The announcement that the Iowa Supreme Court shot down a ban on same-sex marriage was in bold letters across the top of FOXNews.com and I jumped up and turned on the TV to watch the live coverage. I admit, I was very excited!
Then the fallout started to come in.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele issued a statement berating “judicial activism” and reiterated that he believes laws should be changed “by the people, not through judicial decree.”
Talk-show host and Conservative ideologue Rush Limbaugh, who has recently and noticeably toned down any mention of sexuality on his show, really rattled my cage. He said that Liberals don’t stop and that James Madison would be totally opposed to using the Constitution for legalizing same-sex marriage (see Story #6).
When I find myself on the opposite side of my Conservative comrades I stop and re-evaluate everything. However, I think these two guys, in this instance, are wrong. Here’s why:
“Sometimes what’s right isn’t always popular and what’s popular isn’t always right.” Sometimes the people can be wrong. We witnessed an example of this just last week with the enormous public outrage over the AIG bonuses. Limbaugh and other ideologues threw their hands up at the crowds and urged them to stop and think: we need to protect the contracts that stipulated the bonuses and, if anything, go after the lawmakers that allowed the loophole. However, if “people know best” then those executives would have been tarred and feathered…or worse.
The United States Constitution was designed to protect the rights of citizens and states from the tyranny of a central government. Furthermore, through a system of checks and balances it protects the rights of minorities from the tyranny of a majority. It also establishes a republic (which is not a true democracy – that is why we have the Electoral College – to prevent mobocracy or mob rule (technically referred to as ochlocracy).)
Frankly, government should get out of the marriage business altogether. “Gay marriage? How about no marriage? Proposing a Third Way.” The proposal laid out there would protect the m-word (“marriage”) which is supposedly what Steele and others want.
The Third Way hasn’t gained traction yet and what Republicans have tried to do was grant some sort of civil union in lieu of marriage to gay couples. They argue that “it’s the same as marriage – without using the m-word.” Well, we learned from the days of segregation that separate is NOT equal (Brown vs. Board of Education, 1954).
Coincidentally, desegregation was not all that popular either. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to send US Army troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to protect nine students from Governor Orval Faubus’ mobilization of the Arkansas National Guard as black kids were integrated into white schools. But, popular or not, it was right. It was fair and it was just. We proved that America is “a nation in which laws, not men, are supreme.” (Dwight D. Eisenhower’s radio address “Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts”)
The Far Right is painting this as part of the Gay Agenda – a massive plot or plan to destroy the family unit. Let me be clear: that is absurd – gays are much too selfish for that! The one and only thing on the mind of the gays suing for marriage equality is to be treated as equals! Gays want government to apply its rules equally to all of its citizens. They want the same tax breaks as heterosexual couples, they want visitation rights at hospitals, and they want the other benefits afforded them by the government – they simply want what you have, not destroy what you have.
No, the destruction of marriage and the family unit was carried out long ago by heterosexuals themselves. There is nothing gays could do to the sanctity of marriage that straights haven’t done already! A divorce rate hovering around 50%, thousands of single-parent homes, infidelity among couples, and late night drive-thru Vegas weddings annulled the next morning are a few examples. Another popular gay rally chant is “if marriage is so special – ban divorce!”
Bob Bowser from Portsmouth, NH, a commentor at the Heritage Foundation website, had this to say:
A law can never change the love I feel for my wife or children, or the commitment I have to my family. My commitment to my wife is based on things beyond the realm of law, and no extension or modification to a legal rule can or will change that. Nor, can a law reduce the commitment of a gay couple to each other. If the law had this power, then divorce would be a rare anomaly.
Let me put it another way. The fact that marriage or civil unions are legal in all the states in New England has not in any way reduced what marriage means to me…
I think the flaw in this whole argument is thinking that the institutions of man can in any way augment or detract from the contents of a heart or soul.
And I believe THAT is the point. You will not strengthen your marriage or your family unit by tearing down the relationships of gays or others. And if it’s still too hard to accept right now then simply follow the Savior’s last commandment to his apostles “love one another as I have loved you… by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35).
P.S. – Read the justices’ ruling before condemning it:
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