Ever since Gay Americans began to publicly acknowledge their sexual orientation including marriage, verbal and physical attacks on members of the Gay and Lesbian community have been unprecedented. When President Obama eliminated the Don’t Ask, Don ‘t tell rule thus permitting gay and lesbians to serve openly in the Military, the right-wing Christian conservatives including Republican presidential candidates went berserk. The most extreme Republican presidential candidate is Rick Santorum and his statements about homosexuality and the right to privacy. In an interview with the Associated Press published April 20, 2003, Santorum stated that he believed mutually consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts. Santorum described the ability to regulate consensual homosexual acts as comparable to the states’ ability to regulate other consensual and non-consensual sexual behavior such as adultery, polygamy, child molestation, incest, sodomy, and bestiality, whose decriminalization he believed would threaten society and the family, as they are not monogamous and heterosexual. Right-wing radical rhetoric concerning Gay Americans has been so deliberate and passionate that it has spread to schools where bullying has been responsible for too many young people taking their own life.
In 2008, 52% of the California electorate approved Proposition 8. This proposition called the “California Marriage Protection Act”, added a new provision to the California Constitution which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” By restricting the recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the proposition overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling of In re Marriage Cases that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Proponents of the constitutional amendment argued that exclusively heterosexual marriage was “an essential institution of society,” that leaving the constitution unchanged would “result in public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay,” and that “gays … do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.” The success of Proposition 8 in 2008 was heavily influenced by Evangelicals and other Christian Conservatives who dumped a ton of money to get it approved. Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort,” Judge Reinhardt wrote.
Mitt Romney condemned the decision saying, “Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”
Gingrich said, “With today’s decision on marriage by the Ninth Circuit, and the likely appeal to the Supreme Court, more and more Americans are being exposed to the radical overreach of federal judges and their continued assault on the Judeo-Christian foundations of the United States.” Gingrich added, “The Constitution of the United States begins with “We the People”; it does not begin with ‘We the Judges’. Federal judges need to take heed of that fact. Federal judges are substituting their own political views for the constitutional right of the people to make judgments about the definition of marriage.”
It’s interesting to note how Romney and Gingrich use the Constitution to justify their opposition to the court’s decision on marriage; however, nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about marriage. It does not say that straight couples are the only ones who can marry, nor does it say that homosexuals can’t get married. The Constitution does say that everyone has the right to personal liberty, privacy, and equality under the law. Laws that ban consenting adults from marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution. Thus, the judges made the right call but both Romney and Gingrich promises to appoint judges who will consistently misinterpret the Constitution. Basically, laws against same-sex marriage are similar to laws that once banned interracial marriages in the South which were subsequently declared UN-Constitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court.
Same-sex marriage has become a major religious and Republican conservative issue in several states. The New Jersey State Senate recently voted to legalize same-sex marriage which, if passed by the State Assembly, will be vetoed by Governor Christie. Conservatives and members of the religious community are railing against the Maryland General Assembly currently considering same-sex legislation. It astonishes me why the religious community would enthrall itself on the wrong side of a constitutionally protected issue. Remember, the religious leaders were on the wrong side before when they chose to crucify Jesus Christ yet the government nor anyone else interfered with their choice.
Same-sex marriage is not about marriage or sex, but about freedom of choice. I chose to become a Christian and as such, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, God did not give me, any Christian or anyone else the right to impose our beliefs or choices on someone else. Remember, God also loves Gays and Lesbians.
Even the Declaration of Independence gives each of us the unconditional right to make choices because it declares that, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, 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.” Some pursue happiness by becoming liars, adulterers, gay bashers or hate-mongers, while others choose to become pious and honorable. Some become Republicans; others become Democrats. Some marry the opposite sex; others marry the same sex. It’s all about choice. Sometimes it’s best to honor the unwritten “eleventh” Commandment – Thou shalt mind thine own business, but that’s just my take.
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