It’s good to have President Clinton’s animus against gays finally exposed by Anthony Kennedy. There’s a famous photograph of him taken round the time he signed DOMA, at a big fundraiser wearing that black-tie-and-wing-collar combo that always made him look like the maître d’ at a 19th-century bordello. He’s receiving greetings from celebrity couple Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche, who’d come out as gay the week before and, in the first flush of romance, can’t keep their hands off each other even with President Happy Pants trying to get a piece of the action. For a man motivated only by a hateful need to harm gays, he’s doing a grand job of covering it up, looking like the guy who decided to splash out for the two-girl special on the last night of the sales convention. Nevertheless, reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision, President Clinton professed himself delighted to have been struck down as a homophobe.
In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that “to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions.” Indeed. With this judgment, America’s constitutional court demeans and humiliates only its own. Of all the local variations through which same-sex marriage has been legalized in the last decade, mostly legislative (France, Iceland) but occasionally judicial (Canada, South Africa), the United States is unique in its inability to jump on the Western world’s bandwagon du jour without first declaring its current vice president, president pro tem of the Senate, majority leader, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, and prospective first First Gentleman raging gay-bashers. As the Paula Deens of orientation, maybe they should all be canceled.
There is something deeply weird, not to say grubby and dishonest, about this. In its imputation of motive to those who disagree with it, this opinion is more disreputable than Roe v. Wade — and with potentially unbounded application. To return to the immigration bill, and all its assurances that those amnestied will “go to the end of the line” and have to wait longer for full-blown green cards and longer still for citizenship, do you seriously think any of that hooey will survive its first encounter with a federal judge? In much of the Southwest, you’d have jurisdictions with a majority of Hispanic residents living under an elderly, disproportionately white voting roll. You can cut-and-paste Kennedy’s guff about “improper animus” toward “a group of people” straight into the first immigration appeal, and a thousand more. And that’s supposing the administrative agencies pay any attention to the “safeguards” in the first place.
As I say, just another day in the life of the republic: a corrupt bureaucracy dispensing federal gravy to favored clients; a pseudo-legislature passing bills unread by the people’s representatives and uncomprehended by the men who claim to have written them; and a co-regency of jurists torturing an 18th-century document in order to justify what other countries are at least honest enough to recognize as an unprecedented novelty. Whether or not, per Scalia, we should “condemn” the United States Constitution, it might be time to put the poor wee thing out of its misery.