DOMA

Once again, I find inspiration from my friend Steve B. (and he insists he is not a muse…)

Yesterday’s announcement from Attorney General Eric Holder that the Obama administration would cease prosecuting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prompted a Facebook post:

I was happy to share the link provided by the NO H8 campaign and put the following on the post:

Wow – at least we can get back to the real issues that matter in 2012. Can flag burning be to far behind?

This prompted a bit of an exchange:

FB Friend: I thought it was the Supreme Court’s biz to determine whether a law is constitutional or not… odd.

Followed by Steve B.:

True. The supreme court decides if a law is constitutional. The legislature makes the laws. The executive upholds the laws. It is unlawful and unconstitutional for the executive to not uphold the laws deemed constitutional by the court. Period! (what if Bush stopped abortion?) The libs would have freaked out.

Steve always makes me work to fact-check.  Although I know he believes he is correct, I believe he is working with selective facts. A simple Google search located a rather lengthy article in the New York Times from 2006 that stated:

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to “execute” a law he believes is unconstitutional.

 The article went on to say:

Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws — many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.

Now that that is settled, I wanted to see just how far behind the rest of the world America is with regard to marriage equality.  This graphic does lend to some interesting analysis:

Note that the West Coast of the US along with the Northeast, bastions of liberalism, are the progressives on this issue – somehow Iowa stands out all by itself in the middle of the country as among the most progressive states. Our conservative friends, so threatened by the idea of homosexual union, would be happy to align our laws with those of the Middle East and African countries, maybe not with harsh penalties against homosexuality (even though the bible they point to as justification against marriage equality would demand the harshest of penalties for the sin of same sex unions).  And to think I get flack for calling the religious right the American Taliban – they certainly seem to want to be in the same zip codes…

I’ve spent all morning looking up a quote that I wanted to use.  I’ll give the credit to Richard Dawkins, even though I can’t find it in the exact words, so this might be semi-original:

It’s a special form of bigotry that allows a group of people, based on ancient theological text, to deny the right of another life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, when the actions taken have absolutely no bearing on their own lives.

I was thinking about writing a wholly separate article on this issue, but since we’re here, and I’ve had a couple beers, let’s just get it out in the open.

I find myself in a strange position – I truly have no understanding of, for lack of a better term, “gayness.”  Personally, I really don’t want to see two guys making out.  I don’t understand the attraction is what it probably boils down to.  So for me to find myself a “straight ally” of the gay community is a weird mantle to hold.  In the end, this isn’t about gay rights folks – this is about human rights and the right to dignity – those are values that I’ll champion at any point.

Go back and look at that map – countries that would deem to put people in prison for life or just flat out kill them for pursuing that which they are biologically wired for are the same countries whose human rights abuses are beyond the pale and in direct odds with American values.  You know, I was just about to say (literally had typed it out and had to backspace over it) that while I respect the Christian values that stand in opposition of marriage equality, those same values are not applicable in a secular government that respects all religions equally – even the non-theist philosophies of humanism, skepticism, and rational thinkers.  I can’t respect a religious dogma that requires government action to uphold a specific religious doctrine such as this.  You can argue your point until the cows come home, but the fact is opposition to gay marriage is no different than opposition to interracial marriage or support for slavery – both practices were justified on biblical grounds.  I realize that people don’t want to be bigots, or bigoted for that matter – but you really need to think about where you stand on the issue.  I’ve had to self address many of my own prejudices – sometimes you look in the mirror and just can’t help but seeing the ugliness for what it really is. 

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