The Constitutional Right to Sodomy?
The Constitutional Right to Sodomy?
In June of 2003 the Supreme Court, in Lawrence vs. Texas, struck down a Texas state law against homosexual sodomy. This decision (supported by a 6–3 vote) has been hailed by the homosexual community as a great step forward in the struggle for civil rights. I believe that this decision does not mean greater freedom for homosexuals, but less freedom for all Americans, and opens the door for legal sanction of degeneracy.
The Constitutional Issue
The Supreme Court has an important responsibility, to uphold the Constitution. And if a state passes a law which denies a Constitutional right, the Court must strike it down. The obvious question is: where does the Constitution guarantee a right to practice homosexual sodomy? The answer is, of course, nowhere. But in 1965 the Supreme Court invented a new constitutional right, the “right to privacy,” in a case called Griswold vs. Connecticut. In that case a representative of Planned Parenthood (Estelle Griswold) sued the state of Connecticut because of its laws against contraception. The Court decided that such laws were unconstitutional. You ask, where does the Constitution guarantee the right to use contraception? According to Justice Douglas, “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.” Clear enough?
This same “right to privacy” was used in 1973 to strike down state laws against abortion, and it is on this same basis that the Court made its decision about sodomy laws this week. Not only did the Court find a right to engage in behavior that the actual framers of the Constitution would have found abhorrent, but more than that they subverted the power of each state to make its own laws about sodomy, a power specifically left to the states in the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This is why I said earlier that this decision means less freedom for all Americans. By creating a right out of whole cloth, the Court has jettisoned a right the Constitution explicitly grants to the states.
The Moral Issue
The root of this issue is whether the state has a right to legislate morality, particularly with regard to sexual conduct. Even the Supreme Court has acknowledged in the past that the state has such a right. This is why the state can make laws against polygamy, bestiality, prostitution, pornography, incest, and pedophilia. By reading into the Constitution a right to engage in sodomy, the Court has opened the door so wide that it will be impossible to enforce state laws on any other proscribed sexual conduct. How long will it be before someone sues to assert their constitutional right to have sex with children?
Some would question whether the state can legislate morality. The simple fact is that morality is the only thing the state can legislate. The basis of our law is English common law, which in turn is based on centuries of Judaeo-Christian principles. Why do you think we have laws against theft, perjury, and murder? Those laws are rooted in the fundamental beliefs of the great moral codes of western civilization, which incidentally also prohibit sodomy.
The Biblical Issue
Man’s laws can change, but God’s will does not. The Bible specifically condemns homosexual conduct. In 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 Paul lists among those who will not inherit the kingdom of God the “effeminate” and “homosexuals.” These English words translate Greek words which are very specific in their condemnation of sodomy. Further, in Romans 1:27 Paul indicted the sinfulness of the Gentile nations who “abandoned the natural function of the woman...men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” The list of physical ailments that plague those who engage in sodomy, not the least of which is AIDS, is chilling confirmation of Paul’s declaration.
The pattern of sexual activity that God instituted at creation is very explicit. Sex is to be enjoyed by husband and wife in a life-long bond of marriage (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:1–9). Any departure from this—premarital sex, or adultery, or homosexuality—is a departure from the will of God.
This Supreme Court decision is just one more clear failure of our government to support the standards of righteousness. Frankly, I am not surprised or shocked by it, though I am angered. But in these moments it is crucial to remember that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), that Christ is on the throne (Acts 2:36), and that our duty is to spread the gospel (1 Peter 2:9). Jesus has the power to transform sinners, even sodomites (read 1 Corinthians 6:11 with verses 9–10). Our task is not to wring our hands in despair or anger, but instead our mission is to share the gospel with a sin-sick world. Let’s get to work.