Same-sex marriage & pushing the limits: Why can’t I marry my English Cocker

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WASHINGTON, October 15, 2014 — The recent refusal of the Supreme Court, with a majority of justices appointed by Republican presidents, to review appellate decisions overriding laws and state constitutional bans on same sex marriage has elicited a raft of critical commentary. Much of it expresses the dismay of millions of Americans who deeply oppose the practice, still arguably a majority, despite the best efforts of Hollywood, our educational establishment, and various push polls to alter belief.

In North Carolina, back in 2012, 61% of voters, including a majority of minority voters, approved an amendment to the state constitution declaring that marriage is between one man and one woman. At the time, various state Democrat (and some Republican) politicians declared that an amendment wasn’t really needed, that extant state statutes were completely sufficient to protect traditional marriage without changing the constitution. Besides, no one—so these leaders said—would undo the Tar Heel State’s law. These opponents of the amendment assured us that was something that might occur in Massachusetts or California, but, no, not here in conservative North Carolina.

Those arguments did not convince conservatives in the state, who suspected all along that opposition to the constitutional amendment masked an essential cowardice and an actual willingness by the opponents to give way on the question. As a result, nearly 61% of the voters approved the new amendment defining marriage and enshrining it the state constitution. Little did this overwhelming majority realize that two short years later, unelected judges would take it upon themselves to legislate from the bench, overturn settled law, and that the Supreme Court would refuse to accept appealed cases. It only take four justices to agree to accept a case for review, which means if Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas were willing to take the appeals under review, that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy—both Republican appointees—joined liberals on the court, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor to reject the appeals.

On Friday, October 10, a federal judge in Asheville announced that North Carolina’s marriage amendment was unconstitutional, and, although state legislative leaders are appealing that edict (the Democrat attorney general, Roy Cooper, having refused to defend the amendment in court), their chances of success appear dim, considering the current politically-correct judicial stampede.


Already we are seeing a push for the next major change. On September 7 New York Magazine ran a profile of transgender millionaire tycoon Martine Rothblatt in which transgender equality and liberation was heralded as the next major civil rights issue in the US.  And Rothblatt is not alone. On May 29, TIME magazine ran a major piece by Katy Steinmetz heralding “The Transgender Tipping Point” as “America’s next civil rights frontier.” []

On September 29, on Communities Digital News, before the Supreme Court refusal, I reported on an action by a national commission in Germany: “The German Ethics Council, the official national commission set up by the German Bundestag to address moral and ethical issues in the German federation announced that the legal prohibition preventing incest and sexual relations between siblings should be legislatively removed. As one news source reported it: ‘The 26 member German advisory council on ethics, which was created to advise the German government, voted earlier this week (by a two-to-one margin) to move towards the decriminalization of incest between consenting adults in Germany in response to a case in which a brother and sister in Saxony had four children together’.”

Disclaimers are likely to say, “It won’t happen here. We aren’t going to have legalized incest. No way. That’s not coming here to the good-ole USA!” Just as ten years ago most politicians solemnly assured us that same sex marriage was just not going to happen nationally, either. No siree! Maybe in a few very liberal states, but never nationally.”

But as recently as August 28 a federal court threw out much of Utah’s law prohibiting polygamy. As reported by National Public Radio [“Federal Judge Strikes Down Part of Utah’s Polygamy Ban,”]:  “U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups says the part of the law that prohibits cohabitation between adults to whom they are not legally married violates both the First and 14th Amendments.”

It’s very simple: The Supreme Court’s decision, to let the voices of small and shrill extremist groups overawe constant and consistent application of settled law, deny in fact Natural Law, and make a mockery of the Constitution, opens the floodgates to all sorts of future radical changes.

Indeed, now that all that superstitious gobbledygook about marriage and the family is done away with, why not interspecies marriage? I mean, after all, I have a wonderful English cocker spaniel named Robert. We actually share the same bed, that is, we “cohabitate.” And Robert is a male, so that should satisfy the same sex lobby. And, of course, since he’s an animal, my desire to “marry” him and invest him with all the rights and privileges selfishly retained by oppressive humans, well, wouldn’t that get support from PETA and other animal rights groups? Maybe I could find a zealous pro bono attorney who would take our case? After all, since most traditional standards of marriage are falling like the pants of most Hollywood actors, anything is game these days. Right?

