This is the second day of debate in the U.S. Congress on whether or not to hand to the States a referendum to add a specific discrimination Amendment to our Constitution. Sadly it is not the first time this measure has soured our national debate and it won’t be the last. The amendment defines a marriage as only between a man and a woman. It would be the first time in our short history we have conducted nationalized, bureaucratically approved, democratically endorsed bigotry based on a particular human orientation.
The arguments (scratch that), the reasons for creating this Amendment (scratch that), the cause (no), the logic (scratch that), the rationale (oh putz), the words being used to describe the seemingly credible reasons why the supporters of this restriction of the equality of a minority, range from “protecting the institution of marriage,” to “saving the family tradition,” even “protecting traditional marriage."
I agree with some of the premise within the above statements. Marriage is institutional. That is, it has become far less spiritual and far more documentary and government managed at the local level. In cultural anthropological terms, family is a traditional function of human beings, but that is rapidly changing in evolutional terms. For millennium family was a function of survival for those weakest in the family. Forming a unit was a necessity. But once a member was no longer weak, staying within the unit was but a matter of a lack of something better to do, anywhere better to hunt, a safer place to encamp. We have evolved past those needs of our hunter gatherer past. We have created infrastructure and technology which allows us to break that ancient, inherent bond, and to lose that genetically implanted insecurity which had kept our tribes together. We mature and many of us, men and women, gay and straight alike, say to our selves, “hey . . I don’t need this shit . . why do I stay with this lunatic?"
The bill mentions nothing of marrying the prostitute you have been seeing for six months. The bill mentions nothing of marrying that woman at the bar you’ve been drinking yourself into a stupor with, every single night for a year. The bill orders gay people to stay out of our town hall licensing departments. The bill does nothing about that eighteen year old straight couple in love that gets married in a day, has three children with three years. Within the marriage, for example, one of the two pillars of this marriage becomes alcoholic, the other gets fat and loses all attractive appeal. They fight, they throw objects at each other, their stress and their aggression is absorbed by the young children. One of them leaves. The family court gets involved. One of them along with the kids, appears as black and white mug shots on the side of milk cartons and is called a “kidnapper," the children are called “missing," with no good cause given to the public. The bill doesn’t ban divorce in an effort to “protect the sanctity of marriage." The bill doesn’t set an age minimum for the joining commitment. The majority of married straight people will get a divorce, at least once. Sanctified!
Irony: The proposed Amendment stops a particular kind of people from getting married ,like other people, because of their behavior and their expression of their feelings for each other. Marriage is a wreck to more than %55 of straight couples, because of the particular kind of people they each choose to marry. In those straight marriages it truly is the particular behavior they exhibit and the expressed feelings that they have for each other that is the reason those marriages become ulcer inducing roller-coaster rides through Hell. So, for the very reasons the homophobes wish to stomp out same-sex marriage, most marriages become dysfunctional and, sooner rather than later, obliterated.
Perhaps one day medical science can save us all from bad marriages. Genetic compatibility matching? Virtual journeys through the minds our prospective partners?
The excuses blathered out by our selected president included those above, which are words of holy dictate to the right wing Bible thumping homophobes, but added in the past several years is the latest word game in covering up bigotry and homophobia with a Constitutional Amendment; “Activist judges with arbitrary decisions have left the American people no choice!"
It is because a federal judge charged by our Articles of Confederation can not rule against the Constitutionality of a actual Constitutional Amendment, only how it is interpreted in specific cases, that the right-wingers now see a new Amendment which discriminates, as their only decent hope.
What is an “activist judge?" He or she is any federal judge who might rule against the Christian fundamentalists goals, or against the goals of anti choice advocates, or against the goals of both groups combined with the homophobic sections of the grandstands. But their particular kind of judgment is a ruling on the Constitutionality of the matter, which really boils the righteous blood of the right wingers. If you hear an emotionally charged Liberal say something to the effect of “Conservatives hate the constitution!" [I personally am guilty of this statement on more than one occasion] It is because of this type of Conservative unwillingness to understand the Constitutional and the separation of the three branches of our government, and or an unwillingness to accept he reality of the Constitution as the basis of our laws. “Activist Judges!" Is a politically correct cry of their own kind. A way to rally the frustrated among them toward a cause of unconstitutionality, of unequal rights, of “separate but equal," but by their definition.
