I was happy to hear that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of "same-sex marriage" in Obergefell v. Hodges. Not because I think same-sex marriage is a good idea. Not because I think there should be any sort of right at all to same-sex marriage. Not even because I will ever consider those of the same sex to be married (the word "marriage" has a specific meaning to me and it does not, nor will it ever, apply to non-heterosexual couples in my mind, and nothing the government does will ever change that).
Instead, I was happy because by itself, it's a non-issue. There aren't very many gay people (or people of the more than 50 other genders) and, based on every place same-sex marriage has been legal, very few of them actually want to get married. There almost certainly won't be an explosion of same-sex marriages so I figured that now that the whining gays have rammed their agenda down the throats of those of us who think the whole concept is absurd, maybe they'd STFU already.
Of course, nothing is ever easy. I see that religious conservative groups are mobilizing to turn this into a war. This is beyond foolish, in my opinion, not necessarily because they're wrong, but because there will be so few gay marriages that fighting it directly is going to be wildly counterproductive. If one must fight it, being subversive is a much easier and more effective way. For example, if you're a priest and don't want to do gay marriages, just don't show up and say you were sick with a last minute stomach flu. If you're a baker who's bothered by the profit potential of baking gay wedding cakes, deliver ugly cakes inconveniently late. There are plenty of other churches and bakers who will be perfectly happy to cater to same-sex couples and those couples will quickly learn to avoid your church or your bakery and go elsewhere.
I assumed that the Supremes would simply use the Equal Protection Clause and state that sexual orientation would be a new class that would have equal protection in order to arrive at their ruling. What could be simpler, more straightforward and more logical than that?
My assumption was wrong and now I'm dismayed beyond belief. Instead of using the Equal Protection Clause, the Supremes decided to create a right to dignity, kinda outta thin air (well, maybe thick air given that some prior cases sorta pointed this way, but still...).
I think that there are some serious problems with the concept of a right to dignity. For one, it's totally subjective, especially when needing to create priorities when there are conflicting dignities. For example, is it more or less of an indignity to be required to serve someone you consider to be reprehensible or to be refused service by someone?
For another, some people get themselves into states from which there simply is no dignified escape. Consider a drug addled homeless person in a soup line. Not much dignity there no matter how you slice it. Even if the food was delivered in a nice environment with servers in tuxedos, there would still be the core indignity of being so incompetent you need a handout to survive. Indeed, it could easily be argued that there's more dignity in starving than in accepting the handout and that soup kitchens should be shut down.
And how does this new right to dignity compare to other rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. If dignity trumps freedom of religion, then clearly priests will have to perform same-sex marriages (though, as I noted above, nothing will prevent them from performing them very poorly). If dignity trumps freedom of speech, then everything I've written in this post (and in many others) will be illegal in the not too distant future; there's no dignity in debate.
Each of these questions, and many more, will have to be answered and will cause endless litigation, haranguing, and fighting and my bet is that it will further undermine the already thinning fabric tenuously holding our society and civilization together. Bummer!