WASHINGTON — At a session of the Supreme Court yesterday, lawyers seeking the repeal of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) argued that homosexual couples are actually corporations, and, by the Supreme Court’s own logic, should therefore be treated like human beings. Legal scholars are calling the tactic a “stroke of jurisprudential genius,” that may “actually convince the Justice’s that gay couples deserve some basic rights.”
Attorney Roberta Kaplan, arguing for the plaintiffs, told the Justices that “gay couples often buy and sell things, or employ other people, or raise money to invest in stuff. I ask your honors: Does this, or does it not, sound like a corporation?”
Justice Antonin Scalia was the first Justice to recognize the concept’s implications. “If homosexuals are corporations, and corporations are people—as we all know they are—then won’t we have to afford homosexuals the right’s we generally reserve for regular human beings?” he asked Kaplan in the “Q&A” phase of the session. “That’s the gist of it, your honor,” Kaplan replied.
Justice Scalia—who has in the past publicly endorsed imprisoning homosexuals, and has equated homosexual intercourse to incest and even murder—was visibly shaken by the argument. “I’m a little choked up right now,” he said. “I just want to say: I’m sorry for all the nasty things I’ve said about homosexuals in the past, like when I called homosexual lovemaking ‘flagpole sitting.’ If I’d know they were corporations, I’d never have been so disrespectful.”
Lawyers—encouraged by the Court’s apparent receptivity—hope the novel argument will persuade the Supreme Court to rule DOMA—a 1996 federal law that recognizes marriage only if it’s between a man and a woman—unconstitutional. Currently, the law prevents legally-married homosexual couples from receiving federal benefits routinely given to heterosexual spouses. Lawyers recognized that the current Court—which historically has ruled very conservatively on social issues—would be hard to convince, and so looked to legal precedent for help. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that corporations are legally no different from people—a controversial decision that anti-DOMA lawyers are hoping to use to their advantage.
“It’s the only way,” a member of the legal team challenging DOMA told Newslo. “If you want this Court to view anything in a positive light, you have to convince them it’s just a well-disguised multinational corporation. If you can pull that off, they’ll let you do anything you want.”
Indeed, Chief Justice John Roberts seemed, at one point, to get carried away with the argument’s beauty. “Hell, I’m convinced,” he said. “If gay people are corporations, then marriages are just mergers, and we’re totally cool with that.”