What connects the above to today’s decisions in Washington is the slapdash contempt of Anthony Kennedy’s opinion. Whatever the merits of gay marriage, it ought to revolt anyone with a decent respect for self-government that this incompetent jurist could find no other way to frame the issue than to besmirch the motives of those who oppose him. As Justice Scalia wrote:
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. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement… It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
What I always objected to in Canada about Section 13 was its casual contempt for the citizenry, the same contempt on display today in Washington and London. Like Theresa May, Justice Kennedy would rather impute motive than engage argument. The need to delegitimize those who disagree does indeed “demean this institution”, and is profoundly disturbing.