Thursday, July 15, 2004

Remember Civics??

Al's got Dan Savage on his show today and is discussing the whole gay marriage issue. One of the reasons I like Al is because he gets regular folk from BBQ restaurants in traditionally conservative Christian communities to get on the show and discuss with his guests the issue du jour in a constructive, respectful manner. Today a typical Alabama homemaker got on and basically gave the party line for opponents of gay marriage.  "It's wrong because I believe it's wrong, and my beliefs should be codified in U.S. law because I believe the idea of the "separation of Church and State" is a myth. I believe America was founded on Judeo-Christian ideals (which just so happen to coincide perfectly with mine) and those should continue to guide the highest law of the land".

Aside from the fact that her argument is totally devoid of logic and reason (I know, why does that surprise me?) these people scare the everloving shit out of me. I just assume that every other schoolkid learned the same basics of United States History that I did. But apparently, they choose to ignore the facts (right along with the scientific proof of evolution). This is the classic conservative Christian argument on same sex marriage (and prayer in school; and reproductive issues; ad nauseum.)

So here's what I learned in school: We rebelled from England on the belief that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

In other words, that all humans are born with basic rights, the most important being a right to live, in whatever way they feel will make them happy, with no government trying to stop them. Implicit in that statement is the fact that your rights to Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness should not come at the expense of someone else's. In other words, you can't kill someone because it makes you happy. Furthermore, it is the Government's PURPOSE to secure your right to do what makes you happy; and that they get that authority not from God, not from an organized Church, and not from a foreign king, but from the very people who it rules.

So then we fought a war, and won it to take the power to create this new kind of government for ourselves. We drew up a blueprint, called a "Constitution" that then outlined how this novel new government would work. Nowhere in this blueprint was sex addressed, nowhere was marriage addressed. Interestingly enough, nowhere was God addressed, and nowhere was religion addressed, either. Presumably, this is because the framers felt these were personal and religious issues that the Federal government had NO SAY IN.

Then, shortly after the original blueprint was ratified, they realized there was a very good chance the *majority* would use their new power to try to deprive minorities, and individuals who they did not agree with; of their basic rights (that we went to war to protect in the first place). So they drafted 10 short amendments to make it absolutely, perfectly clear what the ruling majority could NOT, under any circumstances do to deprive individuals of their rights. And first among these, was that the government should make NO LAW with regard to religion; or deprive individuals from freely expressing their religious beliefs.

Had they *intended* the laws of the new country to be based on Christian and/ Biblical belief they would have said so. They'd have said "We the Christian people of the United States, in order to form a more Christian union....". But they did not.

In fact, the constitutional legitimacy of same sex marriage (and homosexuality in general) seems like such a slam dunk to me I'm totally amazed there has not been a defining case that's gone to the Supreme Court on the topic, so the Supremes can, once and for all tell the states that individuals have THE INALIENABLE RIGHT to have sex with people of the same sex, if that makes them happy (or if they just *think* it will); and that states CANNOT deny (parental & marriage) rights they give one group of people to another group of people based on sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is a religious issue, pure & simple. Even if you don't subscribe to an actual religion and accept their particular take on it, it's a personal belief as to whether or not it's "natural"; and morally good or morally bad as a result. No matter what you believe, WHO THE FUCK DOES IT HURT????? Just because *you* don't think *you* would be happy in a same sex relationship, why do you feel the need to legally BAN another person from doing it?

For instance, I know without a doubt that I could never be happy being married to a religious fundamentalist. In fact, the very idea of it is totally and absolutely repugnant to me. Furthermore, I think fundamentalists live a morally wrong lifestyle and it breaks my heart to think of them teaching impressionable young children that a fundamentalist lifestyle is "OK". But does that mean I want to deny them the legal right to marry each other? Or have children? Hell no! Because if that lifestyle makes them happy, and they're not hurting anyone in the process then what business is it of mine???

Heck, even if I thought it *was* my business what legal right do I have to try to use law to force strangers to adopt my lifestyle? As the Constitution clearly states, I have NONE. Period. End of Story. Even if an overwhelming majority of citizens agreed with me and passed a law that made it illegal for two Fundamentalist Christians to marry, it would not be constitutionally legal and would never stand up to Supreme Court review. We would have to pass an amendment first that repealed the freaking First Amendment to make it so.

So in an effort to re-educate the American public I propose three new bumper stickers (since they apparently don't read history books):

"It's the First Amendment, Stupid."

"You can't have the right to live life by the Bible
without my having the right not to."

and for the rainbow contingent:

"Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness.
Same Sex Love Makes Me Happy.
End of Discussion."

I'm open to more suggestions...

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