Sunday, February 26, 2012

The truth about gay marriage, at least in Minnesota

I admit that I lack confidence in my representation in the legislature these days.  Particularly the current crop of people, most of whom were rage-elected by people who only voted for the "other guy" because they were generally dissatisfied by the state of pretty much everything during the last major election.  Contrary to what some may believe, it wasn't mandate; it was an electoral tantrum.  Many of you will lose your positions, whether you deserve to or not, by the same fickle voters because you weren't focused enough on what they irrationally wanted fixed NOW.

I had the opportunity to meet with my state senator yesterday about just WTF is going on in the legislature, at least WTF is going on with relation to him.  I had set up the meeting because I just moved into his district, and I want to know if there's a justification for WTF is going on.  I planned to meet with him, first, because his position is the most tenuous with respect to my vote.

Before I contacted him, I did my research.  His position isn't senior nor particularly notable, so he wasn't in the news a lot.  I looked up his bio and his votes.  Alas...on some issues that I find important, he was predictably GOP.  And I don't mean the good old fashioned type.

Minnesota is a good, Midwestern state (well, at least we claim the location).  We don't like to make a fuss.  We don't like to be in the news, except for good, non-controversial reasons, like having a city listed in the best cities to live in or being a good place to raise children or for creating the Minnesota Miracle (which makes us proud but if we had any say, it would have a name that was more modest).

But lately, we've been in the news for a controversial reason.  Our leaders have made it appear as though we hate gay people.

Now, nothing could be further from the truth for many, if not most of us.  But when our largest school district is under scrutiny for having a policy that probably contributed to the suicides of a significant number of gay and perceived-gay students, while administrators (and our illustrious Michele Bachmann) insist that the suicide hotspot is coincidence (as is the sexual orientation or perceived orientation of all the students involved), it starts to smell of homophobicity.

Then, when our legislators--to be fair, mostly one party--feel it is time to put the vote over whether gay people can legally have families up to the people, I certainly wouldn't blame any of my gay friends (or anyone's gay friends) to throw their hands up in the air, say "I get your hint!" and take themselves, their partners, their taxes, and their jobs to the East Coast.

Since I obviously can't comprehend why in the world the state needs to weigh in on what I deem to be a religious issue, let alone drop the damned thing into our state constitution, I am livid.

So, I decided to ask my senator as I had him trapped in a coffee shop for a little me-time.  Below, in no particular order (well, other than one that flows best for the purposes of this blog), are the excuses given to me for putting gay rights up to a vote and why they're wrong.

  • This country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles.
Bullshit.  This country was founded on the belief that the king of England was an unfair, money-grubbing prick.  If one must scrutinize the founding of this country in the light of religion, there is only one legal document with any standing: the Constitution.

The originally written Constitution had NO references to God, let alone a Judeo-Christian God.  (I will tell you where God appears in a constitution--the Middle East, where religion is regularly established by law.)  The only reference to religion can be found in the First Amendment, which is one of a handful of Amendments initially added to the Constitution as a Bill of Rights.  These were added to the Constitution, not as an afterthought, but as a safeguard believed necessary by James Madison in light of the long history of governments removing rights from its territories, colonies, and people, because they were, by definition, less powerful than the central government.  The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... 

Thus, the Constitution--the ONLY founding document with the strength of law--outright prohibits enacting any law regarding establishment of religion or prohibiting free exercise of religion.  By the Constitution, governments under the Constitution may not institutionalize or prohibit any religion.  So, even if the founding fathers were flaming Catholics (which they weren't; many were deists, at best), it wouldn't matter.  They found it in the best interest of this country to keep religion out of the government.

This was deliberate.  At the time the Constitution was written, it was tradition to invoke God in the writing of legal documents.  While many of the other founders thought the original Constitution obviously provided the rights addressed in the Bill of Rights (which is not surprising, since they already pretty much existed as the English Bill of Rights), Madison thought it necessary to enumerate them.

