The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

“After Obergefell: Facing the Main Question”—Prof. Arkes in The Catholic Thing

Writing in The Catholic Thing, Prof. Hadley Arkes, in “After Obergefell: Facing the Main Question,” calls for the political branches to counteract the Court’s marriage decision with more substantive arguments in defense of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“[A] ‘defensive’ strategy of resistance has run into problems recently also on Capitol Hill, and it may be a mistake to regard it as the most practicable course available right now. At the same time, we may be diverting ourselves from the things that may be done more directly to challenge the decision of the Court on marriage in Obergefell.”

“I would share George Marlin’s reservations about putting the main effort right now on a constitutional amendment – and I’d state the matter even more sharply. The presidential candidate who will mention nothing more than a constitutional amendment on marriage is telling us that he is not serious; that there is nothing he is prepared to do right now. He knows that it would take a couple of years to bring about that amendment, and in the meantime, we’ll all just be getting used to same-sex marriage and the distortions that it is already producing in our law.”

“Who among the Republican candidates would be moved to follow Rick Santorum in saying of the decision in Obergefell that ‘this will not stand’? But on one thing we can be utterly clear: none of the other measures to deal with the fallout on marriage – the threat to religious freedom, the move to a constitutional amendment – none of this will be done while we’re unwilling to strike at the heart of the matter itself. And if that challenge is not proclaimed now, it will never be done later.”

Read the whole piece here.

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Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790