columbus has asked the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to overturn a decision by Baltimore Circuit Court Judge M. Brooke Murdock, which held that a law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is irrational and thus a violation of the Maryland Constitution. The decision, issued on January 20, 2006, declared that "This court is unable to find that preventing same- sex marriage rationally relates to Maryland's interest in promoting the best interests of children."
The amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief filed by the Knights of Columbus was prepared by a team of attorneys led by Robert Destro and Lincoln Oliphant. Destro is a law professor at the Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law and Principal Investigator for the Marriage Law Project there. Oliphant drafted the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Three of the attorneys on the team are Knights: Destro, a member of Potomac Council in DC, Peter Gebauer, DC State Advocate, and Robert Mittendorff, Grand Knight of Our Lady of Victory Council in DC. The brief was submitted to the court by Supreme Advocate Paul Devin.
In 1973 the Maryland legislature adopted the Marriage Act, which reads, "Only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in this state."
The Knights of Columbus brief notes that in overturning the law, "The Circuit Court could not conceive of a constitutionally sufficient reason for the State to define and prefer marriage, and its reasoning would not permit 150 elected representatives and state officials to think of one either. The considered opinions of the members of the General Assembly, who passed the Marriage Act, and the Governor, who signed it, were simply not relevant. Neither was the entire history of the human race."
The Knights brief offers the obvious reasoning that the circuit court chose to ignore: "Marriage is more than just a creation of a legislature; it predates the creation of the state. Marriage requires a man and a woman in the same way that a hydrogen atom requires an electron and a proton. . . . Marriage unites a man and a woman in a sexually complementary union. Only a man and a woman can make a baby, and both state and society have compelling interests recognized by all courts in helping ensure that babies are born to women who are married to their fathers."
"The institution of marriage has been ratified by thousands of generations in every corner of the globe," the Knights brief concludes. "It ought not to be discarded on the junk heap of history because a handful of plaintiffs have a new theory of family life and human sexuality." The full text of the brief can be found at http://www.kofc.org .
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"Marriage is more than just a creation of a legislature; it predates the creation of the state. Marriage requires a man and a woman in the same way that a hydrogen atom requires an electron and a proton. . . . Marriage unites a man and a woman in a sexually complementary union. Only a man and a woman can make a baby, and both state and society have compelling interests recognized by all courts in helping ensure that babies are born to women who are married to their fathers."
Hopefully this wording will find its way into the opinion of the appeals court.
What an all-out statement of lunacy. It isn't soft-pedalled one bit. It comes out and declares, as if by the lights of a right mind, that natural law is irrational and not necessarily in the best interest of children; it admits that the state has the has an interest in promoting the best interest of children but by default concedes that it isn't worthy of the task.
In Maryland, of all places -- the lunatics running the asylum.
I'd get it overturned or escape fast.
I looks like an irrational judge as struck again. Acceptance of homosexuality is onl possible when people have forgotten how to think logically and rationally.
I vote this judge should be sent to an insane asylum.
It's been like that for going on 20 years now. I lived there the first 35 years of my life, and I won't get any closer than Virginia if I were to stay for any length of time now. It's that putrid mass of multi-culti, morally relativistic sickness that lives along the I-95 corridor that's screwing everyone else on both sides of the Bay. A crying shame, considering what a beautiful state it is.
Sounds like Judge Murdock is the irrational party here.....
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The first is the widespread use of artificial contraception. Since, for the overwhelming majority of Americans, the overwhelming majority of acts of (heterosexual) intercourse are rendered sterile by artificial contraception, there is no societal basis for objecting to homosexual intercourse on the grounds that it is also inherently infertile.
The second is the fiduciary nature of the Protestant faith, which justifies moral principles purely on the grounds of Scriptural quotations. This rejection of philosophy necessarily entails the rejection of the concept of Natural Law, and ultimately undermines the ability to apply reason to moral issues. America's religious heritage is primarily Protestant, so America never acquired a robust tradition of moral reasoning. Thumping the Bible at those who do not accept its authority (i.e., cultural elites such as the judge in this case) is ineffective.
The third trend is the irreligious and anti-clerical nature of the Enlightenment, which, especially in France, saw sexual deviance as a form of liberation. These ideas provided the intellectual underpinning of the sexual revolution of the 1960's in America.
The fourth is feminism, which sees rationality as a form of patriarchal oppression. In denying the complementarity of male and female roles in family life, feminist theory denies the ontology of the human person. As such, it fundamentally doesn't make sense. In order to stand, it must deny reason itself, replacing intellectual power with political force.
