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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Maybe It's Not About Religion, But The Pursuit Of Happiness

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 07/01/15 20:11

by Dave Mindeman

People who disagree with the Supreme Court on the Same Sex Marriage issue are quick to hide behind the religious freedom amendment - and of course "God's Law".

Here is the problem I have always had with that. You may think that same sex marriage is wrong, but that doesn't give you any basis for denying rights.

Like it or not, marriage does not have the same definition that everyone seems to attribute to the Bible. Over the years, marriage has evolved from a simple spiritual union to a legal contract.

We have placed too many secular constructs into marriage to point to this as a spiritual, religious union anymore.

Marriage is a contract for property rights....for child custody....for inheritance... for health care...and the list goes on. To deny a person a marriage contract in today's society is to deny them legal rights and privileges that we assume should be available for everyone.

So, if you think that same-sex marriage is a religious violation then you really do have to redefine marriage in our materialistic society - it has been defined well beyond Bible definitions and is now a secular and legal contract which is ingrained into our materialistic society. Don't blame same-sex couples for needing to participate in marriage - it is necessary to have a marriage contract because too many legal frameworks have been entangled around "simple" marriage.

We conveniently redefined divorce. The Bible says it is wrong - we seem to have defined "exceptions". The Catholic Church fabricated "annulments". The rest of the religious community simply shrugged their shoulders.

People have religious objections to a lot of things. People who have an objection to war can be a conscientious objector. People who have an objection to capital punishment can move to a state that does not allow it.

But in the case of same sex marriage, your religious objection to it is worth noting, but it has little to do with you personally. Your religion would seem to require that YOU do not have a same sex marriage. If other people decide to do it, that should be for your God to judge (if you truly believe judgment is warranted) - not YOU.

I know that people who object to gay marriage make a big deal about a wedding cake caterer being "forced" to bake a cake for a gay wedding. Well, first of all it is just a cake. Second of all, your objection to a gay wedding and refusal to bake the cake is not going to stop it. Nor are you required to participate other than making sure the cake is there. I don't see anyone refusing to bake any cakes for two divorced people having a second marriage. Third, I doubt that any gay couple is going to "force" you to bake that cake if you are uncomfortable. Yes, if you get belligerent about it, there may be a legal confrontation, but 99% of the time, a couple getting married doesn't want their happiest of days tainted with a sour note. And over time, I would guess that this will be less and less of a problem as weddings lose the extra terminology that tries to define the participants.

Time will heal this issue. And although there will be a lot of hellfire rhetoric on the subject for the foreseeable future, the time will definitely come when we will actually wonder what all the fuss was about.

Our young people know this already. It is their future, not ours. So let's move beyond this and let everyone have the opportunity to be happy.

After all, that's what the Declaration of Independence noted as one of our unalienable rights - the pursuit of happiness.

Let's allow everyone to have that "pursuit" on an equal basis....OK?
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Trying To Figure Out The Roberts Dissent

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 06/27/15 23:45

by Dave Mindeman

Same sex marriage won its court case. That much is over.

But Chief Justice John Roberts did not agree with the idea that gay marriage should be an option as the law of the land. He wrote a dissent....and to me it is raises questions about Roberts thinking on the subject.

Take this for instance:

[T]his Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise "neither force nor will but merely judgment.

If Roberts truly believes the above paragraph, then why did the Court overturn the Voting Rights Act clause that protected voters in certain states. That clause was renewed by Congress in overwhelming votes, both in the House and the Senate - yet the Court did away with that clause and changed the law.

Another quote:

Stripped of its shiny rhetorical gloss, the majority's argument is that the Due Process Clause gives same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry because it will be good for them and for society. If I were a legislator, I would certainly consider that view as a matter of social policy. But as a judge, I find the majority's position indefensible as a matter of constitutional law.

Except Roberts omitted and important truth. It is not just about social policy. And the right to marry is not just "good" for the couples involved and for society....it is also about fundamental marriage rights. Rights for wills....rights for Federal benefits...rights for property assignments.....rights for joint ownership. These are basic rights that follow the recognition of legal marriage. And Chief Justice Roberts seems to dismiss what is universally recognized as part of the marriage contract.

And then Roberts goes into the marriage "purpose"....

The premises supporting th[e] concept of [natural] marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child's prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond.

I would challenge Roberts to tell us where in any marriage contract or construct that procreation is a fundamental part of the language. You do not have to be married to procreate. You do not have to be married to raise children. You do have to have a marriage contract in order to deal with the legal status of your family as defined in state laws. What makes the same sex marriage decision so important is that legal status needs to be equal for all and the due process of contracts involving couples who wish to exercise those legal contracts available to all without fear of discrimination.

Roberts seems to have a different view of how marriage actually works in society. He minimizes its value and diminishes its legal status.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and viewed marriage in its proper context. Thank goodness this will be the prevailing authority.
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Love Wins - Tomorrow, Back To Work

Category: Gay Rights
Posted: 06/26/15 20:27

by Dave Mindeman


Same Sex Marriage is available to anyone who seeks it. The Supreme Court has ended the debate once and for all.

I still have a tough time wrapping my head around the idea that it was just a narrow 5-4 decision. I have a terrible time understanding the dissent.

The argument seems to be that it should be up to the states to decide - and that makes zero sense to me. How can a same sex marriage couple get married in Minnesota....then move to, say, Texas, and then NOT be married? How would that not be a clear violation of equal protection?

But I guess that point is not worth going into now. 5-4 or 9-0, the result is still the same and the availability of Gay Marriage is now the law.

It is amazing to look back on how this issue has progressed over a very short time span. It was not long ago that public opinion was heavily against the legality of same sex marriage...but there has been a seismic shift in that opinion and it gives hope to the idea that progressive principles can ultimately win in the end.

We all know that the fight will not be completely over. Civil rights has had to continue its journey....and so it will be with gay rights. Even though gay marriage is no longer blocked, we still have laws that clearly discriminate against sexual orientation in the workplace and elsewhere. Unfortunately that struggle still continues.

But there is renewed hope that the end of legal discrimination against anyone is within reach.

Hard to imagine that a country that professes equal rights for all has had so many skirmishes that seek to achieve that grand bargain.

Today we celebrate. Love can and does win.

Tomorrow - back to work.
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