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Letter: What Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. says about natural law
First Published Jan 19 2014 10:48 pm • Last Updated Jan 21 2014 10:08 am

In Ken Thomas’ Jan. 15 Forum letter, "Natural Law dictates two-gender society," the author appeals to "Natural Law" to justify his opposition to same-sex marriage. He says, "Amazingly shocking how many so-called intelligent people there are ... who cannot comprehend Natural Laws — even federal judges."

One federal judge who did contemplate Natural Laws was the great Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Of those who believe in "Natural Law," he wrote: "[they] seem to me to be in that naïve state of mind that accepts what has been familiar and accepted by them and their neighbors as something that must be accepted by all men everywhere." (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Natural Law, 32 Harvard Law Review 40, 41 (1918).

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Mr. Thomas is correct: Neither the U.S. Constitution nor Natural Law specifically establishes a right to marry. Nothing in Nature tells us how She feels about the rights to life, liberty, property, or equality before the law, let alone marriage.

Mr. Thomas purports to speak for Nature — "that the ultimates of a little creature on this little earth are the last word of the unimaginable whole," to quote Justice Holmes. Mr. Thomas’ arrogance is, for lack of a more fitting expression, "amazingly shocking."

Wyatt Levinson McKean

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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