The fifth is nihilism. I won't try to make the case for the baleful influence of that philosophy here, but Alan Bloom does an excellent job of identifying its presence in American life in his The Closing of the American Mind. Nihilism encompasses the overarching ideas of the Culture of Death, which encourage our culture to shake off the burden of living a fully human, morally responsible, life in favor the raw exercise of power of one human being over another. Thus, the physically or politically weak, such as the unborn, the dying, or the disabled may continue to exist only at the pleasure of the strong and healthy. Similarly, men and women may use one another as objects for sexual gratification without regard to love, commitment, or the family structure. It looks like a form of freedom, but it's really enslavement to vice. And it inevitably leads to
the sixth trend, which is fascism. All the time Americans are thinking of themselves as "rugged individuals", they are destroying the intermediate social structures which shield the individual from the power of the state. The most immediate of these structures is the family. When that is gone -- and it's currently under great stress --, the naked individual is utterly at the mercy of the whims of the state. It's no coincidence that governments at all levels are growing in size and intrusiveness: sexual incontinence is a vice which allows governments to find excuses to exercise ever-increasing degrees of social control. People who refuse to govern their own behavior will have their behavior governed by external forces. If a system of self-government is to work, people must first govern themselves. (But that's just a rephrasing of de Tocqueville's observation that America will cease to be great when it ceases to be good.)
People who can't think correctly about the life issues can't think at all, so it's not surprising to see such irrationality used to justify such immorality. It was inevitable, and it was predicted by the Catholic Church as far back as 1930 (actually, it goes back at least as far as St. Augustine), when we warned the Anglicans against approving the use of artificial contraception within marriage. People didn't listen then, and I don't expect them to listen now. Barring a miracle, I expect they'll continue to pull what's left of the culture down around their ears in the name of some false notion of liberation. And I expect the elites will encourage it, since they'll be the ones in positions of increasing power and political control.
Apart from a Constitutional amendment to confine marriage to one man and one woman, I don't see how it's possible to reverse these trends. For how can you reason with a people that has rejected rational thought itself, and has adopted a Dionysian outlook? In the particular case of homosexual acts (as opposed to orientation), there is a denial of the ontology of law itself. It's the essence of law to discriminate against behavior, and homosexual acts are behaviors. If it's bigotry to use the law to discourage homosexual acts, then the same principle can be applied to acts of murder, theft, etc., and we'll be forced to, for example, accept serial killing as "just another lifestyle choice".
Ultimately, then, our society, which is supposed to be based on "the rule of law", will have no law at all, except that which is forced upon the weak by the whim of the powerful. The present push for "gay marriage" is really nothing more than the logical result of deeper currents which the Catholic Church -- and, it seems, only the Catholic Church -- has identified in the post-Enlightenment West for quite some time. It won't go away until its underlying causes are addressed. I don't expect that will happen, because I don't see that there's the political will to do so. I'm open to suggestions, but the only thing I can think of to do at this time is pray.
Gotta love Maryland. < /sarcasm>
Awesome post. I agree whole-heartedly. It seems the horse is out of the barn, and even many of those who find homosexual behavior morally repugnant have been cowed by political correctness into walking away from the battle and siding with the powerful.
As this movement into abject degeneracy continues to pick up speed, the closer we come to God's justice - and His justice will come, whether we want to believe it or not. No one knows when, where, or how, but just as we are condemned with the Culture of Death by the refusal of society to reject contraception, we will have a very special punishment all our own for the exhaltation of homosexual behavior and the destruction of the family. It may not be God throwing down lightning bolts; it may be the slow disintegration of our society and the suffering which will come of it. But all that we can do is pray and live like saints as best we can.
The battle is upon us. The Bible is hate. The Church is hateful. Freedom from conscience rules the day. Grace is being poured out in torrents for anyone willing to stand with Christ at His cross while some run away and the rest hurl insults.
Leviathan is coming. May the armor of faith protect us all.
An interesting proposition. How about we overturn a whole slew of other irrational (not to mention counterproductive) laws, like gun control and minimum wage? "If a law produces results contrary to its stated purpose, that law is thereby proved 'irrational' and revoked."
If they put it on a referendum though, traditional marriage would win even in the blue states.
Interesting how a step in the wrong direction can have change one's perception of reality.
Pot is a "gateway" drug because that first joint is a crossing of a mental barrier. Homosexuals have an astronomical rate of child abuse, because once the individual makes peace with the breaking of a taboo, the concept of taboo is diminished. And once the nature of sex is distorted, moving from the procreative to the purely sensual, then fun is fun, no different than any other fun.
