Judge Richard A. Posner, a Federal Appellate judge and prolific author, is critical of the dissents in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.1 This is the decision that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country.
Expounding upon the philosophy of John Stuart Mill and the distinction between “self- regarding acts” and “other-regarding acts”, Posner concludes that there is no compelling reason for banning same-sex marriage. Posner notes that unless same-sex marriage can be shown to harm people other than the couple in question, there is no reason for state intervention. He states that the dissenters in Obergefell missed this obvious point. He goes further by stating that interference in other persons’ lives constitutes bigotry.
Posner is especially critical of Judge John Roberts’ dissent. He refers to Roberts’ assertion that “marriage is the union of a man and a woman” as nonsense. He points out that polygamy has long been common in many civilizations. The author concludes by referring to the chief justice’s dissent as “heartless”.
The chief justice should not feel as if he were singled out as Judge Posner has on a separate occasion been critical of Justice Scalia.2
1 (June 27, 2015). Posner, Richard A. The chief justice’s dissent is heartless. Slate. Retrieved from www.slate.com.
2 (August 24, 2012). Posner, Richard A. The incoherence of Antonin Scalia. Slate. Retrieved from www.slate.com.
If there are States that still have laws on the books that prohibit same sex sexual acts, how does this affect them?