Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dinesh D'Souza: Stupid or Very Stupid?

Shaking his tiny fist at the California Supreme Court's ruling in favor of gay marriage, Dinesh D'Souza compares gay marriage with pet marriage, sibling marriage, child marriage, and polygamy, then clarifies the little point he was making with the comparisons:

The point is not that gay marriage is indistinguishable from child marriage or polygamy. The point is that any definition, and marriage is no exception, includes some people and excludes others. Consequently it’s unreasonable to say that gays have a constitutional right to over-ride the definition but other groups do not. The court’s real justification seems to have little to do with constitutional reasoning and everything to do with an assertion of political power. [emphasis mine]
The italicized part is rather odd considering that the court was careful to ground its ruling in the relevant constitutional and case law, and its reasoning lacked any appeal to the "political power" of gays or anyone else. The court was asked to consider whether the prohibition of gay marriage passed constitutional muster, and it did exactly that; that Dinesh D'Souza doesn't like the ruling doesn't convert it from legal reasoning to "political power" reasoning.

D'Souza is free, of course, to rebut the court's legal reasoning, but insofar as he bothers to attempt it, he embarrasses all stupid people with the following:
In issuing its ruling the California court appealed to the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The basic logic is that gays have a right to be treated like everyone else. But just like everyone else, gays do have the right to marry. They have the right to marry adult members of the opposite sex!
Indeed so! We have heard this blinkered idea of equality many times before: "the law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread.” But D'Souza turns up the stupid to 11 for this one:
Read the constitution, hold it up to the light, squeeze lemon juice on it--you won't see a right to gay marriage in there. It is simply not an enumerated right, nor is it a right that can be clearly derived from other enumerated rights.
Ah yes, as I've noted before, right wingers love dragging their knuckles across the Constitution in a way that obscures the 9th amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
It didn't take any lemon juice to see that in the text of the US Constitution.

Ed Brayton has more, much more, on the stupidity of D'Souza on this ruling, including the rather awkward and untoward history of D'Souza's legal reasonings, such as they are:
[T]his is the exact argument made by the state of Virginia in defending its laws against interracial marriage: that blacks and whites both have exactly the same right to marry someone of the same race and thus they are treated equally.
Verdict: very stupid.


J. Carter Wood said...

I love that quote from A. France. I used it in a course on the criminal law with German law students a few years ago and some didn't get the irony.

Which was an uncomfortable few minutes. But it turned into a good learning moment.

Well used...

Dale said...

JCW, thanks! I've always loved that quote too.