Phyllis Schlafly wants America to get “back to basics.” And when it comes to preventing “marriage mayhem,” that means talking about sodomy, which is “a central feature of same-sex marriage.”
Specifically, it means talking about sodomy in the “Anglo American legal tradition,” from its criminalization in English common law as early as 1533 through the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Bowers v Hardwick upholding state sodomy laws. In Schlafly’s April 15 Eagle Forum missive she admiringly quotes from Chief Justice Warren Burger’s concurrence in Bowers, in which he quotes 18th Century commentator William Blackstone to the effect that sodomy is worse than rape:
English Common Law’s opposition to sodomy goes to the bottom of the tradition’s taproot. This progenitor of American law criminalized sodomy as early as 1533. And Sir William Blackstone, the late Eighteenth Century commentator foundational to American law, was quoted by Chief Justice Warren Burger in his concurrence in the Court’s Bowers decision: “[sodomy is] ‘the infamous crime against nature,’ an offense of ‘deeper malignity’ than rape, an heinous act ‘the very nature of which is a disgrace to human nature,’ and ‘a crime not fit to be named.’”
Schlafly doesn’t say that sodomy was punishable by death in Blackstone’s time; Burger's concurrence did note that it was a capital offence under Roman law. But all this grand history was upended, Schlafly complains, with the Supreme Court’s “anti-tradition” decision in Lawrence v Texas, which overturned state sodomy laws and upheld the privacy and sexual freedom of consenting adults. And that, she says, has led to the marriage equality cases currently being considered by the Court. Not surprisingly, Schlafly has strong opinions on those cases:
If the pro-homosexual rights forces win, that which is natural to the human race —marriage — is destroyed, and our venerable Constitution and legal tradition are slammed by Humanistic forces wanting to reconstruct American law and society on an anti-Judeo-Christian foundation.
Of course, Schlafly has her own “traditional” views about rape. She has repeatedly denounced the concept of marital rape, saying that “when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about.” Last year Schlafly helped rally Religious Right support for Todd Akin when his remarks about “legitimate rape” were dooming his Senate campaign.