Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gay Marriage Part Deux - The Empty Ring

I discovered a strange paradox that exists within a certain segment of our society after writing the first half of my gay marriage article. Many non-conformists (mainly but not exclusively on the left) frequently eschew the entire concept of marriage, proclaiming "We don't need a stupid piece of paper to prove that we love each other". Odd, seeing that these very same people - who scoff at tradition and so called "conformity" - are now doing much tub-thumping about how this very same "piece of paper" now carries such importance that it has become the centrifuge of what the left sees as the holy grail of it's social agenda - Gay marriage.

The over arching theme of the first segment of this piece was that any changes to the constitution, no matter how inconsequential they may seem at the time, always lead to unintended consequences. In the case of gay marriage, a state that does not permit same sex marriage must recognize a gay marriage performed in another state as legally valid, thus opening the flood gates of that particular state's courts with litigation for the recognition of all same sex marriage based on that precedent. Another conclusion which we arrived at is that the courts are now dealing with dozen of applications for recognition of other non-traditional forms of marriage (ie polygamists) due to (once again) the precedent set by recognizing the validity of a same sex marriage. I will allow for the caveat that perhaps it is somewhat unfair to entirely lay the blame on those who fought for gay marriage rights, but it difficult to deny that these other cases would have much less weight had courts not ruled in favour of recognizing gay marriage, which leads us to another conundrum.

In the last Presidential election, 30 states soundly rejected by the idea of same sex marriage, initiatives that were carried with heavy support from the black and Latino community. The uncomfortable truth is that the majority of states that succeeded in recognizing gay marriage did not do so through the proper legislative channels or the popular vote. These laws were imposed upon the states by activist courts engaging in the most arrogant form of judicial imperialism. Courts have no authority to create laws, they are there to interpret existing laws and the constitution, yet this disturbing trend continues.

Many proponents of gay marriage, mostly special interest groups acting on behalf of the gay and lesbian community, make the unpersuasive case that this is a "civil rights" issue, insinuating that they are being deprived of a constitutional right enjoyed by others. They are not. Every citizen of the United States has the right to marry - with some exceptions. This may seem like a trivial argument, but the reality is gays do have the right to marry, just not to someone of the same sex. They are asking for what Jefferson may have referred to as something "extra-constitutional", that is, something outside the boundaries of the constitution.

The reality is that gays and lesbians enjoy more legal and constitutional protections than other citizens. They are protected by "hate crime laws". Hate crime laws are based on emotion, and not sober contemplation. Laws are not designed to appease the whims of any group that feels unfairly maligned. They are there protect, in real and tangible ways, all citizens. Hate crime legislation does nothing to prevent violence against gay men or women. It is based on the foolish premise, as Jonah Goldberg once opined:
"...that murderous thugs would never have killed certain people if only our laws asserted that murdering certain fashionable minorities is really, really bad. You see, murder laws — which often result in people being executed — don’t send a strong enough message."
Whether you are murdered because you are gay, fat, short, black, malodorous, or over enthusiastic about east-Indian cricket matches, it speaks to motive and nothing more. Hate crimes do not act as a deterrent - but I'm getting off point.

This issue is not going away, and though it is a deeply polarizing one, it is not one that enjoys the support of popular opinion. It failed to pass in every state where it was on the ballot, and is not supported by the most liberal of liberals - the President himself. Nor does the idea enjoy the unanimous support of everyone in the gay community. I have received emails from many gay readers who do not feel this is a pressing issue to them, and claim it only further inflates the passions of opponents who otherwise have a libertarian view of people who choose to live non-traditional lifestyles.

Gays have reached an unprecedented degree of tolerance and acceptance in our society. Whether it be the workplace, television, or movies, gays are part of our society, and at least in my own case, dear friends.

Perhaps a certain segment of the gay lobby suffer from the same malaise that affects some woman in the feminist movement who continue to insist that abortion rights are the single most important issue facing woman today. Having gained equality in almost every facet of society, special interest groups continue to adopt a policy of combativeness - swinging their fists wildly in a ring when there are no longer any opponents left to fight.




Sandy said...

American and Canadian culture is like looking in a mirror. It is opposite but yet the same. Canadians, for the most part are more open minded than their cousins to the south. We agree on many things but disagree just as much.

Gay marriage is one of those “hot button” topics. For a moment let’s take out marriage argument and let’s look at basic human rights.

Just recently two gay men were kicked out “Chico’s Tacos” in El Paso Texas for kissing. To make a long and otherwise over-reacted story short – the security guards removed these gentlemen from the restaurant and the cops threatened to charge the gay kissers with “homosexual conduct”.

