Right side of right

Tomorrow in Minnesota we get to vote on whether to amend our state constitution to “protect” marriage as only between one man and one woman.  What do they mean by protection, is gay marriage an attack on straight marriage?  Is it a scarce resource that must only be allocated to straight people?  I don’t get this “protect” language.  

When they don’t say protect, they say traditional marriage.  But what is traditional marriage, and who defines it?  For many societies, the traditional was polygamy, but they aren’t fighting for that.  Here is what the bible says about marriage.

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More recently in America, inter-racial couples couldn’t marry.  So is traditional marriage the marriage between two people of the same race?

Now why are they trying to amend the constitution to limit the rights of people, that aren’t even rights yet? Well I think there are a few reasons here in Minnesota.

  1. State politics – Republicans didn’t have veto proof majority, so they only way to get it past Democratic Governor Dayton was to put in an amendment.
  2. Turnout–as in 2004 in other states, putting an issue like this on the constitution amendment will help rally the turn out of the more socially conservative members of our society.  And could help in other elections, like the Presidential one.
  3. Constitutionality–the writing is on the wall, the discrimination is clearly unconstitutional because it flies in the face of equality.

That is why the agents of intolerance must put this in the constitution, because that is the only way it will pass a constitutional challenge.  I don’t know much about constitutional amendments throughout the states, but when I think of federal constitutional amendments, I know that one got repealed.  That was Prohibition, and it was about limiting our freedoms and it didn’t last.

Now some other arguments that proponents of the amendment of intolerance make are about pro-creation and religious freedom.

One of the biggest lies is about pro-creation, oh it is a sneaky lie, because it sounds kind of rational, but it is a lie.  You will hear that the purpose of marriage is about pro-creation, about having kids and then raising them with a father and mother (research supports two parents are better households on average, but I know a lot of amazing single parents).  Yet, I don’t know of anything that requires married people to have children.  We let infertile (whether they are aware or not) to marry and we allow people (including post-menopausal women) to get married.  How about we amend the constitution to say that to get married folks must show they are sufficiently fertile to have children (mandatory fertility tests), and we put a clause in their marriage license that they must have a child within 5 years or the marriage is annulled.  And what about adoption, is that good enough or is it really pro-create only? 

What about religious freedom, should churches be forced to marry same-sex couples? No, of course not, and they won’t be.  We can’t make a church marry anyone it doesn’t want to.  But just because the Catholic church doesn’t want to marry same-sex couples (at least the Pope and US Bishops don’t) doesn’t mean the Universal Unitarians don’t.  When the Catholic church tries to imposes it’s religious beliefs on Unitarians, they are limiting religious freedom.  So that vote yes actually is limiting religious freedoms, not protecting them.  

I have heard a lot of talk about being on the right side of history and I think that is a very lame description. I don’t want votes out of a cool trendy reason, I want votes because people know that my friends Joel and Troy should have their marriage recognized by the state not just their church.  That is a country that was founded on the idea of equality and slowly we are actually working towards that ideal.  When straight couples that were of different skin tones (races) could marry each other, we expand the rights of all Americans.  This amendment won’t grant gay people the right to have a marriage recognized by the state of MN, but it does allow challenges to laws that limit marriage to straight couples to go forward.

-Josh

Republicans trying to limit marriage

By bring forward a Constitutional Amendment to limit marriage to that between a man and a woman.  Not all that surprising.  But when you look at the cosponsors of Senate Joint Resolution 43, it gets more interesting.

Two of the more notorious Senators in the current Congress, Larry Craig (R-ID) and David Vitter (R-LA) are cosponsors.  My hope is that the author of this is so hard up for sponsors he is looking past some of their recent history, which can’t help make the case for the sanctity of marriage.

First there is Larry Craig who was busted for soliciting sex in a men’s bathroom in Minneapolis.  Maybe this is overcompensating or trying to show his anti-gay credentials, what ever the case, he was going to plead guilty to the charge.

Sen. Larry Craig said he “overreacted and made a poor decision” in pleading guilty to disorderly conduct after his June arrest following an incident in a Minneapolis, Minnesota, airport bathroom.

Tuesday, in his first public statement on the arrest, the Idaho Republican said he did nothing “inappropriate.”

“Let me be clear: I am not gay and never have been,” said Craig, who has aligned himself with conservative groups who oppose gay rights.

Most importantly we got this wonderful video out of the whole story.

Now while I am guessing that Larry Craig is staying in the closet because pressure from his community and political party, which is sad, the hypocrisy is shared by his colleague from Louisiana.

David Vitter’s number was found on the DC Madam’s phone list records, and he apologized to God and his wife.

“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter, 46, said in a statement, which his spokesman, Joel DiGrado, confirmed to the Associated Press.

“Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling,” Vitter continued. “Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.”

So soliciting sex from men (when you are a man) in airport bathrooms or soliciting prostitutes provide you with enough morality hypocrisy to prevent same sex couples from getting married in front of family, friends, and god.

From my world view, let us ignore the hypocrites and embrace these great couples!

Equal rights for all!  Be proud this weekend!!

-Josh

Congratulation to California Same-Sex Newlyweds – 2 down, 48 to go

I want to congratulate those same-sex couples in California that are now enjoying a legal right that had been denied them, the right to marry in the eyes of the government.  I know this post may attract some hateful comments as I am sure there are some people who are so freakin’ intolerant in their self-righteous views that they have to spread that hatred and ignorance throughout the web.  But, for those of us advocating for equality, not just our GLBTQI members of society, but also their friends who don’t fall into to one of those categories, we need to be there for them, we need to celebrate the successes, we must share in the sadness at the setbacks, and we must stand up for their rights.

I really hope that this is like the beginning of a tsunami of equality that spreads throughout the US.  Now I will acknowledge that I am science geek, but think about a tsunami.  The first thing that happens is that the water near shore retreats, and along the horizon a small peak starts to form.  To me that water retreating is the numerous awful state constitution amendments that have been passed in the last decade “to clarify” to forbid certain US citizens their right to the pursuit of happiness, oh and equality.  That first little crest on the horizon is Massachusetts and California extending the right of marriage to same-sex couples.  The question is how long will it take for the wave to break and spread equality across the land and wash away much of the bigotry and intolerance that exists.

Now New York has taken a great first step, Governor David Paterson has instructed the various state agencies to examine rules and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.  But while, this is a great next step, there is a giant hurdle to equality, the federal government.

Thinking to my friends I see two huge parts of equality that need federal recognition.

  1. Citizenship
  2. Social Security Benefits

Citizenship-what about those same-sex couples where one is not a US citizen, how can they have equality if they aren’t allowed to start the process-first green card-due to marriage because the marriage isn’t recognized.

Social Security Benefits-there are benefits for spouses, especially Survivor’s benefits, so without access to these federal benefits, there is no equality.

We have made some steps forwards, and they are huge steps, not just in what they allow, but in providing hope for making that next step forward.  Until we have equality in all senses, we can’t become complacent.  One step I like to take is reclaiming the language.  I have been to a gay marriage and a lesbian marriage, they are not civil unions or commitment ceremonies, they are marriages.  On this issue I won’t accept compromising language, we have to share the language and not compromise for separate but eqaul language.

Pledge of Allegiance-“…with liberty and justice for all”

-Josh