“Today we are more American…”

Posted on February 8, 2012

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I’m not overly patriotic, but I do love a lot of things about America. I am proud to be a gay American today, and I hope that soon marriage will be legal for all of us in the United States. A lot of my family, friends, and fellow Mennonites disagree with my sentiment. I would like to restate a few of the logical reasons to be for (or neutral) in this discussion.

Why marriage should be legal:t

  • Couples who are in love should have legal recognition of that.
  • Parents should have protections for their children, regardless of gender pairing.
  • Loved ones should be entitled to hospital visits, inheritance, and the dignity given “traditional” families.

Why outlawing marriage is not legal:

  • Discrimination against a labeled group of people is not permissible by the Constitution.
  • Taking away rights from gays and lesbians does not improve the condition of any straight marriage, nor does it have any positive effect on society at large.
  • Motivations for such actions are largely derived from religion, which is not the basis of law in the United States.
  • Laws that promote discrimination based on personal prejudices are also not permitted by the Constitution.
  • The “slippery slope” argument is a slippery slope. In other words, if we base the legal process on wild conjecture, or hypothetical outcomes, we would bring the process to a halt.

The opinion issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was well reasoned (read it here). It excellently backed up its findings with precedents that were logical. Yet here is what the GOP candidates had to say:

  • Rick Santorum tweeted, “7M Californians had their rights stripped away today by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.”
  • Mitt Romney said in his release, ““Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”
  • Newt Gingrich said on Twitter, “Court of Appeals overturning CA’s Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary. Let’s end judicial supremacy.”
  • Ron Paul talked to supporters today (video here) but did not discuss the historic ruling. Paul’s record on marriage is the best of the GOP candidates (besides Fred Karger).
  • The White House refused to comment on it because they don’t “weigh in on ongoing litigation.” Obama is betraying the LGBT community again, yet will eventually take credit for progress made under his administration if the SCOTUS upholds the appeal.

My response to the GOP

Santorum – the right to take away civil rights is not found in the Constitution- so no right was taken away. Many rights were given back (pending further case review).

Romney – the judicial branch did their job today, and enforced the constitution. If you were an impartial judge reading that court case, you would’ve agreed with them too. It isn’t their fault that the proponents of prop 8 couldn’t find expert witnesses to support their bigotry.

Gingrich – so you want to supplant supposed judicial supremacy with military supremacy? Read Newt’s plan to destroy the effectiveness of the three branch system. His idea to get rid of bias? Fire any judge who doesn’t agree with him.

Paul – This was a historic moment, why no response?

Obama – That was a really lame excuse. Everyone disapproves of everything you do, so I think you had leeway to make a comment on this case that effects some of your really solid supporters. You may have lost my vote to Ron Paul. I think that although the Democratic is the more LGBT supportive of the two parties, your heart really isn’t behind it. Have the courage to tell us the truth- do you have our backs?

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I am a white Protestant man and mostly in the closet, so I have had friends who thought that I couldn’t really understand being part of a minority. I set them straight (sorry, I like puns 🙂

Obviously, you know that I am proud to be a member of the LGBTQA minority. I also consider myself part of a different minority (conscientious objectors). Mennonites have long resisted war as a solution. Many of our ancestors gladly chose martyrdom rather than submit to the violent ways of various European governments. Even the American government has tortured Mennonites, and other similar CO Anabaptists (those who believe baptism should be something an adult should choose for him/herself, rather than being unwillingly baptized as a baby).

I was surprised to find my CO minority referenced in the 80 page ruling of the 9th Circuit. Here’s the quote:

Society does sometimes draw classifications that likely are rooted partially in disapproval, such as a law that grants educational benefits to veterans but denies them to conscientious objectors who engaged in alternative civilian service (pg 74).

It is a little unsettling to know that the 9th Circuit finds my dedication to pacifism as legitimate grounds for discrimination (the ruling goes on to say that it is ok to discriminate because the benefit being denied COs is an incentive for military duty).

I also peeked at the dissenting opinion written by N.R. Smith. I would find his arguments challenging, but I believe they are addressed by the other judges where they state that the fact that gay couples had the right to marry before Prop 8 was a deciding factor. If they had not had that right, and a proposition had merely defined who was eligible for marriage, then it wouldn’t have violated the 14th Amendment.

I have three papers to write for Thursday, so I’m just going to break off here.

What an amazing day! I had to be in class at the exact moment of the AFER press conference, so I was really distracted by Twitter, and may have missed a lot of what the teacher was saying. Oh well, classes are recorded, so I’ll just ask her to post the recording.

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