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The Gay Divider It's politics and strange bedfellows time
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson
Zepp's Commentaries
February 29
, 2004

Putsch -- the man who Kerry derisively reminds us portrays himself as "a uniter, not a divider" -- came out in support of the gay marriage amendment the other day. Since marriage is supposed to be the apposite of people getting united, this might strike some as a rather strange stance for the moron to be taking.

The right wing is in a panic. The revolt in San Francisco has now resulted in over 3,500 gay marriages, and it's been cropping up in other parts of the country, including places you wouldn't really expect, such as New Mexico and Idaho. (Perhaps the most unexpected outbreak of gay marriages occurred outside of the US in a place I wouldn't have guessed in a million years -- Medina, Saudi Arabia. Granted, there's much about Islamic and Arabic culture that I don't understand, but that was still a complete surprise.) The longer it goes on, the harder it will be for them to stamp on, and so far, they aren't getting any help from the courts. The California SC was the latest to refuse to issue an injunction, ordering the plaintiffs to formulate their arguments to something more coherent than "But! But! But!" Arnie tried leaning on everyone, and discovered that what works in Terminator movies has no results in real life. Putsch made his bigoted little squeaks, to no avail.

In fact, the best the right has been able to manage in California in stanching the flow of gay marriages has been an order to Show Cause by the state appellate court -- in four weeks. The state attorney general, Bill Lockyer, was unsuccessful in getting an injunction yesterday. (The oddity is that Lockyer is a liberal, the justices are conservatives, which has to be driving the right even further around the bend. Needless to say, they're blaming Lockyer for not getting an injunction, when Focus on the Family, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and just about every crackpot coalition on the right has failed. It's called "taking responsibility," folks.)

The proposed amendment that Putsch is supporting that is supposed to end, once and for all, the spectre of gay marriages, is ambiguous about civil unions. That isn't enough for Chuck Colson. Colson is a man who discovered you can get away with the type of shit that gets you six years in prison in the secular world if you do it in the name of God, and so he's been busily spreading his moral leprosy around unimpeded, ever since he got sprung twenty years ago.

He wants the amendment toughened up, and proposes the following language: "Neither the federal government nor any state shall predicate benefits, privileges, rights or immunities on the existence, recognition or presumption of nonmarital sexual relationships."

That's only slightly nastier than the existing language that is before the Congress, which nullifies the "full faith and credit" clause, by stipulating that no state is obliged to recognize the civil unions performed in any other state. Since ANY marriage that has a state licence is ALSO a civil union, this means that Kentucky is under no obligation to recognize marriages performed in Ohio. And can require married couples to get a Kentucky marriage licence before cohabiting.

One can imagine motels including "Temporary marriage licences" as part of their rental fees for out-of-state travelers who want to share the same room. Yeah, that's really gonna uphold the sanctity of marriage there.

The reason the Founders included the "full faith and credit" clause was to avoid bureaucratic nightmares like that.

Incidently, if states aren't required to recognize civil unions, they aren't obliged to recognize civil DISunions, either. Enforcing child support and alimony across state lines could become a real nightmare.

"Common law" marriages would no longer have any standing. That's where a state decides that a couple, having lived together for X amount of time (usually seven years) is, in the eyes of the law, married.

So an amendment that started out vile and unAmerican is now becoming vile, unAmerican, and stupid.

But it does demonstrate a problem the religious right has. They like to claim that American is a Christian country, and that's never been true, and with any luck at all, never will be true. America was set up so someone could be a Christian without let or hindrance, worshiping as they saw fit, and nobody could penalize them, or tax them on behalf of some other religious belief, or tell their church what to do. All part of the First Amendment.

And for most Christians, it has worked out extremely well. America was not Christian, but it couldn't prevent anyone from being Christian, of whatever stripe. Thus most people found it quite easy to be both Christian and American, enjoying having their religious rights respected while respecting the rights of all others to believe or disbelieve as they saw fit. Baptists didn't have to fear Episcopalians in 1790, and the rest of us don't have to fear Baptists in 2004.

But the religious right cannot be Americans as that concept is embedded in the constitution. They don't recognize the rights of others, and feel that government should be an adjunct to their beliefs, and if others don't like it, they can either join the church or get out.

The religious right are anti-American. They have to be. Their rigid and unyielding beliefs cannot coincide with the concepts of freedom and plurality contained in the Constitution. They can never admit it, of course, so instead of calling for the abolition of the Constitution, they work to amend it to make "religious freedom" a meaningless phrase for all but 10% of the population.

They know exactly how anti-American their stance is, too. They know, deep in their wizened little hearts, that they will lose the court battles to stop gay marriages, just as 40 years ago, they lost the battle to stop interracial marriages. A court won't uphold such a ban unless they can prove that it's socially destructive, and thus in the interests of the state to intercede, and the only real problem gay marriage presents to society is that it makes some people a little squeamish to contemplate.

They want an amendment because they know they are in direct opposition to what the Constitution stands for. In order to "save" America for themselves, they must destroy it for us.

So: the high and noble concepts that made America the greatest country on earth for a quarter of a millennium? Or the cribbed and crabbed pseudo-religious "sensibilities" that destroy cultures, and force entire regions to endure endless strife and deprivation as scientific, moral, and technological backwaters? One or the other.

Your choice.

Posted: March 1, 2004


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