My mother used to say ‘disgustipating’ to refer to things that she thought were really rotten. I hadn’t thought of it for a while, until this week.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a decision that gay marriage is a Constitutional right, and that the remaining states where gay marriage is forbidden will have to allow it.
While I was out this morning, I saw the sign above at a parking lot.
I really have no problem with gay civil marriage: gay people should be able to express their commitment to each other, and secure their legal rights with respect to each other, the same as heterosexual couples.
But is it ‘marriage equality’? Hardly.
All but a tiny handful of the seven billion of us walking the planet today are here because, at some point in the past, a man and a woman came together and caused us to be. Not all of them were married, but it is that essential fact of our existence that is the origin of marriage.
And until and unless there is a race of literal Amazons who reproduce through parthenogenesis, so it will continue to be.
What bothers me about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision is that, first, there is nothing in my reading of the Constitution that infers a right to gay marriage, either directly or indirectly. Many, many decisions are made (in business, politics, and life in general) by coming up with the answer first, and assembling whatever arguments are needed to support it. But I expected the Supreme Court to be above that sort of crap.
What’s far worse, though, is that the government is now empowered to clonk those of us who believe that ‘equal under the law’ is not ‘the same thing’ upside the head and tell us to get with the program. We already have laws preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation: those, together with yesterday’s decision, mean that gay civil marriage will not be containable as ‘civil’ for very long.
* * *
The other disgustipating Supreme Court decision concerned Obamacare. The law, as written, indicated that subsidies would be available for individuals who had purchased insurance through ‘an exchange established by the State.’ We normally don’t say that in American law. You might say ‘a State’ or ‘the States,’ referring to one or more of the 50 state governments, or ‘the States or the Federal government’ if that’s what you meant.
We had understood that the intent was that a state would have to set up an insurance exchange for its residents to get the subsidies, as a means of encouraging states to set up exchanges. But most states didn’t do that, leaving it to the Federal exchange.
But if people couldn’t get subsidies, the insurance wouldn’t be affordable, so an executive decision was made to allow subsidies to residents of all of the states. You could reasonably read ‘an exchange established by the State’ to refer to, not a particular one of the 50 states, but the government in general.
Ultimately, this one doesn’t really matter for me. New York did set up an Obamacare exchange. (Alas, I earn too much to be eligible for a subsidy, and even if I got one, it wouldn’t make a dent in the actual premium.) Nevertheless, with or without the subsidy, Obamacare remains the most breathtakingly bad public policy decision that I can remember in my life.
But I’m sure something will come to top it later this year.