Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Comparison of Same-Sex union to Inter-Racial Marriage
In persons, equal is not the same as similar.
Whites and blacks are equal as persons, and are ontologically similar.
Males and females are equal as persons, but are ontologically dissimilar.
The ontological similarity of white and black persons is their constitution as persons with body, soul, intellect and will. Any dissimilarity is accidental as historical and sociological.
The ontological dissimilarity of male and female persons is their intrinsic constitution as relation. The male person is relational self-gift as donation. The female person is relational self-gift as reception. (Consider the respect for the revealed as well as the force of the rational argumentation for relationality below )
This constitutive dissimilarity between male and female persons is the fact that they are not reducible to equality as the mental category of “animal.” Human persons are not animals performatively from birth.
Aristotle defined man as a rational animal, and hence basically an animal, with the specific difference of rationality. Freud accepts the theory of Aristotle but “challenges the idea that man is solely a rational type of animal. Neurotic and psychotic behavior are irrational in nature, and all men have at least neurotic tendencies. When an individual fails to sublimate his instincts but represses them instead, to that extent he becomes irrational. This insight is one of Freud’s major contributions. But it did not occur to him that human irrationality might be a sign that man is not basically an animal and that the idea of man being an animal is a deep source of repression, and therefore a neurosis, in Western civilization. Freud did not think to question the supposed animality of man but remained locked in the grip of the ancient definition.”
How interesting! Could it be that when we deal with man, Freud should have questioned not so much the “irrationality” of what he observed, but whether we were dealing with an animal at all. The Joyces most interestingly observe the behavior of the child to be that of a rational person who has to get his bearings of the environment before he launches out into locomotion, whereas an animal is all motion from the get-go without taking any intellectual bearings at all. They propose that the observable facts of daily life lead in a quite different direction than the animality of the human. They say: “If man is basically an animal then an animal is basically a vegetable, or a plant-substance with vegetative powers for growth and reproduction. But the fact that animals grow and reproduce in common with plants does not warrant the assertion that animals are basically vegetative things or that the energy for an animal’s behavior is a plant energy. An animal’s walking, crawling, running, climbing, flying, seeing, smelling, and other acts of sensing are not expressions of a plant energy but of a new energy. This new energy assimilates or draws into itself the energy of vegetative life.
“Due to this phenomenon of assimilation, the very things that animals have in common with plants – growth and reproduction – are basically different in animals than in plants. The animal is basically a sentient creature and not basically a vegetative creature. Ina similar way, man, though he has powers in common with animals, is not basically an animal. In man, still another new energy, a mind-energy, assimilates and transforms the energy of animal life.”
In the light of that, could it be that “the human body is an unfolding, a self-revealing of the within” that is the human person, and that “sexual difference in the body is an expression of sexual difference in the depths of the person’s being,” and that this is an irreducible dissimilarity which would be a grounding obstacle to such a confusion as same-sex “marriage.”
State of Affairs:
This week, by one vote, the Vermont legislature overrode the governor’s veto to impose same-sex marriage on that state. It’s a breakthrough of sorts for the gay-marriage movement: the first state to impose gay marriage through the legislature, rather than the courts.
But the Vermont same-sex marriage bill was a breakthrough in another way that has received zero attention in the press: For the very first time, a legislature has formally acknowledged that gay marriage poses a serious threat to the religious liberties of Vermonters who disagree with the government’s new definition of marriage; and the gay marriage movement has permitted — if not exactly trumpeted — that legislature’s enactment of some imperfect, yet substantive, religious-liberty protections, rather than the “fake religious liberty protections” generally offered to deflect voters’ attention from the real issues at stake.
Same-sex marriage is quite different from bans on interracial marriage in one powerful respect: It asks religious Americans to surrender a core belief — not only Leviticus (disapproval of gay sexual acts), but Genesis (the idea that God himself made man as male and female and commanded men and women to come together in a special way to image the fruitfulness of God).
Historical Precedent on Ban of Interracial Marriage:
When then-17-year-old Mildred Jeter and her childhood sweetheart, Richard Loving, a 23-year-old white construction worker, drove 90 miles north to marry in the District. Pretty and slender, she was known by her nickname, "Bean," and she was already pregnant with the first of their three children.
Loving later said she didn't realize that it was illegal for a black woman and a white man to wed, although her husband might have. "I think he thought [if] we were married, they couldn't bother us," she said.
Nevertheless, when they returned to Central Point, Va., between Richmond and Spotsylvania, to set up their home, someone called the law.
Caroline County Sheriff R. Garnett Brooks rousted them from their bed at 2 a.m. in July 1958 and told them the District's marriage certificate was no good in Virginia. He took them to jail and charged them with unlawful cohabitation. They pleaded guilty, and Caroline County Circuit Court Judge Leon M. Bazile sentenced them to a year's imprisonment, to be suspended if they left the state for the next 25 years.
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix," Bazile ruled.
In Washington, D.C. five years later, while visiting her mother, they were arrested again for traveling together. Loving, who had been following the 1964 civil rights legislation, wrote a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to find out if the new law would allow the couple to travel freely. The couple was referred to the American Civil Liberties Union and assigned an attorney, Bernard S. Cohen. "It was a terrible time in America," said Cohen, who was at Loving's home when she died. "Racism was ripe and this was the last de jure vestige of racism -- there was a lot of de facto racism, but this law was . . . the last on-the-books manifestation of slavery in America."
With fellow attorney Philip J. Hirschkop, Cohen took the case to the high court. Cohen said the couple didn't understand the importance of the case to anyone other than themselves. "When I told them I thought the case was going all the way to the Supreme Court, [Richard Loving's] jaw dropped. He didn't understand why I didn't go to Judge Bazile and tell him they loved each other and they should be allowed to live where they wished," said Cohen, now a retired state delegate from Alexandria.
Resolution: On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared:
"There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy. . . . There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause."
There is no parallel in the reality of things between the suppression of the legal ban on interracial marriage and demanding, in the light of that, that there be a suppression of the ban on homosexual union, and calling it “marriage.” Besides, as Maggie Gallagher comments above: “It asks religious Americans to surrender a core belief — not only Leviticus (disapproval of gay sexual acts), but Genesis (the idea that God himself made man as male and female and commanded men and women to come together in a special way to image the fruitfulness of God).”
 Mary Rosera Joyce and Robert E. Joyce, “New Dynamics in Sexual Love,” St. John’s University Press, Collegeville, Minn. (1970) 41.
 Ibid 46.
 Maggie Gallagher, “Married to Liberty?” National Review Online, April 8, 2009.