Thursday, May 18, 2006

the frog is boiling . . .

Today, the senate voted to amend our Constitution, to explicitly deny same-sex couples the right to marry each other.

Amazing. I thought the Constitution was about guaranteeing rights to Americans, not taking them away.

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention the last five years; the Republican majority in Congress clearly isn't interested in defending or respecting our Constitution.

13 Comments:

Blogger leathej1 said...

Good analogy. It is true that the current GOP's tactic to erode civil liberties is to gradually redefine the baseline. One of the chief ways they are doing this is by slowly promoting more power to the executive branch than is warranted by the constitution, and invoke the super magic password "national security." "Oh, well the President has the authorization to do that." Yeah, no - sorry, he really doesn't. I actually heard a Republican congressman say on the radio, "well, I feel confident that the President has authorization to carry out wire tapping in a time of wa-... in a time of national security." So the War Powers Act in now the National Security Powers Act. When exactly would a "time of national security" be over? Are we going to reach a point and say, "Good job! Now that we have achieved national security, I guess we can tear down all the fences and go home now." I guess it won't be long until same-sex marriage is a threat to national security. Maybe the rationale will be "TSA inspectors saw two dudes holding hands, and got so distracted that they let a Syrian national with an IED onto a Southwest flight to Albany."

5:23 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

Republicans? Try Both parties. Or All of them.

I do not see how it is the government's place to amend the constitution to make any form of marriage illegal. The government should stay the hell out of social institutions altogether and let us, the people, figure it out.

Not that I think gay marriage is a good thing... I think it profanes a sacred covenant which is the foundation of nearly every civilized society. But that's just one man's opinion.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

It simply is not possible to take a "right" away if it was never a "right" in the first place.

I like where you're going (or coming from) Wayne and I agree with you to a point: the only sustainable resource a government has is people. People provide the "grist for the mill" as it were: they pay taxes, run the government, ARE the government, etc., etc. The only guaranteed source of that resource is the issue of reproduction between the male and female of the species. This is the reason government is involved in licensing marriages: to ensure it's own continued survival. It is also attempting to ensure the product of these unions are stable (read: tax payers, not criminals, drug users, etc.), something--backed by studies-- "more" possible in a heterosexual household.

Homosexuals, by definition, cannot reproduce so why should society "reward" that relationship by conferring it with "rights"? I'm being simplistic (some would say: simple) but that's the crux of the issue.

11:51 AM  
Blogger leathej1 said...

Fred,

So, if I hear what you are saying correctly, if I am a sterile man then I should have my marriage nullified? Your comments make me sad. I hope that your wife does not realize her limited role in your marriage.

7:30 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

My attitude has nothing to do with reproduction. It has everything to do with my religious beliefs. I believe that God created the covenant of marriage between man and woman.

I am not God, however, and I cannot (and should not even try) to force you or anyone else to abide by His rules. I can try to persuade you that it is right, but this is not the time or place for that sort of thing, and most importantly, neither is a legislative session.

I do not believe that there is a "separation of church and state" but I also do not think that it is a good idea to write religious principles into law. Just to be clear, this is not the same as allowing religious principles to influence how a law is composed.

I have my beliefs, you have yours. Don't try to force yours on me, and I will not preach mine to you. That is how government should work, and that is why I think government should stay out of this issue.

Unfortunately, politicians are incapable of leaving well enough alone. Their vanity requires them to stick their fingers in and meddle with things they do not understand, and their arrogance requires that they instruct us on how to live our lives. They will never miss an opportunity to increase their power over us, and gradually strip away our rights, like slices off a salami, until they are all gone, and we wonder where they went.

No political party is innocent of this, and all politicians will descend to this tactic, given enough time in office. Blaming Republicans or Democrats is like blaming a viper's bite on its species. Six of one, half-dozen of the other; they're all poisonous.

Sorry for the diatribe, but I would rather be tedious than misunderstood.

6:34 AM  
Blogger leathej1 said...

Wayne,

Nicely said. I think we are in agreement with regards to the inappropriateness of such legislation, even though we differ in our moral view of the subject of the law.

I am interested to hear more about why you said "I do not believe that there is a "separation of church and state". I think you are referring to the reality that religion really is a driving force in legislation. But I am not sure if that is what you mean.

Now, I do want to clear up something. You mention, " I believe that God created the covenant of marriage between man and woman." That may be true, yet the institution of marriage is a wholly separate thing. After all, you can legally be married by a justice of the peace, and you can keep your license even if you are an athiest. I think that we are actually in agreement on this, but I just wanted to call it out again.

