Without further ado. The majority opinion was written to basically complement the official ruling with background arguments and reasoning, and, after covering the technical details, it starts with waxing lyrical about marriage.
Marriage is of “transcendent importance”, it says, it promises dignity and nobility regardless of social status, it says, it is greater than simple sum of two persons, it says, it’s essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations, it says, it is sacred for some and offers unique fulfillment to others, it says.
What it doesn’t say, not a word, is that marriage has anything to do with procreation. Maybe somewhere later it does, but not in this part, the crucial introduction, for from here it goes into the plight of the suffering same-sex couples who brought their cases to the court.
It acknowledges that marriage has always been thought as between a man and a woman but it’s only the beginning of history, it says, the next chapter is to be written by gays who do not want to destroy the ancient institution but to expand it and fulfill it in their lives. Not a word about procreation again.
Are they being intentionally blind or are they genuinely ignorant of centrality of children to the institution or marriage? People might start off with fulfillment of their own love/lust but once children are born they take over everything and become the central point of people’s lives. This fact holds true today just as it held true in all human history. Marriage means children, no children means trouble and a potential break up. How could the court miss that? How could it talk about importance of marriage without saying a word about children?
I would like to give them the benefit of doubt but I don’t know on what grounds – I do not see their omission as accidental, for if they mentioned procreation their case for gay “marriage” would disappear in a puff. Is this what the best legal minds could come up with? Is there no one to notice it? I’ve read plenty of reactions to the verdict but so far no one has mentioned this glaring omission.
The opinion then talks about evolution of marriage, from arranged marriages of the past to all legal rights being awarded to the man and so on. Gay marriage is just another step in this evolution, they say.
Evolution is an appropriate word here, but for another reason – we’ve never seen actual jumps from one species to another, contrary to what Darwinists want us to believe, and so here the argument is that evolution of marriage should jump to the next stage where it loses it’s most important function – procreation. For one thing, jumps don’t happen, and this jump isn’t even evolutionary beneficial.
I’m not going to start a debate on “in-between” species, it’s just a rhetorical argument for now.
The opinion then goes on to describe evolution in same sex relationships, how it was decriminalized and gradually became accepted and history of important legal battles on the way. Eventually it led to recognition of same sex marriage in a number of states. Seen in this light, extending this coverage to the rest of the country seems natural.
Or the court could have paused for a second and ask why same sex relationships qualify as being a marriage in the first place. Of course if you never mention procreation as even a feature then it’s easy. If you only define marriage by commitment people feel towards each other then it’s easy.
I’ve seen a good explanation of this – the court and traditionalists go by radically different definitions here. Court sides with modern interpretation that highlights only the romantic side of relationships while tradition sees marriage as a function for procreation. In that sense even modern straight marriage ceases to qualify, and that’s probably too much for the court and for the pubic to accept.
Americans might not realize it but in the rest of the world their attitudes towards their children appear cold, selfish, impersonal, and mercantile. It’s really hard to explain, it’s like telling ocean fish that sea water is salty – these fish don’t know any other, they have no experiences to compare, but for fresh water fish it’s an undeniable fact.
In this modern understanding of marriage as means for personal fulfillment, as several times stated in the opinion, gay marriage makes total sense. For devotees, however, the whole culture is rotten from top to bottom and any sane person should stay as far from it as possible. There’s nothing worse for us than association with people who are attached to sense gratification, which is another word for “fulfillment”, maybe not as exalted but same thing nevertheless.
The danger is that this contamination is very subtle and gradual and therefore difficult to notice, and it completely distorts our own view of what devotional service is. How many of our devotees see nothing wrong with trying to live “normal” lives? How many think that they are cool with their own conditioning as long as they can connect it to Kṛṣṇa? How many try to bring their outside experiences into our own society, thinking them to be at worst “neutral” and therefore suitable for being used in service?
There’s nothing neutral in anything that comes out as a result of sense enjoyers trying to improve their lives. Like poisoned milk it’s, well, poisoned. Easy example is various self-help seminars adapted for ISKCON. They absolutely reek of “how to put myself in control and make my life better” attitude. Another example is “women are as capable as men and should have outlets for their own aspirations”. Yes, when we lust for control we are all equally capable (and women is said to be nine times as lusty), we all want to achieve great things with our God given powers, in fact we don’t hesitate to pray for more, it just feels so good to manipulate the world around us. Or various management tricks from generic Business Administration courses – they are all designed for control and enjoyment, not for unreserved and selfless devotion to guru and Kṛṣṇa.
Like fish in the ocean we can’t see that, however, not until we learn the taste of pure service, and even then we’d add salt to it just out of habit, completely destroying sweetness of our surrender to the Lord.
Likewise, individualism has no place in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We can never ever rely on ourselves, only on the mercy of vaiṣṇavas. Only fools think they can have their own standing as devotees. “Mature”, they say, “can stand for himself”, they say, “reliable”. Maybe it does feel good to be “stable” but it completely kills the sweetness of surrender. Surrender just doesn’t come into the hearts of such “mature” people.
We should rather pray for the day when the Lord strips us of all our powers and shows us our real, utterly insignificant position, and we should pray that we appreciate this vision rather than try to get back on our feet and continue our battle for control of the world.