Sorry, don't have Epstein's original article, but these stand on their own pretty well.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR .
'Live and Let Live' Will Never Be Peaceful
My good friend Richard Epstein tries only at the end of his piece on same-sex
marriage to balance the equities: After making his case for "Live and Let Live"
(editorial page, July 13) among the conservatives, he recognizes that the left has
offered no support for his libertarian understanding of "freedom of association."
When it comes to the freedom of employers and its workers, the freedom of the
Boy Scouts or of private clubs to preserve the terms of their own association, the
left has been quite "statist," as he says, in overriding those claims of freedom. .
In that passage he grasps precisely why the installation of same-sex mar-
riage will produce anything but the regimen of "live and let live." Once same-sex
'marriage is established as a "right," even a "constitutional right," all words
and measures against it will be stamped-as they are being stamped al-
ready-as wrongful. From what we've already seen, there is no hesitation about
demanding that churches in opposition to homosexual marriage should be deprived
of their tax exemptions; that the Boy Scouts be barred from public parks; that
private employers and private renters should no longer be respected in their
reluctance to extend a moral acceptance of same-sex couples.
Prof. Epstein recognizes, as well as anyone else, the dynamic by which a
"right" installed in the public laws makes its way into the private realm.
Why he should treat the matter so breezily here is a bit out of the groove in a
commentator usually so sober in his reading of the legal landscape.
Prof. Epstein is quite right in insisting that this issue must be dealt with as a
question of principle. But his own rejoinders against the conservatives would
have to face the same, demanding tests.
-If marriage requires merely adults who are intimate and loving, then it is not
enough for him to say that incest may still be barred because of "high dangers
from inbreeding." Surely that formula could not disqualify the father and grown
daughter who are intimate-and sterile.
And in the regime of same-sex marriage, it would not cover the father and son who
wish to marry. To say that these alliances are rare is not to explain the
ground or principle on which it would be disallowed once the law accepts the prin-
ciple of same-sex marriage. The notion of same-sex marriage was itself once so
rare that few people regarded it as a serious issue in the law.
Professor of Jurisprudence
In advocating same-sex marriage and, for that matter, polygamy. University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein says "the path to social peace lies in
the willingness on all sides to follow a principle of live-and-let-live on deep
moral disputes." In other words, social conservatives should roll over on every
moral issue—gay marriage, polygamy, abortion, embryonic-stem-cell research,
prostitution, drug use, pornography, gambling, assisted suicide . . . you name it.
Prof. Epstein's laissez-faire game plan will, of course, never work. There
will be winners and losers in the debate over gay marriage, just as with other
wedge issues such as abortion. If gay rights activists redefine marriage, they
will force their "equal status" on every area of public and private life. It's not
far-fetched to envision a day when, for example, every public school will teach
that homosexuality is a desirable lifestyle equivalent to heterosexuality; businesses, private clubs and other organizations will be required to extend benefits to same-sex couples; landlords will be
forced to accept gay tenants; and churches will be compelled to hire homosexual clergy.
And how long will it take until the Supreme Court overturns its 5-4 decision
allowing the Boy Scouts to reject gay Scout leaders? Probably a lot less time
than the 17 years it took to reverse its 5-4 ruling that validated sodomy laws.
Prof. Epstein worries about domination by a democratic majority, but what's
worse is domination by an authoritarian minority that uses activist courts to im-
pose its will on everyone else.
Charles D. Eden
I do not approve of same-sex marriages. Its Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve...
The bible does not belong in our laws. I don't give a damn what it says on the matter, the government should not legislate what happens between two consenting adults.