Those who frequent comment threads at blogs and news sites will be familiar with Godwin’s Law. For the uninitiated, Godwin’s Law basically says that in any comment thread, it’s virtually certain that someone will eventually make an analogy to Hitler and/or the Nazis, no matter what the topic.
There’s a corollary in the debate over so-called “same-sex marriage”. In any discussion of the topic, it’s a virtual certainty that someone arguing for the redefinition of marriage will bring up the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia, and compare marriage being defined as male-female to anti-miscegenation laws.
But Loving vs. Virginia was strictly about racial discrimination. It had nothing to do with the definition of marriage, any more than making black people sit in the back of the bus was about the definition of “bus”, or segregated lunch counters were about the definition of “lunch” or “counter”.
As with society at large, the Virginia statute at issue in Loving presumed the essential male-female nature of marriage:
The Lovings were convicted of violating § 20-58 of the Virginia Code:
“Leaving State to evade law. — If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in § 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage.”
The Supreme Court ruled that the Virginia statute was a violation of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. The Justices presumed the 14th Amendment pertained to race, and that the violation was based solely on racial discrimination:
Because we reject the notion that the mere “equal application” of a statute containing racial classifications is enough to remove the classifications from the Fourteenth Amendment’s proscription of all invidious racial discriminations, we do not accept the State’s contention that these statutes should be upheld if there is any possible basis for concluding that they serve a rational purpose.
In the case at bar, however, we deal with statutes containing racial classifications, and the fact of equal application does not immunize the statute from the very heavy burden of justification which the Fourteenth Amendment has traditionally required of state statutes drawn according to race.
The clear and central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate all official state sources of invidious racial discrimination in the States.
There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification.
The Court also presumed the basic procreative, male-female nature of marriage:
Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival.
The only rational basis for marriage being “fundamental to our very existence and survival” is due to certain basic facts of human biology and sexual reproduction.
But liberals aren’t seeking to redefine marriage because they think it violates the Constitution, they assert that it violates the Constitution because they want to redefine marriage. The various arguments and assertions are infinitely malleable because they’re entirely outcome-based. Still, they must be refuted. This one is easy to refute. Loving simply doesn’t provide any justification for redefining the institution of marriage. Loving had nothing to do with the definition of marriage.