Friday, November 07, 2008

A cranky response to the reaction to the anti-prop 8 protests

The other day, there were multiple protests in California in response to passage of Proposition 8. Prop 8, unlike similar and equally bigoted referendums in Florida and Arizona, didn't just ban SSM - it actually amended California's constitution to overtly strip gay people of the right to marry their partner. In short, it was a referendum with an extra dose of theocratic assholiness. CNN iReporters have posted video of some of the protests, including the one in front of LA's Mormon Church

For those of you who don't know, the Mormon Church was instrumental in raising funds to spread misinformation and get out the vote to ensure the passage of Prop h8, actions that some Mormons found as morally reprehensible as the other fundamentalists supporting the initiative find Mormonism.

The truth is, the purpose of Prop 8 serves not to protect, support or otherwise assist the institution of marriage or American families, it serves a much different purpose and that is to ensure some sort of "Christian" fundamentalist religious control over the rights of adherents and non-adherents alike. Anyone who doubts that need only look towards the other major funder of Prop h8, the unfortunately named "" and why that organization was considered so spiteful and bigoted (and, overtly Christian Nationalist) that non-practicing gay man David Benkof felt compelled to publicly discontinue his activities supporting Prop 8.

The comments to the iReport above, like comments on the referendum itself, pretty much run the gamut. Many support the notion that, because the bible (and/or G-d and/or Jesus) only seem to support marriage between men and women (there's lots of polygamy and even some incest int he bible) we should limit the right of marriage and the rights that come with marriage in a similar fashion. This is additional evidence that there is some unhealthy and unconstitutional comingling of civil rights accorded to US citizens and religion. As such, to avoid any unconstitutional conflation of religious rule and civil law, neither state nor federal governments should be involved in the licensing or any type of recognition of any marriage. The result of the passage of proposition 8 (as well as the propositions in AZ & FL) should be for individual states and the US to amend their constitutions to indicate that, since this country considers marriage to be a sacred religious institution, marriages will no longer be licensed, validated or otherwise recognized by state or federal governments (these institutions will also be required to discontinue any & all sort of benefits to employees, citizens and/or residents based on marital status).

Some argue that gays can still enter into legal partnership contracts that would afford them the rights of a marriage without "hijacking" the term marriage:
No state in the Union would deny a contract between parties which includes cohabitation, sharing of finances and guarantees of exclusive personal intimacy. A standardized contract might be called something like a "Personal Union" contract.
What they are blatantly ignoring is the fact the the federal government, individual states and employers grant certain rights (e.g., health benefits & tax breaks) to those who have a valid state marriage license that can not be delegated via a domestic partnership agreement between individuals. This is inherently unjust and an example of why precluding gay couples from marrying is in direct defiance of the equal protection clause of the US constitution.

Those who support the argument that gays made a lifestyle choice and would be able to obtain the right of marriage [to someone of the opposite sex, of course] if they would work to change their lifestyle choice need to check their own particular lifestyle choices. As I noted at Pam's yesterday, religious and ideological beliefs, unlike race, are not biologically hardwired and must also be considered lifestyle choices:
. . . while race/ethnicity can not be changed there are many other things related to "lifestyle choices" that, based on their arguments against teh gay. Let's point out that, if we can discriminate against gays and require them to live a heterosexual lifestyle in order to obtain full rights in this country, we should be able to do the same to others who make lifestyle choices that are different than the "average" American. Religion is a choice and, since the majority of Americans are so form of "Christian", we should not allow marriages by two parties, neither of which is "Christian". Like gays who would have to marry someone unlike themselves to be able to enjoy the right of marriage; Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists, etc. who wish to get married should have to marry a Christian. Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists, etc. should not be allowed to adopt children as a couple or on their own because they have chosen a lifestyle that is different from most Americans.

Contrary to your initial reaction, this does not undermine their constitutional right to freedom of religion - they can still live their abnormal lifestyle practice their religion, we just should not have to legally recognize their marriages, acknowledge their existence or otherwise condone their choices by granting them special rights. I wish to G-d that someone had the balls to get that sort of Amendment to a state constitution on a ballot (especially in a place where it could actually pass or have a close vote).

Hate, bigotry and discrimination come in all forms and, as the wise among us have noted, nobody is free until we all are free. If churches and individuals don't want to accept gay marriages they are free to do so (just as my rabbi would not approve, let alone perform, a marriage between a Jew and a Gentile) but they have no right to stand in the way of the marriages or right to benefits afforded married couples when they do not condone or otherwise accept that marriage as a marriage.


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