By Chris Stevenson, Purcellville
August 08, 2003 — In its July 2003 Issue Brief, Virginia Legislative Services explains that, based on the the recent Supreme Court decision Lawrence v. Texas, the commonwealth’s laws regarding crimes against nature are now considered unconstitutional. This ruling and, importantly, the majority’s reasoning, should cause considerable anxiety concerning the future of Loudoun County’s families. Why?
First, harsh and unmerciful history would slap the hand of such a presumptuous court. Will Durant learned that the river of sexual desire must be “banked and cooled by a hundred restraints if it is not to consume in chaos both the individual and the group.” In this case, the justices consciously dismantle a familiar and able restraint against this ominous flood, under legal reasoning as wrong as it is labyrinthine. Does the court dismiss Baron de Montesquieu’s finding, that “Rome was a ship held by two anchors, religion and morality, in the midst of a furious tempest?”
Second, the logic declared controlling by the Supreme Court majority seriously weakens the legal foundations for all morals legislation. They wrote that “. . the fact that the governing majority in a State has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice.” In this way, important regulations on sexual behavior have been undermined, including those prohibiting adultery, fornication, prostitution, and brothels.
Is a law based on a moral code a valid one? Aristotle, in his Nicomachean Ethics, said that “. . the law bids us to do both the acts of a brave man (.eg. not to desert our post nor take to flight nor throw away our arms), and those of a temperate man (e.g. not to commit adultery nor to gratify one’s lust), . . and similarly with regard to the other virtues and forms of wickedness, commanding some acts and forbidding others; and the rightly-framed law does this right . . .” Indeed, if we were to conclude in the negative, then a sizable portion of our country’s criminal code, building on itself for over 200 years, is nothing more than a contemptible history of unconstitutional law-making. What was finally unearthed, after two centuries, which now makes clear hat the motivation for so much of our law is contrary to our ruling social contract?
Found: “[A]n emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex.” This definition is incredibly inchoate for the Supreme Court to be employing as constitutional binding. Moreover, if this “emerging awareness” were considered an inviolable liberty, there must be a proposed Constitutional amendment explicitly adding sodomy, for example, or perhaps “sexual freedom” generally, as a protected right. This liberty is not currently, as read by a layperson, found in the Constitution.
I submit that Loudoun County respectfully dissent from Lawrence v. Texas. I further applaud those citizens and groups, including political parties, which take up this cause.
[Originally published in Leesburg Today, Aug. 8, 2003]