As an aside, I'd like to know where in the Bible the free market was supported?  I find it odd that some "conservatives" happily wrap social issues in the Bible, but worship the free market almost above Jesus when Jesus wasn't a fan of the effects of the free market. 

  • It is necessary to define marriage on the basis of procreative ability.
Bullshit.  Here is a table of potential combinations of people that might arrange a marriage and some notes on procreative ability and the legality of the combination.

Party 1             Party 2                 Able to procreate?  Legal? Notes
Man (fertile)     Woman (fertile)     Yes                       Yes                      
Man (fertile)     Woman (infertile)   No                         Yes    If no procreation, why legal?
Man (infertile)   Woman (fertile)     No                         Yes    If no procreation, why legal?
Man (infertile)   Woman (infertile)    No                        Yes     If no procreation, why legal?
Man (fertile)      Women (multiple)  Yes                       No      Procreation ability superior to all other
                                                                                            combinations.  Why illegal?
Men (multiple)  Woman (fertile)      Yes                       No      Warps "Christian" minds.
Man                   Man                      No                         No    Beginning to look like we've made laws regarding
                                                                                            the establishment of religion, doesn't it?
Woman              Woman                 No                        No    Procreation still possible with third party, similar 
                                                                                          to the infertile man/fertile woman combination.  
                                                                                          Yet one is legal in this state and the other isn't.

As you can see, marriage in this state is awarded to couples that have no ability to procreate, so this can't be  the only legitimate reason for a state to issue a marriage license.

  • It is necessary to define marriage to support the successful raising of children.
Bullshit.  Recent controlled scientific studies (the first of their kind) have shown that gay couples that raise children do a good job.  Just as good as a man/woman combination.  There are no properly scientific studies to the contrary, despite the belief by some people that there are.  The difference between belief and fact should be obvious, people.

  • It is necessary to define marriage between a man and a woman to prevent the marriage between a man/woman and a dog/child/car/dead person/other non-consenting individual.
Bullshit.  Here's a hint...look at the last potential individual listed on that slippery slope.  This is important: if it can't consent, it can't get married.  Now, people will do bad things to those that can't consent.  In fact, the Catholic Church has quite a reputation for that.  But if we must define marriage in order to prevent the demoralization of this country, we should define it by the ability of the parties involved to consent.  Your dog can't consent.  A child can't consent.  An inanimate (or dead) object can't consent.  As in any legal contract, the parties must have the ability to consent, otherwise it is void.  Rome did not fall because the emperor and his people diddled animals.  Rome fell because of the rise of Christianity and Islam.  The old gods were dead, and the new gods had richer benefactors.  Rome was spread out and the newly minted Christian Church was a wealthy seed right in the middle of the Empire.  The new bishops were now more powerful than the emperor.  The truth isn't as fun as the rumor that Rome fell because of hedonism, is it? 

The Truth
Minnesota's political leadership swung GOP only because the public is fickle and simply voted for the "other guy" because they were unhappy with the economy.  The electorate hoped that the "other guy" would get them their jobs back.  The "other guy," who happens to be mostly GOP, failed to do that.  The GOP knows that.  The only way the GOP can hope to maintain a majority long term is to get their base (and I mean base) out to vote in record numbers.  And the only way to do that is bring up a hot button issue that appeals to that base.  Gay marriage, an institution that is already illegal in this state, is the pawn the GOP is using to maintain their seats because they know that the base that comes out to vote on this issue is also the same type of person who will vote for the GOP simply because they are GOP, and not because they did their jobs in the legislature.

Why it could pass
The truth is, the concept of gay marriage burns the flesh of some so-called Christians the way a cross (or garlic or sunlight--interesting that those two things have the same power as a cross...) is supposed to burn the flesh of a vampire. These so-called Christians know that the tide is turning and now is the time to set their doctrine in stone before their kids are old enough to vote.  

Why it shouldn't pass
There is no legitimate legal reason we should ever vote on the freedoms of others, let alone memorialize them in a constitution.  The purpose of proposing to put this in the constitution is purely to subvert the will of future voters.  Subverting the vote of the people is a very anti-American thing to do.