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Amidst all the good feelings from the election (every vote I cast for every candidate and proposal was a winning vote — that has never happened!), there are sour notes. The anti–gay marriage proposals in Arizona and Florida passed, and it looks like Prop 8 in California is going to pass as well.

This needs to go to the Supreme Court, and quickly. This is not a legislative issue: it never has been and never should have been treated as one. This is not an issue about the sanctity of marriage or any other religious consideration. Anyone who thinks so is blinded by prejudice.

This is quite simply an issue of civil rights. The electoral majority cannot be relied upon to ensure the civil rights of minorities are upheld. This is precisely what the courts were set up for, to protect minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Democracy without such checks is nothing short of anarchy.

Ours is a country founded on certain inviolable principles, one of the most important of which is the separation of church and state. And the fact is that there are two sorts of marriage in this country, civil and religious. The state happens to recognize marriages officiated in various religious rites (and from other cultural traditions), but there is no quid pro quo: the Catholic Church, at least, does not recognize a civil marriage unless it is consecrated in the Church. I imagine other religious rites treat marriage similarly. Whatever your views on the issue, the state's recognition of gay marriage and extension of all the benefits accorded it does not compromise the "sanctity" of marriage as defined by various religious traditions.

Nor could it without violating one of our founding principles. If we allow narrow-minded religious sentiment to hold sway in the case of gay marriage, where does it stop? Do we require all women to be covered from head-to-toe in public, according to one faith? Take away their right to employment, according to another? Do we mandate complete cessation of all work, human or machine, on certain days, according to others? Well, that's a bit extreme, you're saying? To which I respond: (1) all extreme injustices have their root in small acts that made the extreme possible, and (2) denying homosexuals their basic human rights is more than just a bit extreme.

The United States of America may be "one nation under God," but it reserves for the individual the right to choose who or what, if any, that god is. I will never tolerate the state telling me what I, as a devout Catholic, should believe, nor will I tolerate my Church or any other religious entity using government as an instrument to force its creed on others. The principle of separation of church and state goes back much further than our Founding Fathers: Jesus himself said, "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21).

The religious right is scared that gay marriage will corrupt its religion's conception of marriage, despite civil and religious marriage being separate entities, and is so eager to foist its beliefs on all, irrespective of religious affiliation and despite an established principle separating church and state; yet it forgets perhaps the single most important tenet of its faith. To deny an entire class of people a basic human right, to deny them the pursuit of love and happiness, to classify them as somehow less than fully human, is not compatible with our Lord Jesus Christ's commandment to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

Banning gay marriage is, from both a civil and Christian perspective, a moral wrong. Voters have no right to perpetrate such a wrong. For the sake of justice, the courts need to intervene.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 5th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Two reasons why it shouldn't go to the Supreme Court:

1) Not this Supreme Court, please!

2) but any Supreme Court would probably rule (probably properly) that it's a state issue and they have no jurisdiction.

DOMA could be thrown out by the Supreme Court if the right judges were asked the right question, but I'd rather just see it repealed. I'm not hopeful, though.
Nov. 5th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Prop. 8
You, Cathy and I agree; your mother and her friends disagree. There were more "little old ladies" voting than rational humans.

It springs from tribal law from the time of Abraham: every tribe member was the property of the tribe and no behavior that limited the tribe's growth and prosperity could be allowed. Masturbation was evil because the spilled seed could have generated new tribe members. Homosexual behavior was evil for the same reason. The clue that the law was irrational is that the penalty was usually death, which didn't exactly promote the growth of tribal membership.

But the remnants of tribal law have no place in our modern society. There are clearly too many people in the world and the limitation on procreation benefits "the tribe" by reducing the number competing for a share of an ever diminishing supply. Sexual energy that is built into our species by evolution is better spent in ways that don't increase the population.
Nov. 6th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Re: Prop. 8
The issue of gay marriage has nothing to do with sexuality. It has to do with equal protection under the law.
Nov. 6th, 2008 04:44 am (UTC)
Re: Prop. 8
Did you even read my comment before replying?

Hostility to homosexuality derives from ancient tribal law. Ancient tribal law is still a strong driving force in modern religions despite having been made obsolete by the conditions we face today. The concept of equal protection is a modern one, dating back only a few centuries. Many people are still 6,000 years behind in their thinking.

Many modern problems stem from the persistence of tribal ways.
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:31 am (UTC)
Re: Prop. 8
Of course I read your comment. I am simply pointing out that the issue has nothing, really, to do with homosexuality per se, not the origins of its stigmatization. Equal protection is really not that new a concept, though perhaps those words are only a couple of centuries old: the concept goes back at least 2000 years. Regardless of how long the concept has been around, equal protection and preservation of civil rights are the only relevant issues. I neither disagree or agree with what you wrote -- I don't have a background in social anthropology -- but I don't believe sexuality is at all the issue. Nor should it be the issue. In fact, I believe discussions of sexuality cloud the issue. This is why I was quick to make my comment.
Nov. 7th, 2008 01:54 am (UTC)
Re: Prop. 8
Nor is that what I was saying, which is why I asked if you had read my comments. The issue stems from tribal law's presumption that the tribe owns its members to a degree greater than slave ownership. The tribe owns its members body and soul while the slave is owned only bodily. The tribe is an abstraction that is alive and active today and has influenced the outcome of this recent election.

This concept, that the tribe owns its members to an extent greater than property ownership, is what brought us Proposition 8 and got it passed. It has almost nothing to do with homosexuality or even sexuality, as you have said repeatedly; it has to do with property and survival.

It is ironic that behavior deemed to be contrary to the survival of the tribe is punished by death, the pruning and reduction of tribal membership, which is also contrary to the survival of the tribe. The tribal attitude is alive and well in part because we refuse to think about it. The "Little Old Ladies" of the world keep it alive, as do the "Tribal Elders," their male counterparts. Your mother says she voted LOL although she had no idea that's what she was doing. Your sister voted your equality ticket. I voted against tribal influence in a modern world. That your sister's vote and mine were expressed the same doesn't necessarily imply we were voting the same.

I wasn't just discussing the origins of a stigma 6,000 years or so ago, I was attempting to point out that the ancient force of tribal law is alive, vitally powerful and mostly overlooked.

Why do you persist in believing that my comments had anything directly to do with sexuality?
Nov. 7th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC)
Re: Prop. 8
Why do you persist in believing that my comments had anything directly to do with sexuality?

Because of the references to masturbation, homosexuality, procreation, and sexual energy that take up far more bandwidth than your mention of tribal law. Your follow up comment does a much better job of clarifying your position.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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