Tuesday, February 7, 2012
H8ers gonna H8
Today, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California's controversial proposition 8 is unconstitutional. This was the second time a judicial body has struck down the voter-approved ban on Same-sex marriages and, undoubtedly, not the last.
In short, Judge Vaughn R. Walker deemed Prop 8 unconstitutional, the 9th Circuit Appellate Court deemed it more unconstitutional and now we wait until the United States Supreme Court deems Prop 8 MOST unconstitutional.
Which they will surely do, because it is hard to imagine a scenario where a body of judges would find Prop 8 anything BUT unconstitutional. Why? Because it IS, unequivocally, a violation of equality and basic civil rights.
"Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California." Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the 9th Circuit Court opinion.
He's right, denying marriage to same sex couples is discrimination in its most basic form, akin to denying the right to vote based on race or sex. Equality means equal rights to all citizens and when stripped of all the rhetoric, denying marriage to a particular group of people means granting one class of individuals more rights than others: in this case, the right to marry.
I am a religious man and a conservative. I have my beliefs, deeply held, about gender and human life. I am also an opinionated man and in the same vein as Evelyn Beatrice Hall who wrote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" I may or may not disapprove of men marrying men, but I will defend to the death their right to do so.
That is the question we should be asking. Not whether our religion, or our god, approves of such unions, but whether our secular society, which operates under the separation of church and state, can quantifiably dictate a rational, logical and more importantly secular argument as to why two men -- or two women -- should not be wed.
As I see it, we can not. Some will speak of the sanctity of marriage, and yet heterosexual couples make a mockery of marriage every day. Some will speak of the nuclear family being the fundamental unit of society, that may or may not be true but allowing two gay partners to marry does not diminish the number of potential nuclear families. If anything, it increases the potential number of two-parent adoptive homes and encourages monogamy, which in turn decreases the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Also, the chief critique -- by religious conservatives -- of the gay community is their "philandering," how laughable is it, then, that the same people who bemoan their supposed casual relationships forbid them from entering into a legal and binding union.
No, I do not support civil unions, unless "civil unions" is the term applied to every legal and lawful union of two people, gay or straight. I support equality. If you are not allowed to marry then neihter should I be allowed. I believe the founding fathers intended for the U.S. to become a society of equals. Above all, I believe that government should operate in a secular realm and if every voice spouting religious dogma was filtered from the discussion, there really wouldn't be any argument left.
Kudos to you, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and kudos to all of us for taking one step closer toward equality. May we arrive there swiftly and without further incident is my hope.