Thanks for your kind words.
Although I certainly believe the Church to be divinely guided and protected from error in her moral teachings, mostly what she proposes are rational applications of the natural law. (That, in part, is why the teachings of the Church have universal applicability, i.e., to non-Catholics, non-Christians, etc.)
When a particular consequence of that law is violated as a matter of public policy, the principles from which that particular consequence derives are weakened in the public mind. So it's not difficult to predict what other violations of the natural law will follow on the heels of the original one. That is why the Church has an excellent track record in predicting how societal decay will evolve over time. It's not necessary to invoke supernatural prescience (though I certainly think it's there); mostly it's a simple matter of logic.
In my observation, the consequences of an error in moral reasoning inevitably play themselves out over time, though it can take centuries. Consider the problems currently being faced in the Anglican Communion, for example. I'm truly sympathetic to the pain that so many good and decent Anglican Christians are presently facing, but some major degeneration like the one they're dealing with had to happen. The Church of England was founded on the premise that Henry VIII was head of the Church in England. But he wasn't, in fact, head of any church, anywhere, and Parliament did not have the competence to make it so, anymore than they could, by law, impose the idea that 2+2=5. (Imagine trying to build a cathedral if you can't do arithmetic!) The principle which was attacked by Henry was that of the Apostolic authority of the Church, according to the structure put in place by Christ Himself. It may seem a small matter to place that authority under the thumb of the State, but once it is done the church loses the independence it needs to make moral pronouncements, and becomes an organ of the State. It's no coincidence that the most pressing problems the Anglican Communion is currently grappling with boil down to questions of authority, viz., a "bishop" who is objectively a public, unrepentant sinner, and who justifies his position by claiming a special gift of the Holy Spirit which supersedes even the authority of Sacred Scripture.
Similarly with artificial contraception. You only need two principles to see that it is morally unjustifiable: 1.) God exists, and 2.) He is the Author of all life. (Note that these aren't even specifically Catholic or Christian or even monotheistic propositions. Even a Zoroastrian could accept them.) It follows that human beings do not create life; they merely pro-create. It is God, not men and women, who determines if a given act of intercourse will bring forth a new life or not. To use artificial contraception is to potentially thwart God's will in His very essence as Creator: not "Your will be done, but mine instead."
In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI put it this way:
Men rightly observe that a conjugal act imposed on one's partner without regard to his or her condition or personal and reasonable wishes in the matter, is no true act of love, and therefore offends the moral order in its particular application to the intimate relationship of husband and wife. If they further reflect, they must also recognize that an act of mutual love which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator, through specific laws, has built into it, frustrates His design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of the Author of life. Hence to use this divine gift while depriving it, even if only partially, of its meaning and purpose, is equally repugnant to the nature of man and of woman, and is consequently in opposition to the plan of God and His holy will. But to experience the gift of married love while respecting the laws of conception is to acknowledge that one is not the master of the sources of life but rather the minister of the design established by the Creator.
In other words, artificial contraception denies the ontology of intercourse, which is simultaneously procreative and unitive. Because it is an error of ontology, it follows that non-procreative acts become must eventually become non-unitive as well. This too was Pope Paul's observation:
Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beingsand especially the young, who are so exposed to temptationneed incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
And verily hath it come to pass: widespread promiscuity resulting in the spread of STDs, some of them lethal; a 50% divorce rate; a 25% illegitimacy rate among whites, 70% among blacks; 45 million children lost to legal abortion; the objectification of both men and women in readily-available pornography; the devaluation of the dignity of the human person through genetic manipulation; and the rest of the litany of social dysfunction. The current support among state judiciaries for gay "marriage" is nothing but an expression of the fact that we no longer know what a family is, nor do we know what marriage is for. Increasingly, in Western Europe especially, people aren't even bothering with it all. It's no surprise that the various national governments, and the European Parliament, are becoming more draconian and intrusive; their people have abdicated their most intimate responsibilities. That, too, was the inevitable logical consequence of the original ontological error.
Now, all of that sounds exceedingly pessimistic, and as I often say, despair is a sin, but hope is cardinal virtue, so I would like to conclude on a positive note by offering the following traditional prayers:
V/.: We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
An Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three Divine Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I believe that Thy Divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.
An Act of Hope
O my God, relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
An Act of Love
O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love.
I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee.
I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.
Really like the prayers.
It's like Invisiblehand said, "the lunatics are running the asylum."
He said to his disciples, "Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.