WASHINGTON – Midway through the second day of Supreme Court arguments on same sex marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts surprised the courtroom when he asked if plaintiffs had given serious deliberation to the possible repercussions of sentencing tens of thousands of naive homosexuals to “a lifetime of abuse and scorn from mother-in-laws.”
“What I find myself wondering is,” Justice Roberts said, “has the gay and lesbian community given honest and objective consideration to the devastating repercussions many of them could suffer by subjecting themselves to a lifetime of interminable small talk, tortuous holiday visits, condescending looks and character assassination that accompany the baggage of a mother-in-law?”
Intermittent coughs pierced the silence hanging over the courtroom before Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke.
“I too am curious,” Kennedy said. “It appears as if the gay and lesbian community is willing to sacrifice a freedom that so many of us envy by voluntarily admitting themselves into the institution that we call marriage. I confess I find it confounding that so many appear eagerly willing to discard a cherished freedom that will be lost to them forever.”
“I concur,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg whispered. “Once that door is opened it can never be closed again.”
“It’s a conundrum, that’s for certain,” Justice Antonin Scalia muttered. “However, after personally enduring several agonizing decades of despair I’ve come to an understanding with my own mother-in-law.”
Justice Sonia Sotameyer leaned into her microphone, “What kind of understanding, Antonin?”
“Whenever she comes over I lock myself in the study with a bottle of scotch and a carton of cigarettes,” Scalia smirked.
Several of the justices snickered.
“Throughout the years I’ve been asked why I never married,” Justice Elena Kagan shared. “Although I have confided to those closest to me that I would find inoperable stage 4 brain cancer more appealing than being saddled with a mother-in-law, I will refrain from allowing my personal feelings to cloud my judicial impartiality.”
“I’m reminded of a bedtime story my father used to tell,” Justice Steven Breyer remarked. “A man finds a lamp, rubs it, and a genie appears. The genie tells the man he may have two wishes, but whatever he wishes his mother-in-law will get double. The man thinks for a minute and says, first I’d like a million dollars. Second, I want you to beat me half to death.”
Several law clerks at the side of the court room giggled.
“What do you do when your mother-in-law is covered in concrete up to her shoulders?” Justice Clarence Thomas asked rhetorically. “Buy more concrete!”
A number of attendees in the courtroom shifted in their seats.
The courtroom buzzed with snickers and muffled laughter.
“What do you do if you miss your mother-in-law?” asked Justice Sotamayer. “Reload and take better aim.”
Several plaintiffs’ lawyers grimaced at the wave of laughter filling the courtroom.
“What’s the difference between a dead mother-in-law lying in the middle of the road, and a dead snake lying in the middle of the road?” Justice Roberts asked. “There’s skid marks in front of the snake.”
What’s the definition of mixed emotions?” Justice Ginsberg asked. “Watching your mother-in-law drive over a steep cliff in your brand new car.”
The raucous laughter of the courtroom began to dissipate as Chief Justice Roberts pounded his gavel and called for a 15 minute recess. Moments later outside the courtroom a lawyer for the plaintiffs summed up the feelings of his colleagues and clients:
“What the f*ck was that?”