NOM: Decriminalizing Gay Sex Helped Cause Penn State Scandal
November 18, 2011 4:43 pm ET by Carlos Maza
Although it claims to solely be interested with preserving the “traditional” definition of marriage, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has been vocal critic of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, a case that found state laws criminalizing gay sex to be unconstitutional.
In August, the group promoted the claim that Lawrence paved the way for polygamy. NOM’s current chairman, John Eastman, has called Lawrence a “despotic” decision that would undermine “a number of other existing restrictions” on marriage.
Now, NOM has concocted a new excuse for attacking Lawrence: it helped cause the Penn State scandal.
In light of the recent child molestation scandal at Penn State, Holloway’s column attempts to explain how “the Supreme Court has helped to foster a culture that encourages the sexual exploitation of children,” specifically referencing the Lawrence decision:
Moreover, the Court has introduced such moral confusion into our culture not only through its First Amendment jurisprudence, but also through its invention and expansion of the “right of privacy.” In 2003, in Lawrence v.Texas, the Court found that the privacy right prohibited a Texas law against homosexual sodomy. Whatever one thinks of the outcome of the case, the Court’s reasoning was radical in its implications. In effect, the Court held that a mere moral conviction on the part of a political majority was not a sufficient basis for law. A law with no better foundation, the Court suggested, was no better than arbitrary and irrational, and was probably rooted in disreputable prejudice. As Justice Scalia pointed out in his scathing dissent, the Court’s doctrine called into question a whole field of long-established morals legislation, from prohibitions on prostitution to proscriptions of incest. Scalia’s observation also applies to laws against the sexual exploitation of minors. It would be difficult to contend, after all, that such laws are not deeply rooted in the moral convictions of the majority.
None of this is to suggest that most pedophiles are readers of Supreme Court opinions. But they don’t have to be. Almost all of them are certainly aware of the cultural establishment’s libertine conviction that an individual’s sexual desires, whatever they are, are none of the law’s business; and most of them are surely aware, at least in some dim way, that the Supreme Court has repeatedly used its authority in defense of such a view. From there it is only a short step for some of them to convince themselves that their desires really are harmless so long as they can find a child to seduce, while escaping the detection of laws that now seem to have no real moral authority. [emphasis added]
For the record, the Lawrence decision explicitly noted that “the present case does not involve minors” or otherwise deal with people “who might be injured or coerced or who are situated in relationships where consent might not easily be refused.” Rather it dealt solely with “two adults” who engaged in sexual activity “with full and mutual consent from each other.”
What’s more important, though, is the fact that NOM continues to paint the Lawrence decision as a target in its campaign against marriage equality. If reversing Lawrence – and, as a result, allowing for the recriminalization of gay sex – is really one of NOM’s organizational interests, the group poses a much greater threat to LGBT people than it’s been willing to admit.