Thursday, July 16, 2009
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.
Posted by Joe Leger at 1:56 PM