I wish I had heard about this protest, scheduled for tomorrow, a bit earlier so I could have helped spread the word sooner, but late is better than never. A gay couple from West Hollywood is calling for gays and gay rights supporters, like me, to take the day off from work tomorrow to protest referenda in California, Florida and Arizona banning same-sex marriage. These referenda were passed in the aftermath of the California Supreme Court decision last year that declared laws banning same-sex marriages were unconstitutional. The supporters of same-sex marriage now want, and this is the proper way to deal with this issue, federal legislation protecting the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
Contrary to what the religious fundamentalists may say, marriage is first and foremost a legal social contract that provides certain legal responsibilities and privileges to the married couple. It is not a religious arrangement unless the couple decide to make it such and there is a religious ceremony in addition to or in lieu of the civil ceremony. My wife and I were married in the Cook County court house in 199. We would have liked a church wedding, but there were issues back then that made a church wedding impractical. We are planning our church wedding for out twentieth anniversary in 2011.
Does that mean we feel we are less married than, say, someone who was married in St. Peter’s Basilica performed by the Pope himself, or married in Westminster Abbey in London by the Archbishop of Canterbury, or married in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC by the late Billy Graham? Not really and we certainly have not been denied any legal marital rights because the Roman Catholic church, my wife’s childhood religious affiliation, does not recognize our marriage because I have been divorced and therefore, considers our three children to be bastards. This is from a religious institution with a history of clerical pedophilia and institutional cover-ups of that history. Guess what I think about their opinion of my marriage!
Marriage, in the civilized world at least, is, as I said above, a legal contract that can be entered into by two people irregardless of religious affiliation or sanction. A legal marriage in one state here in the US is, to the best if my knowledge, recognized as valid in every other state of the Union. a legal marriage in the US is also, as far as I know, recognized in every country in the world. Toy do not even have to be a citizen of the US to get married in the US as long as you meet the required residency rules. Yet we are depriving citizens of this country the right to enter into a legal contract because some people’s religious sensibilities are offended. Are we going to then refuse Muslims living in the US the right to get married because Islam offends some people’s religious sensibilities? Do we not allow homosexuals to get a mortgage to buy a house? That is a legal contract analogous to a marriage contract, but nobody refuses to take the money of a homosexual homeowner. But they cannot get married. What a crock of….!
Contracts are governed by federal law. Marriage is a contract. Therefore they fall under federal law governing contracts and discrimination laws that govern contracts. That should be enough legal grounds to declare any state ban on same-sex marriage as a violation of the US Constitution, but apparently it is not.
So let’s get the necessary federal legislation passed – the Civil Rights Act of 2009 – that makes it very clear that marriage is a civil contract that can be entered into by any two consenting adults living in this country, irregardless of race, creed, color, religious affiliation, ethnicity, sexual preferences, gender, body type, fashion preferences, or whatever else the lawyers need to put in there that tells the fundamentalist and the states rightists that contracts, including marriage, are civil contracts governed by federal law and that no state has the right to deprive an American citizen or legal resident of the ability to enter into any contract willingly, even marriage.
Contrary to what the fundamentalists preach, this country’s official religion is freedom of religion. That means freedom from the tyranny of any religion, even Christianity. We are so fond of talking about our Pilgrim fathers, Well, those founders of one of the first white settlements here in the USA came here to get away from the tyranny of a state religion. The Founding Fathers, when they drafter the Constitution, remembered that and put in an iron-clad guarantee to keep us free from religious tyranny for as long as this country exists. The fundamentalist want to trample that guarantee, and the Constitution with it, under the feet of their misguided conception of God.
The recent federal election was a major political defeat for the fundamentalists. Let’s keep the ball rolling by enacting the necessary legislation to make the spirit of the law into the letter of the law, so no one misunderstands or misinterprets it again. Let’s enact the necessary federal legislation to make sure every American, even those we do not necessarily approve of, has ALL the legal rights of every other American.