Still, I have just one unsettling thought: if everything is permitted, then maybe nothing is permitted. When the fabric holding society together disintegrates (as in present-day America), then something or someone powerful and authoritarian necessarily will have to step in to re-establish order, and that may well prove very unpleasant.

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Boyd Cathey
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.
  • Kamron Mason

    A three part answer to the question in the headline
    1) Dogs are not human
    2) Dogs can not give informed consent
    3) Marriage licenses require informed consent by a human being to be valid.
    The University of Virginia may want to seek legal avenues to prevent this guy from listing them as one of the places he received his education.

    • Screwtape’s Nemesis

      Animals don’t have to give consent. After all, we slaughter them for food and use them as beasts of burden, and they certainly don’t consent to those things.

      • Kamron Mason

        Irrelevant and a very poorly thought out straw-man argument.
        Marriage licenses require that the parties, that means both, obtaining the license are capable of giving informed consent.
        Once again
        1) Dogs are not human
        2) Only humans can give informed consent
        3) Marriage licenses require informed consent by both individuals obtaining said license
        It is really not that hard of a concept to grasp.

        • Screwtape’s Nemesis

          You’re a rationalizing id**t. Go have an aneurysm for breakfast.

          • Kamron Mason

            LOL … argumentum ad hominem. Is that all you have left? Not that you provided much to the discussion in the first place.

  • Tim Kern

    In Asheville, you can marry your dog… but only if he’s male.

  • Bill Goode

    Boyd’s problem is not that he can’t marry his English Cocker, but that he asks the government’s permission to do so.

    Why are we all hung up on this idea that one must get a license to get married? Marriage is a personal relationship and it has nothing to do with government. If any two people (or animals) wish to consider themselves married, why should anyone else care? Simply declare yourselves married to your family, friends, church and anyone else you decide needs to know. Why should the government care if anyone is married?

    Ah, taxes and property ownership. Well that’s another matter. Now it’s a tax & property issue, not a matter of personal relationship. It simply shows how far the government has intruded into our lives. Just tell the government to butt out.

  • Michael Kape

    I find it difficult to believe Dr. Cathey actually holds a doctorate in anything. This is truly an inane piece of writing. But to answer his last point first, no dog can give informed consent, which is required when two consenting adults enter a legal contract (a marriage is a legal contract, Boyd). Your dog is safe from your unwanted advances (I’m guessing he’s the only other soul sleeping in your bed—go figure).

    It is the responsibility of the judiciary to review the constitutionality of laws. The federal judiciary has done this in the cases it has heard for marriage equality. All the judges were voted upon and approved by the US Senate (and appointed by Presidents from Reagan and onward). So why do you rail against judges doing their jobs? You might benefit from taking a class in American civics.

    You do realize, I’m sure, you’re echoing the statements made after the Loving v Virginia decision when you start talking about polygamy. Since 1967, no state has made polygamy legal. A man is known by the company he keeps. You’re keeping company with a lot of racists (again—go figure).

  • Swiftright Right

    Thank you Mr Cathey for doing your best to give Catholics a bad name. I guess while studying for your mail order European history doctorate you missed out on the fact that your argument was already made decades ago back when the courts had to overturn laws that banned whites, black hispanics and orientals from intermarrying.

    Then again your a truether, neo-Confederate, holocaust denier, fascist apologist (for Hitler Putin Mussolini and Franco) who advocates for racial purity.

    Possibly worse then that though are your attempts to revise the narrative of the Nuremberg trials defending avowed Nazis and dismissing the prosecution of Goring, Hess, Funk, Frick. That along with your referrals and defense of the notion that World War II was a “European Civil War” (with direct links to a certain civil war in America) in which Roosevelt and especially Churchill were villains out to crush a reemerging Germany.

  • Boyd

    I’m afraid some readers of this column mistook an attempt at irony and satire as something serious! But I think and believe most readers understood what I was saying. By the way, I EARNED my doctorate (October 1975) at the University of Navarra, under the direction of Dr. Fr. Federico Suarez Verdeguer, and I wrote it in Spanish.

    • Kamron Mason

      There was nothing ironic nor satirical in the article (Please look up the definitions of these two words that include examples). Perhaps a bit sarcastic, which is hard to convey in writing, but I believe it was more likely an attempt to be condescending.

  • Louis E.

    I have no hesitation in declaring the matrimonial arrangements of King Chulalongkorn of Thailand (reigned 1868-1910),who had a total of 97 wives and concubines and whose principal wives were four of his half-sisters,to be a more legitimate form of marriage than anything same-sex.