I’ve yet to use my blog as a political soapbox, but for whatever reason, I’ve got to speak on this issue and put my thoughts down.
Yesterday’s Prop 8 ruling by the 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals in California is a step in the right direction to marriage equality. And I’m only talking about marriage as defined by the state. Marriage as defined by religion is a totally separate issue and one I don’t think should be changed.
We’re at a tipping point on the issue of gay marriage. It’s now favored by the majority of Americans. But just because gays want (and deserve) the right to get married doesn’t mean the “institution of marriage” will come crashing down. This false “institution” argument is tired and flat out wrong. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce. What “institution” can you think of to defend that fails more than it succeeds?
I’m not trying to suggest that all marriages are doomed, but statistically speaking, the odds aren’t in the favor of your first marriage. Or your second if you’re Newt Gingrich.
I also understand the argument that gay marriage is immoral. Fine. You’re 100% entitled to your beliefs, but your beliefs apply more to a house of worship than Capitol Hill. No one is going to force your church or your religion to accept gay marriage. And if your church or religion does accept it, in this country you are free to choose another or even start one of your own.
To coincide with yesterday’s landmark Prop 8 news, people like Bill O’Reilly and Newt Gingrich are complaining about “judicial activism.” But without judicial activism we would be drinking out of separate water fountains and using separate restrooms based on the color of our skin.
On the flip side of judicial activism, politicians (including judges) want to define marriage on a state and/or federal level. Marriage should exist on a state level (because marriage is not and will never be a federal issue) and take place in a courthouse. Which most likely has a scale of justice with a blindfolded Lady Justice. Justice is equal for all in this country. And while equality may not exist everywhere, it most certainly should exist in our courthouses, courtrooms and judicial buildings.
And this is where marriage equality belongs.
But some politicians are open to the idea of a Constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. That’s what a religious document is for, not the fabric of American democracy.
The government’s role is to uphold the 14th amendment including “equal protection under the laws” of all citizens — which includes gays and lesbians.
It’s not the government’s role to make blanket “moral” decisions affecting citizens no matter the size of the minority. A state-acknowledged marriage serves no purpose in the eyes of a higher power, a church-acknowledged marriage does.
What a state marriage does is grant a loving couple the benefits of marriage. Tax benefits, medical benefits, estate benefits, joint ownership benefits, medical decision powers, etc. Would you really want to deny these benefits based on morality?
Aside from marriage, having an issue with gays or lesbians in a committed relationship (married or otherwise) raise children is a selfish stance. Would you rather a child grow up in an orphanage or a foster home with little emotional nourishment than with two loving parents who may happen to have the same anatomical parts? That should be a no-brainer. It’s about the children, not the parents.
The whole point of my rant is to emphasize that the government needs to get out of the business of telling how people to live their lives and worrying about divisive moral issues. The religious powers in this country are doing enough of it. Using hate to get in the way of love is always a recipe for failure, and this issue will be no exception — it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of win and when.