Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Do You Bruce, Take......."

It never ceases to amaze me that when a court orders some legislative body to fix a Constitutional oversight in any given state, that certain people who have an agenda they wish to espouse come forth and protest, with great vigour and much posing, for the cameras and then proceed to show the depths of their ignorance where the Constitution and our Founders are concerned. When our Founders gathered in congress to decide what sort of nation they would bring forth, they decided, one and all, that we would be something unique upon the face of the Earth. They would create a nation based upon the rule of law and the proposition that all men, (and women, by extension) were created equal in the eyes of the law. The rule of law which they set forth, based upon the works of the greatest minds in history, have seen that rule expanded to cover people once held in bondage as slaves, expanded to cover and comfort. as best as is possible, the people from whom so much of this country was taken. It covers the immigrant fleeing the wrathful hand of the tyrant or king. It shields the man and woman of differing racial backgrounds who fall in love and marry, for they, like all citizens of this country are treated equally under the rule of law.

But, this does not hold true where some are concerned. There are segments of our population who are not treated as equals under the law. They are not allowed the basic privileges given to their fellow Americans as a matter of course. If their loved one lies ill in a hospital bed they have no rights to visit, to instruct as to their care and wishes. If their helpmate dies they have no property rights that they have not had to beg the state for. If they have children the state, at the behest of certain agenda harbouring individuals, may come forward and seize the children, despite the best of home conditions. In the legal system one's significant other may be forced to testify against their loved one, unlike other couples afforded the legality of spouses not being forced to testify against each other.

Yes, friends I am talking about our fellow citizens who are homosexual, be they male or female. They do not currently have the same, full rights under law that you and I, as heterosexuals do. And that is a slap in the face for our Constitution, the men who devised it and the many who have sacrificed their lives, fortunes sacred honours to defend it.

I know that at this very moment some of you readers can feel veins throbbing in your heads and your teeth hurt from the grinding they are doing but I need you to step back, take a breath and set aside your preconceptions of what is, and is not, Constitutional. Not one single person can, in good conscience say that another American should be denied their basic rights, especially those enumerated in the Amendments to the Constitution we know as the Bill of Rights. Our Founders enumerated the most important of our basic, Universal Rights in that section and they also let it be known, via the 9th and 10th Amendments, that every other right not listed belonged to the people, (that's us, folks).

We heterosexuals enjoy many rights in common with our spouses without the necessity of jumping through hoops to attain those rights, (or jumping through hoops attempting to gain those rights only to have some pencil pushing bureaucrat deny them to us). We may exchange and dispose of property at will, without the interference of the State or lawyers (in most cases).
We may dictate to physicians what type of treatment our spouses shall receive, who is, or is not to visit, when care may be suspended or halted (as long as we are not in Florida), and what shall be done with our spouse in the event of a catastrophic illness. Our fellow citizens who are gay do not enjoy this basic right, no matter how long, how committed, or how strong their relationship. I know gay couples who have been together longer than my wife and I have been married and it pains me to see that they cannot share in the same basic rights as we do. And it is all because the State will not grant them the same sanction that they granted to me and my wife, or that was granted to you and your spouse.

In recent years activists, (that's not a bad word, folks) in the gay community, along with civil libertarians have lobbied the various States in order to secure these basic rights for their fellows. In some cases they have enjoyed moderate successes but, all too often they have met with failure. Not for any moral or ethical reasons but for the simple reason that the legislatures, courts, and their fellow citizens are ignorant of basic Constitutional writings. Our Founders wrote the Constitution so that every man and woman could read it and understand it. There was to be no defining of what "is" is. It was written in English in such a way that the "common man" could understand it. Politicians obviously are among the Constitutional illiterati, as are many judges and an overwhelming majority of the modern day citizenry of our country. Let's take a quick look, shall we?

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So, where does it say that we shall deny our fellow citizens the rights accorded to their peers? It doesn't say it anywhere. But it is certainly implied that our homosexual citizens should enjoy the same State granted rights as heterosexuals, doesn't it? I don't see any mention at all of targeted rights, or rights for heterosexuals only. Do you?

Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

And, I really must ask you, what part of the 14th Amendment do so many people fail to understand? I don't see anything there, or anywhere else that says, "Unless, of course you're homosexual." The odd thing is that we, as a nation, have been here before. We have heard the rhetoric, the so-called morality arguments, the religiously based arguments and all the chicken little screams of impending doom and destruction. In the now famous court case of Loving vs. Virginia, in 1967 it was stated categorically that laws against miscegenation were unConstitutional. That freed people of all races to marry as they wished regardless of skin colour.

At the time of the first trial, the Lovings they were convicted of miscegenation by a judge who based his legal decision on the same type of "logic" that others are today applying to the issue of gay marriage. He, and all the anti-Constitutionalists of the day, ignored the fact that we are a nation founded on the rule of law, and not a backwoods theocracy.

It is interesting to note that many of the same organisations speaking out so vehemently today against the rights of our homosexual citizens are the same ones who spoke out against inter-racial marriages, civil rights for minorities, and racial integration in our schools just a few short decades ago. It seems hard to imagine that, in a new century, the same retrograde thinking that allowed some people to be kept at the back of the bus is alive and well.

I have heard many people speaking out against this issue. But, I have yet to hear even one argument against it which can be borne up by our Constitution. The majority of arguments against this are based upon religious beliefs as put forth by various people and groups with a decided agenda. And other arguments against it utilise logic in ways that no philosopher at any place or in any time could make sense of.

"Marriage is a sacred bond." I hear this one all the time. And yet, divorce rates are at all time highs and divorce is still legal (apparently none of these folks is prepared to outlaw divorce, which is obviously a vastly greater threat to the "sanctity" of marriage). The fact of the matter is that at one time in our history marriage was a church recognised bonding for purposes of love, property, and money. Nowadays, marriage is a State sanctioned bonding requiring the permission of the powers that be and churches have no say in the matter.

"Homosexuality is a choice and should not be protected by law." Given the way that gay people are treated in the many societies around the world I find this to be one of the more ludicrous statements to ever issue forth from the mouths of the masses. No human being would choose to be gay given the depredations inflicted upon them by their fellows, States, and societies. The fact that modern science has yet to find the genetic sequence which determines ones predisposition for homosexuality does not mean that it doesn't exist. I think many of these folks are just afraid that there is a gene for homosexuality and they might be carriers. Many of these same people are philosophically allied with the pro-life movement and I cannot help but wonder if they would change their stance on that particular issue if there were a genetic test which could determine whether or not their unborn children might be gay? It might also be pointed out that ones religion is a choice. Should we therefore strip away the protections afforded religion by our Constitution? I don't think so.

"They will be an added burden on (Social Security, the Tax system, the Insurance Industry, Small Business, etc, etc, etc...)." One: They already pay taxes and do not garner the same benefits and protections as their fellow Americans. Two: They already have money stolen from them for Social Security. Money that is given to SS beneficiaries who are heterosexual. Is that fair? As for the others...there will be no more burden for any of those than there is currently if they hire or insure a heterosexual. Any citizen who pays taxes is entitled to the same rights and protections as any other.

And as for the outlandish "slippery slope" arguments we have heard from some folks...I won't even address that foolishness in depth. Marriage is a bond between consenting adults, not animals and humans, not children and adults, not inanimate objects. If a legal recognition of gay marriage results in a recognition of polyamorous marriages then all I can say is, "So what?". As long as all parties concerned are consenting adults it is none of our business.

So, let's take a moment to think about the rights we share in common with our spouses, and those rights that our children share, or will someday share with theirs and see if it is possible to overcome a few personal prejudices in order to keep our Constitution strong, intact, and well defended. I am sure that many of our Founding Fathers would have found the subject of gay marriage to be personally distasteful, but I have read what they have written and I know that they, unlike many today might at least try to set aside their personal prejudices and uphold that wondrous document they had created. Liberty for one, is liberty for all.

Barring a complete separation of State and marriage, (something to be greatly desired) recognition by the States should not be impeded by anyone. Special interests, the Feds, industries, whomever they all need to stand aside and put their agenda aside in the interest of equal rights under the rule of law.

And as for the rest...a few words from one of your sponsors, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me".

In Liberty.