Now, in ancient Turkish culture, men would kiss before going to bed. Would that be considered a “homosexual act”? No. That was normal for their culture. In Arabian culture it is normal greeting of men to kiss each other (this is on each cheek and not mouth to mouth). This, out of context , could be misconstrued as a homosexual act by someone who is ignorant of the culture.

Ignorance is the culprit in all actions against the gay community. The only way to cure the infectious ignorance that kills gay people is education and level heads. More diplomacy and less “in your face”.

Personally, you would never find my husband and I kiss in public. Does this not make us proud of who we are? No, it is because I do not want any harm to come to myself nor my husband. I do not want to expose those at a tender age to something “different” than their parents teach them at home.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has 30 Articles outlining Human Rights. Is it too much to read for our cousins to the South? It took a Canadian, John Peters Humphrey to envision what is given to Humans. Once again, it is Canada to lead North Americans into a Cultural Evolution of acceptance and peace.

Let’s look at Canada through the eyes of the world and not through the eyes of Americans. Their vision is somewhat clouded by ignorance.

gojoe150 said...

Well said as always Dr. Sandy!

I agree that civil discourse and cool heads must prevail.

Your point about how certain practices in other cultures, ie, men holding hands in certain Arab countries, may illustrate that what is viewed as overtly gay in one culture, is not in another, but fails to address the nagging question at the heart of this series. Will a change to the constitution have adverse, unintended effects, and do activist courts have the right legislate gay marriage?



Anonymous said...

Hi Joe ! Good Article ! :-))

As you probably well know the COTUS does not address marriage, because I guess the Founders never perceived marriage would ever become an issue - other than it being between a man and a woman and mainly because it is a religious question and the COTUS does not deal in religion.

The State however has the right to define marriage, though - just as they have right to define what is pornography - and - DUI.

Marriage is still a religious question and therefore the States that have endorsed gay marriage have erred - they should have made it a law that all couples (of whatever sexual persuasion) must apply for a Domestic or Civil Union License.

Then any church can marry them as their credo dictates -Marriage therefore remains a religious question - in the purvue of the church and religion. Failing the church forming the marriage union - there is the Justice of the Peace

An amendment to the COTUS defining Marriage flies in the face of "seperation of church and state". And contradicts it basic premise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Note: This I have to honestly and objectively conclude - even though I have to hold my nose !


gojoe150 said...

Thanks W B

You have touched on the very heart of this issue, and your assesment is dead-on.

On another note, many of you have written in, but I most first moderate each comment before posting it, and seeing that I have my own "traditional" marriage coming up to the lovely miss Claire, my time is limited. I will try and post all comments as soon humanly possible.



JennifeRN said...

You said, "The uncomfortable truth is that the majority of states that succeeded in recognizing gay marriage did not do so through the proper legislative channels or the popular vote."

Just wanted to point out that issues regarding minorities aren't supposed to be voted on. Say, for instance, there was a crazy law that said if you were overweight, you couldn't get married, and the majority of the country wasn't overweight. If all the slim people voted against a law to allow chubby people to marry, would that be acceptable to you?

How does it hurt YOU personally to allow gays to marry? I'm straight as can be, I love my husband, but we don't take delight in keeping others down. Amazed that you are from Canada, I thought for sure you'd be from the bible belt.

PS. What is up with "Kicking puppies"? If you want people to take you seriously, and not as some overweight, white balding ignorant man, then perhaps you should show a little more class.

gojoe150 said...


Thank you for your post.

Both pieces on gay marriage were a fair and insightful dissection of a complex issue facing the United States that requires action. As I noted, it is not going away, and cool heads on both sides must prevail.

Federal and State "issues" regarding minorities are indeed voted on, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. State and Federal courts can interpret existing laws and clauses in the constitution, but they have do not have the right to legislate. You should know this.

Your bigotry against southern Christians is telling, as is your feeble grasp on basic constitutional law.

I do not see how engaging people in a serious debate about an important issue constitutes "keeping people down", but those who live in a perpetual state of victimhood, even when they themselves are not the victim, often see the ghost of Trotsky behind every tree.

Oh, and suggesting that someone "show a little class" right after calling them "white balding and ignorant" is very rich indeed.

Try not to eletrocute yourself typing emails in the bathtub.

(As for fat and balding, click on my profile picture. Perhaps you would be so gracious as to provide a picture of yourself...preferably one this side of the 21st century.)