My last post chastised the landslide majority of voters in North Carolina who elected to amend their state constitution for the sole purpose of denying the civil right of gays to marry. It was a wholly irrational display of religious bigotry directed against ten percent of their fellow human beings who simply want equality under the law.
Gay marriage is shaping up to be a central issue in the November 2012 presidential election. Americans appear to be evenly divided on the issue. Older voters tend to be against the concept while younger voters generally support it.
President Obama and the Democrat Party, to their credit, have claimed the high moral ground in this controversy. Gays should have the same legal right as straights to marry they argue. Marriage is a civil right. Republicans are taking the low road, having been trapped and dominated long ago by the irrational ultra right wing religious conservative segments of their party.
If Republicans have their way, the Constitution of the United States of America will be amended for the sole purpose of denying the civil right of marriage to gays. That would nullify the Fourteenth Amendment and its promise of equal protection under the law for gays who want to marry those they love like anyone else.
It would amount to cruelty by constitution.
Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee Chairman, insisted this week that same sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. The Republican Party, he declared, stands by its position allowing dignity and respect for gay Americans, but those sentiments do not change the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
"People in this country, no matter straight or gay, deserve dignity and respect. However, that doesn't mean it carries on to marriage," Priebus said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
He supports equal rights for gay’s, including fair treatment in the workplace and hospital visitations, but claims that same-sex marriage doesn’t fall into the same "civil rights" category.
"I don't think it's a matter of civil rights. I think it's just a matter of whether or not we're going to adhere to something that's been historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many years," he opined. "I mean, marriage has to have a definition, and we just happen to believe it's between a man and woman."
Gay marriage prohibition isn’t comparable to Jim Crow laws, which enforced segregation, says Priebus. "I think there's a big difference between people that have been murdered and everything else that has come with Jim Crow, than marriage between a man and man and a woman and a woman," he said.
Well, just exactly what is that difference? I ask.
Gay people have been murdered in America simply for being openly gay the same as blacks have been murdered for simply being black.
I was born and spent my first nine years of childhood in the Northern Midwest City of South Bend, Indiana and can still vividly remember the separate “white” and “colored” drinking fountains next to each other at the local playground just blocks away from my home. My public primary grade school was all white.
Vicious, mindless, and totally irrational racial discrimination against blacks was rampant in my American youth. Jim Crow laws operated everywhere. It was not until 1964, the year I finished high school, that the federal civil rights laws were passed. It took a long, bloody and tortuous civil rights movement in this country before blacks in America were accorded equality with whites under the law.
Today, well into the 21st century, homosexuals, who make up fully ten percent of the population, remain one of the last segments of society still suffering under the heavy yolk of bigotry, hatred, and irrational discrimination.
During biblical times and well afterward, the mere fact that a person was homosexual was a potential sentence of death if discovered by the authority. Persons found guilty of masturbation and other innocent conduct during those terrible times were also subject to execution, but somehow the stigma of masturbation has faded into nothingness today; perhaps because there is hardly anyone alive who has never done it at least once in their life.
Sadly, the stigma of being gay in America remains indelible in the minds of mostly religious conservatives. Gay sex between consenting adults was considered a criminal offense in most American states right up until the United States Supreme Court declared sodomy laws unconstitutional in 2003 – less than a decade ago.
So before 2003, straight consenting adults enjoyed the right to sexual activity while gays were denied that right by law. If that sounds like Jim Crow it’s because that’s exactly what it is – irrational bigotry and discrimination by the force of the law -- cruelty by law.
The anti-gay Republicans understandably don’t want to be labeled bigots but they can’t escape it for that is exactly what they are. A bigot is a person who is irrationally intolerant of others, usually on the basis of religion, politics, or race. Irrational means without reason and logic.
Denying fellow human beings the civil right of marriage simply because they are gay is the result of bigotry, the irrational intolerance of others based solely upon religion and without reason or logic.
During the dark days of Jim Crow laws discussed above, some states had laws on the books which prohibited heterosexual mixed marriages. Whites could not marry blacks in many American jurisdictions. These laws weren’t based upon reason and logic but solely upon bigotry and hatred.
No one has articulated a logical reason upon which to deny gays the right to marry just like everyone else. If someone out there has done so, I’ve not heard it yet. The reasons they put forth are entirely based upon the religious definition of marriage.
But marriage is a civil institution under the secular law as well as a religious institution under the dogma of the church. If a church wants to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and deny that sacrament to persons of the same sex, that’s just fine and dandy with me, but it is clearly not appropriate that religious bigots employ their religion for the purpose of dictating the secular civil laws applicable to everyone, religious and non-religious alike; gay and straight alike.
Marriage, of course, usually involves a man and a woman but that is only because 90% of humanity is heterosexual. The core concept of marriage, however, refers more broadly as the social institution under which two consenting adults establish their decision to live in a legal commitment as a union; a relationship in which they have pledged themselves to each other into the state, condition, or relationship of being married.
Any close or intimate association or union can be described and defined by the dictionary as a marriage, i.e. the marriage of words and music in a hit song; the blending, merger, unity, oneness; alliance, or confederation between two separate entities coming together.
If marriage between humans were solely for the purpose of procreation, then straight couples who are unable to conceive children should likewise be denied the civil right of marriage.
So procreation is not a logical reason to deny gays the right to marry. Gays can still procreate, if not with each other. Gays still can make excellent parents of children. Mitt Romney and many other conservatives admit that fact. So to argue that gays can be great parents but shouldn’t be married is irrational and illogical.
It’s cruelty by constitution.