Monday, February 20, 2006

I thought Harvey Milk fixed this?

In this last year this country has held the issue of Homosexual marriage as a fore-front issue. The question of what is actually marriage and what it means for a couple to be in such a union is at the center of this issue. The paradox being that we are still denying that not allowing such an action to a specific demographic is treating a U.S. Population as second class citizens. The arguments have been wrung through the legal, political, and especially religious domains and here, I shall bring forth a few of these issues and address them in my own little manner.

It has been brought up that allowing Homosexuals to marry would change the definition of “marriage” or destroy the sanctity of marriage. Firstly, nowhere in the religious texts of the Jewish or even Christian religion is there a definition (I am not familiar with Islamic texts so I cannot comment on them). So, since there has never been a definition of the union that would not allow two men or two women to participate, that argument is invalid and, if a constitutional amendment be passed, would be erroneous and illegal based on some of the constitutional rights discussed later in this article. As for the supposed “sanctity” issue, I personally find it ridiculous because of the divorce rates and the fact that there has never been a generation of humanity where the majority of the population were in a “holy” and “perfect” union; there have always been domestic problems, cheating, dissolution and even savagery in such relationships. I sincerely doubt, as has been pointed out by the majority of comedians out there, that anyone will not be married or will divorce if homosexuals were allowed to get married.

Some protest that Homosexuals in general are “immoral” based on the passage in Leviticus that a man laying with a man like one lays with a woman is an “abomination” and that such a union being allowed legally would be offensive to themselves. Even if this were the case, by not allowing them to express themselves in this way, you are imposing your religion upon them. If we are to follow this course of action; denying certain religious freedoms then the United States would next regulate all forms of religious expression so that one group would not be offended by another's which could logically happen, seeing as how it has already happened in France and England (regarding to displaying religious paraphernalia on one's person).

There are many States in this country that still have laws on their books that should be repealed as a result of being discriminatory on the basis of a consensual sexual orientation (the consensual issue is to be addressed later). Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, and Utah all list consensual sodomy as a misdemeanor. The penalty for breaking these laws were a fine from $100 to $900. Texas, surprisingly enough, had repealed their version of this law in 1994, but in the others, they are still on the books. This is not the worst of the situation; Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia all have laws on the books that call such acts a felony which have the penalties of at 1-10 years in jail and harsh fines. Some of the codes even call the act a “crime against nature.” In most instances, such congress between a man and a woman are not subject to this law. These are instances of unjust laws that make sexual relationships between consensual adults illegal and are therefore unconstitutional, but again, we shall come to why later.

Another issue that has been consistently brought up (much to my surprise given the childlike nature of the argument) in my conversations with individuals from the other edge of the bench is the following scenarios; “if we allow gays to marry, what is to keep the path from moving towards individuals marrying animals or children?” To this ridiculous argument, I have two responses. First this argument brings the discussion towards the issue of consent; there should be nothing wrong with two individuals who are at the age of consent to have a union, anything else would be a gross abuse of their civil rights for equal protection and expression. Children and Animals cannot give consent and to even bring up this argument is ludicrous.

The second response I have to this manner of argument is that we could take this line of thought in the opposite direction; let us say that there is an amendment to the constitution that defines marriage as a lawful union between a man and a woman. What is to keep the next step from being that we refuse marriage between individuals with different skin colors? This argument isn't as strange as the right would make it sound. In the U.S. Supreme Court case “Loving V. Virginia” (1967) this situation was addressed. Virginia, at the time had a ban on interracial marriages and charged a couple who had recently been married in another state and setting up residency in Virginia with violating that ban. For those who may be wondering, it was a felony to break this law; "If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years.” The U.S. Supreme Court found that while, “marriage is a social relation subject to the State's police power... there can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.” This argument can be directly applied to homosexual weddings, just replace the word “racial” with the word “sexual.” It is dumbfounding to me how anyone can deny that this is a gross violation of the Equal Protection Clause. This has been found in a few State Supreme Court rulings, such as one in Vermont in 1999 and Massachusetts in 2004.

It seems that there is some fear with the religious right that the government is going to come into their congregations and regulate their practices and force them to perform homosexual weddings. This is not the case, that would be unconstitutional. The reality of the situation is that if a congregation were to allow homosexual marriages in their church then that union would be recognized by the United States Government and any congregation would have the right to refuse to perform such a ceremony.

All I can really say to those who call the situation immoral or a sin and scream at homosexuals that they are bound for hell, is “so what?” Is it really your place to push your religion upon others? If they, in your eyes, sin and as such, in you eyes, go to hell for such action, let them. They are adults and can make their own choices and, look at it this way, you can have more room in your heaven. This situation on the sidelines, the legal and constitutional case is clear; by not allowing the homosexual demographic the right to express their religious and relationship beliefs and denying the same right you allow to a different demographic, you are committing unconstitutional acts. While I am not myself a homosexual, I do wish them luck and hope that the United States finds sanity in regards to this issue soon.


  1. Here is an argument that may sound odd at first, but the more I ponder it, the more intuitive it becomes.

    Years ago with some time on my hands, working in Riyadh, I began a genealogical hobby and was proud of the approximately 500 individuals, back to Jamestown and before, that I had discovered. I had seen how, not just arithmetically, or geometrically, but exponentially do the cousins and grandparents and branches and twigs grow into a tree, that were it to be taken back twenty or so generations would have encompassed most of the then population of the then Europe. This may be the core unconscious draw to genealogy.

    It is this realization of the connectedness we constantly deny. We stop at a traffic light and are indifferent to the “relatives” in the car next to us. Or we haven’t a clue as to our relative who lives a few inches away in the next-door apartment. Or the very distant cousin who is the annoying salesperson we dealt with recently. It is this realization on which I’d like to weave this rather odd but encompassing argument – the argument that, to have the civil right of civil marriage forever denied to homosexuals, is abhorrent to the reality that all gays are from families and that almost everyone has a homosexual in their family (in fact with the new UK government survey that showed six percent in their population, we can assume that there are tens of millions of homosexuals in our American population). And it is consistent, rather than inconsistent, with not just family values but with “Tradition American Family Values”, that we do not undervalue any American and certainly not any member of our family. As we are all family in the truest sense.

    Our founders used no word or phase more forcibly, more courageously, more passionately – then they did the word “we” and the phrase “we the people”. We are one large family – or should be. And a family would not act to deny the civil right of a relative they loved. They would want that person to have as full a citizenship as they have. And they would want the protections and rights and responsibilities to be equally assessable.

    Ergo, in the most fundamental of fundamental arguments, traditional family values should rule the day. Certainly it would not be family values that would lobby to amend a constitution in this land, the primary aim of which was to prevent two heterosexual lovers who wanted to get married from getting married- and to thus effectively promote sex outside of marriage.

    A note to the religious right. You have yet to provide one reasonable argument to describe in any believability how amending our constitutions will bring about a favorable change in your lives. And you have yet to acknowledge any damage this action may bring upon tens of millions of your blood relatives – if not in blood, certainly in the blood of Christ.

  2. Thank you for your opinion and a very interesting arguement, I have heard the "family values" point from the other side of the arguement, but never turned like this.
    Thank you