A caller yesterday to the Randi Rhodes show
on Air America inspired me to write this today. During his call he voiced an often heard call of the American Civics ignorant. Following his besmirch of “ . . all Liberals," he then proceeded with a common expression of a Conservative utopia, a world where there is no Constitution, where the mob rules.
Caller:“ . . this country is supposed to be ruled by the majority . . not a bunch of activist judges ! The people always vote against gay marriage, in every state where they had a vote the people said no! But these activist judges . . . (etc.)."
Randi didn’t address this aspect of his call. I think she was tired or just too upset. But the attitude of this Con is typical. He never did get it, in history class, or in civics, or never even got civics in his school. Democracy does imply majority decisions win to represent group action. But on federal matters, the local level of choosing our representatives is where the founders decided that majority of the will would stop. From there our elected representatives vote for us. They are welcome to vote with our intent, our feelings on any matter, and they are also welcome to vote against us, of their own free will. They’re actions are restricted by the U.S. Constitution, a.k.a. Activist Judges, and the veto of the Executive branch. One other matter involving the Gay Marriage discussion: State’s Rights to choose who can be married, and or which states can recognize the marriages of other states and etcetera. This is a false narrative. An argument that should never have occurred. An excuse used by politicians who want to avoid taking a principled stand on either side of the Gay Marriage issue.
If you understand what a Civil Right is in America than you must understand that the right must be continuous from U.S. State to U.S. State. We call it “the United States," for a reason, we guarantee to the same rights all citizen within the U.S., its Equal Protection, its Free Speech, its the guaranteed Right to Interstate Travel, its protection against discrimination of race, color, creed, gender. All principles articulated in the Bill of Rights and in U.S. Law.
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression."
- Thomas Jefferson
If our Supreme Court rules contrary to this understanding, it is their principles which have become warped from those of the founders and the authors of the Bill of Rights and the entire U.S. Constitution. They won’t be “activist judges," just old farts with antiquated ideals rooted in poorly reasoned Conservative philosophy, and they will eventually vote again.
“We need to protect Traditional Marriage!"
This about the stupidest statement made by the right-wing homophobes. It displays no sense of history, no concept of evolvement of societies, the subjugation of women throughout known time, or the initial reasons any man and woman would marry to begin with.
Define “traditional," as that practice which is similar, but has a lengthy period of time in its history. It can be a ceremony of similarity. It can be a doctrine of practice, of belief, of ritual. In history the “tradition," of marriage, and by any other name any joining for commitment of two persons (a man and a woman). This is fine to accept that the man and woman have traditionally married, except so much else has changed about this arrangement that only the varying gentiles remain similar.
Most common in marriage of human history? Enslavement of the woman by the man. The woman? No. Most commonly it was a girl, a pre-pubescent girl, virgin, terrified, bound by the orders of her parents. Beaten if unlucky, killed if deemed more trouble than she was worth. The reasons? For her family, the money, the livestock, or payment for a loss. Next commonly in “tradition." To make peace with a neighbor, a nearby village or a ruling King. If one tribe or village exchanges a virgin bride with another, bonds are formed, bonds which may protect each tribe or village from attack against the other.
Next most common tradition, the dowry, the buy off. Still practiced throughout the Near East. A daughter in a family of farmers, or nomads of herding, or hunter gatherers, is a burden, not seen as capable of the strength and fortitude a male can provide, not perceived as able to take the reins of the patriarch’s control, his estate. A male suitor is found by the two fathers, sometimes the mothers are consulted. A dowry is delivered by the father of the bride upon marriage. No love. No romantic meeting of the prospective couple. Forced marriage, arranged, cold, materialistic only, pragmatic only to their parents. Traditional marriage! Given there are more than a billion families practicing this sort of “traditional marriage," and less than seven hundred million Europeans and Americans combined whose idea of marriage is not at all like this; I would safely say that this Near Eastern “traditional marriage,” is the truly the most practiced. Traditional marriage!
I wear a tee shirt from my collection of Liberal message shirts, that well explains the principle that is often missing from this discussion, it is the foundation of the issue of Gay Marriage:
“If Gays and Lesbians
are allowed to have
equal rights . . .
then everyone will