In an apparently consistent decision on how the state of NY views homosexuals, an appeals court in NY said that it is no longer slander to say that someone is gay. For those who might cry foul, including the man who brought the suit saying that his relationship with his girlfriend was ruined over the lies that were spread about him, the court basically said that, at least in NY, it is “…a false premise that it is shameful and disgraceful to be described as lesbian, gay or bisexual.” If there is no shame and disgrace in being gay, how could having someone call you that be slander?
The court did affirm that this applied in NY and that there are people in other places who still feel that being gay is something evil. So what this court in NY has basically done is say that if, in their opinion, a majority of people feel a certain way about something, then that something can determine law. And that is a scary proposition. If there is no basis for these feelings or cultural perceptions, then majority rule becomes the law of the land.
You may protest and say, but we have always based life on majority rule: we have elections, right? Actually, no. We have based the way our country is governed on a static document called the Constitution. We have used majority rule to determine who uses that document to govern the land. I would submit that majority rule for deciding morality is a dangerous thing. What happens in 50 or 100 years if there is a different majority that views the killing of unwanted children up to the age of five as normal and good for society? What if in 50 or 100 years a majority says that the number of children a couple can have is limited? What if in 50 or 100 years a majority says that owning private property is detrimental to society? I believe there must be a static norm for morality. I also believe that the character of God determines that static norm.
I favor states’ rights over federal government intervention in most cases. So I would agree that NY has the right, if this appeal continues to the state supreme court, to make this the law of NY. And, again, it would be consistent with their current view of homosexuality. That is NY’s decision as a secular state. What I disagree with, however, is when the majority in one place seeks to impose their ideas on a different majority in another place, which happens all too often. The more “enlightened” person looks down on others who view morality differently.
On a vaguely related legal note: I am curious if someone in NY who happens to be charged with a hate crime for violence against a homosexual will use this ruling in their defense. “Your honor, this can’t be a hate crime. There is nothing wrong with being homosexual, and since there is no way that I could be slandered by someone calling me gay. How then could I possibly hate this person for being gay since there is nothing wrong with being gay.” Silly, you may say. Illogical, you may say. Ok, but a court in NY has gone on record with a blanket ruling that says regardless of one’s intent, it is no longer possible to slander someone by calling them gay, even if that was the person’s intent.