President Lincoln once
got into an argument with a man who insisted that if they
re-framed the issue by calling it another name, there
would be no disagreement. The exasperated President
is said to have replied, "Look
here. If you call a dog's tail a leg, how many legs
would it have?" "Why, five", said the man.
"Wrong", said President Lincoln. "Four. You
can call it a leg, but it's still a tail."
There are four judges
sitting on the bench in Massachusetts today who, combined,
don't have the common sense President Lincoln had in his
The Supreme Judicial Court of the Bay State this week
discovered a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
"Without the right to marry -- or, more properly, the
right to choose to marry -- one is excluded from the full
range of human experience and denied the full protection
of the law for one's avowed commitment to an intimate and
lasting human relationship", quoth the Massachusetts
"Without the right to
marry -- or, more properly the right to choose to marry --
Elizabeth Hurley, Dr. Bowen is excluded from the full
range of human experience", says the Supreme Judicial
Court of Dr. Bowen.
That statement has about
as much relation to reality, and as much validity, as the
one from the Massachusetts court. For the fact is
that some things just are
what they are, and
wishing will not make it any different. Marriage is
the union of a man and a woman. Cohabiting
individuals and same-sex couples may have a loving,
committed, faithful relationship, and some married couples
may have a hellish relationship with exploitation and
unfaithfulness, but that is nothing to the point.
The latter are in a marriage, albeit a bad one, and the
former are not.
The Massachusetts court
might just as well have instructed us all to consider dogs
as having five legs. But even if we complied, the
reality would not change. Take Fido to the vet for a
nail trim, and he will work on four feet. He will
not then take the clippers and snip off a quarter-inch of
Fido's tail. When Fluffy forgets about the dangers
of Grandma's rocking chair, the Massachusetts judges may
require us to call the vet and tell him that our cat has a
broken foot, but what the vet splints will still be
Leaving aside the fact
that these judges invented a right, thus usurping the
prerogatives of the Legislature, the fact remains that
there simply cannot be a right for a person to be
something he cannot be. I have no right to be
Elizabeth Hurley's husband, however much she may wish it,
any more than I have a right to be seven feet tall and all
muscle. I have been denied the right to savor the
rich experience of being a black person; let's see the
court change that.
What the judges said by
their act was that they are not satisfied with reality, so
they want us to call it something else. But however
loving, faithful, and committed a homosexual couple may
be, they will never be a married couple, even if you dress
them up and give them rings and a marriage certificate.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts may at some
point order us not to call them idiots, but President
Lincoln could have told them:
you can call a fool 'Your Honor',
but he's still a fool.