Right-wingers react to sodomy ruling

BY Advocate.com Editors

June 28 2003 12:00 AM ET

"This is probably as bad a day as the court has had on social issues since Roe v. Wade," the 1973 ruling that first found a constitutional right to abortion, lamented the Reverend Jerry Falwell in response to Thursday's pro-gay sodomy ruling, according to The New York Times. The U.S. Supreme Court, Falwell said, had put "the right of privacy ahead of respect for community standards of morality which have prevailed for many years." Falwell also said that the ruling could set the nation down a slippery slope in which courts might approve bestiality, prostitution, and the use of narcotics. "It's a capitulation to the gay and lesbian agenda whose ultimate goal is the legalization of same-sex marriages," he said.

Falwell's comments echoed what many social conservatives are feeling about the high court's 6-3 vote to strike down Texas's same-sex-only sodomy law and expand the rights of gays and lesbians. "This has not been a good week for social conservatives," said Jay A. Sekulow, legal director of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal advocacy group founded by Pat Robertson. "Both the affirmative action and the gay rights decision reflect a political approach to the law that we deplore.... We all were especially surprised by the scope and breadth of [Thursday's] opinion. It was a grand-slam homer for the other side."

Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, characterized the decision as "classic judicial activism arrogance." He said that none of the rights the court enunciated Thursday are found in either the text of the Constitution or the history of the nation. "This opens the door to bigamy, adult incest, polygamy, and prostitution," Connor said. "If the hallmark is privacy and consent, as long as you have those two, the court is saying you have no basis for legislating to the contrary. Notwithstanding the public health issues involved when you have sexual relations, for example, between a mother and
an adult son."

According to the Times, Phyllis Schlafly, president of the St. Louis-based conservative group Eagle Forum, tried to leaven her anger by finding an admittedly unlikely silver lining. "Well, the good news is that it opens the door to reversing Roe v. Wade. If the court can overturn a decision made 17 years ago, they can now overturn Roe," she said in reference to Bowers v. Hardwick, a 1986 ruling that disallowed any constitutional right to engage in gay sex in private. Tom Minnery, vice president of Focus on the Family, an antigay group based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said, "With today's decision, the court continues pillaging its way through the moral norms of our country." Gary Bauer, a former Republican presidential candidate and the president of American Values, said, "Once again, an activist Supreme Court has substituted its judgment over the decisions of the citizens of Texas, who, through their elected representatives, had made a moral and legal judgment about behavior."

And finally, late Thursday night, Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who in commenting on the Texas sodomy case in April provoked a political firestorm by comparing gay sex to incest, polygamy, and adultery, joined in the fray. "The court has determined to slide down the 'slippery slope,'" Santorum said, essentially echoing the charge that any law dealing with morality, including incest or polygamy, is now endangered by Thursday's ruling.

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