In his dissent to the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor, Justice Antonin Scalia took a moment to describe how the majority ruling, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, characterizes those who would dispute it:
In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed [judgment] is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual.
To Scalia, the imputation was more than just insulting. It was gratuitous. If judges wish to change the law, they should be able to do so without casting the other side as malicious and inhumane.
It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.
“Hostes humani generis” was originally a term used to describe pirates—criminal opportunists who operate on the high seas outside the bounds of any country and stand against the moral order of civilization. To be an enemy of the human race is to be insupportable under any form of government, to be stateless, lawless, and a threat to society at large.
In 2013, when the Windsor decision was handed down, it was easy to see which way the debate over gay marriage was going. During my college years (2007-11), I lived amidst a youth culture wherein disapproval of homosexuality was not even resisted—it was unthinkable. Conservative young people found it impossible to voice straightforward dissent or to question the new moral consensus. To stand against the tide of acceptance was to be bigoted, ignorant, unfeeling, hateful.
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