Great comments, Wayne. In regards to an earlier comment, yes, I agree that all political parties are at fault. The GOP is just the whipping boy du jour.

7:31 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:10 PM  
Blogger wayne said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:19 PM  
Blogger wayne said...

Ready for another loooong post? At the risk of being tedious, I lay out my case. It's hard to convey complex thoughts in a "sound bite."

I said I do not believe that there is a separation of church and state because the first amendment is very specific in its language. The amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
The word "respecting" in this context means "having anything to do with" as opposed to "paying homage or respect to."
Preventing a person or group from displaying a religious symbol, even on public property, provided that any sort of display is otherwise legal, is not disallowed, and is in fact, protected by the "free exercise thereof" statement. Allowing such a display to be placed, (even by a lawmaker!) is not nearly the same as making a law, which is the only thing which is specifically prohibited. If you parse this amendment carefully, you see that the subject is "Congress," the verb is "shall make," and the direct object is "law." The words "respecting" and "prohibiting" are both beginnings of dependent clauses. (with the conjunction "or")
The framers of the constitution were very well educated, and they knew their grammar. If they wanted religion out of politics, they were quite capable of making it unambiguously clear.

Lately, people have taken the amendment to mean that religious expression in public places or on government property is not allowed. This was never intended, nor is it what the law says.

You are quite correct. The covenant of marriage is religious in nature, where the institution as defined by law is secular.
There really is little difference in secular terms between "marriage" and "civil union," and I have no objections if h0m053xu41s want to make arrangements that allocate their property rights or powers of attourney in a manner that mimics civil union. They can even call it civil union for all I care. This is a free country, after all. (Sorry for the geek speak in this sentence... the blog engine seems to censor out words like h0m053xu41)

The demand for "marriage" offends me personally on religious and moral grounds. I value my marriage and the promises for which it stands.
Any economist will tell you that as anything becomes common, its value is lessened. When people marry (and divorce) many times, they lose the sense of importance and commitment that marriage is supposed to have.
Also, there is the idea of exclusivity. You simply do not (for example) accept ugly [leaders-of-cheer] (another word that gets censored, for some reason), no matter how much they want to participate. Sure, it is unpleasant for the ones who don't make the cut, but allowing it would make a mockery of the whole concept, and quite frankly, nobody wants to watch them unless they are aesthetically pleasing. Not everyone can be a [leader-of-cheer]. Likewise, there are certain people who should not marry; allowing it mocks the whole institution/covenant. They are simply not qualified.

The reason I do not like the idea of a constitutional amendment is that I do not believe there is justification for amending the constitution for transient issues. (Prohibition, anyone?) This may seem like something really important to a lot of emotional religious types, but in a hundred years, what will history say? If we go amending the constitution for every little thing (okay, big things, too) that offends us, it will soon look like the tax codes, and be nearly as easy to interpret. Nobody wants that.

Those are my reasonings. I make no apologies; Humans are not capable of leaving feelings entirely out of their positions. I just try to keep the practical effects of my considerations (i.e. my vote) limited to what I think will be best in the long term for all who are affected by them.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

@leathej1: "... bad argument that stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of social rules. Consider this: You have to be sixteen years old to drive and eighteen years old to vote. The reason for the rule is that driving and voting require a certain level of maturity. True, some adults don't have such maturity, yet we don't exclude them. True, some minors could probably drive and vote effectively, but we don't let them. The point is that rules are general propositions based on a presumed connection between the established criteria and the behavior that is desired, even though the result may not always be favorable. And so it is with marriage."
(thanks, D'Souza)

11:20 PM  
Blogger leathej1 said...

Sorry - I am not understanding the connection. Can you explain this in your own words?

4:39 AM  
Blogger leathej1 said...

Wayne -

It took me a while to digest your last post, simply because it was not what I expected. It was well thought out, informative, and rational - not the kind of thing I see in a topic of this emotional charge.

This is one of those moments that happens all too seldom in a public forum. An actual exchange of ideas took place. Well, I learned something at least. And although my position has not changed, this discourse has helped me find better ways to communicate my position.

Wayne, a whole lot of people could learn a whole lot from you.

4:53 AM  
Blogger wayne said...

The very reason I try so hard to be clear and rational is that I hate stupid shout-fests and rhetorical babbling. It gets boring, and just makes people's minds snap shut. It is nearly impossible to learn anything from that.

5:50 PM  

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