Friday, April 3, 2009

And Iowa Makes Three

I admit that I'd never really considered getting married in the past. It was something that did not cross my mind as necessarily possible.

I cannot believe how this issue has ignited such a firestorm in communities across the country. The California situation, in my opinion, was horrifying. A simple majority of a population was allowed to take away rights given legitimately. For those loathe to see the similarities between the African American civil rights struggle and the gay rights movement, I hate to break it to you, but the similarities remain.

Today, the Supreme Court in Iowa did the right thing. By citing the tenet of equal protection under the law, the court saw clearly that restricting civil marriage, emphasis on civil, is unconstitutional. Today is a good day.


Miriam said...

Yea! Iowa! Proud of them. Still don't wanna live there... I would miss not being able to complain that I don't have a vote in Congress.

Scott said...

Iowa. Whoda thunkit, eh? The other surprising thing was that the decision by the Iowa Supremes was unanimous, and the process to overturn it by state constitutional amendment takes at least 2 years to get in place. By that time I'd imagine the folks of Iowa will have discovered the same thing the people of Massachusetts have discovered...Its NO BIG DEAL. Nobody's straight-marriage is "threatened" by it.

I'm not sure I'm the "marrying" kind of guy either Free, but I do believe in equal (not just "comparable") rights. So, yeah...its a very good day.

Anonymous said...

You write: "A simple majority of a population was allowed to take away rights given legitimately."

Of course, the accuracy of that statement depends on whether you think a court can create rights out of thin air and re-define marriage after thousands of years. And what % of the population would you think is appropriate to express views on a public policy matter? 75%, 90%? We do live in a democracy.

You say you were horrified by the vote in CA. Have you spent any time thinking about why people voted the way the did? If you or others in gay rights industry did, I didn't hear about it. Instead, I heard the gay rights lobby denounce all the voters as bigots and then run to the un-elected, un-accountable courts to get what they want. There seems to be no interest in actually engaging citizens to hear their concerns. What will be the impact on polygamy laws, child marriage, etc. Far easier just to stereotype them as bigots. How about actually engaging in the democratic process?

It seems we have moved past "leaving people alone in their homes to do what they want." Now the gay lobby insists that society bow down before them and sanction their lifestyle. If the argument is that as long as consenting adults agree the state shouldn't' stand in the way, then I've still not heard any explanation why if gay marriage is permitted why polygamy shouldn’t be permitted. Why not two non-fertile siblings, or cousins? Why not necrophilia? Let me be clear, I'm not saying that gay marriage is the same as those things, but once you destroy the definition of marriage you have to be willing to deal with all of these questions. I've often thought it would be smarter to make sure that you can't be fired for be gay before reaching for marriage. But the movement has rejected such incrementalism and insisted on forcing this issue. You shouldn't be surprised that there is a backlash.

By the way, how about combining this issue with your previous post on muslims? What is the state of gay rights in muslim countries?

Anonymous said...

Follow-up. See below. 2/3rds of the population is against this. You need to engage those citizens and not simply demonize them.

From today's NYT:

Polls suggest that Americans remain divided on the issue. A CBS News poll last week found that while 6 out of 10 Americans think some form of legal recognition is appropriate for same-sex couples, only a third think those couples should be allowed to marry. Americans are somewhat more supportive of same-sex marriage than in 2004, when just 22 percent supported it.

hscfree said...

Paul, we simply will not agree on this one, and I think history is on my side here.

The bottom line for me is that no civil right issue, and gay rights are, in my mind, civil rights, needs to be subjected to a popular vote. And if it is, then it needs to be checked by the judiciary.

One of the things that you've asked me in the past regards the slippery slope. I have finally come to a conclusion there. I am okay with people fighting for what they believe and seeing where they can go with it. Will I agree with everything? I doubt it, but I am willing to hear the argument. That is a major step for me, and I might change my mind as I get older, but it is what it is right now. LOL

People who disagree with marriage, and remember I was not really invested until the solid "no" came about, need to take their complaints to the framers of the 14th Amendment. It's current interpretation is a talisman for the gay rights "industry" (as you call it).

People did not want black folks to move forward. People assumed that the world was fine prior to 1954, yet those pesky black folks kept carping about equality and all that jazz.

I feel privileged to be in a position to have studied African American history and to be gay right now. The similarities are so clear to me. The arguments against the gay rights movement going forward are similar in many respects. The key is whether one believes that being gay is natural or acquired. I can only tell of my experience. I was raised by straight people, and here I am. I did not wake up on a random morning and "decide" to be gay. With that in mind, I operate in a realm where I want to be able to live my life as fully as you. I cannot do that right now, and I am willing to fight until that comes to pass.

We'll see what happens over time.

Margot Lee Shetterly said...

If marriage is so great (which I happen to believe, I think it confers many benefits both to the people involved and to society as a whole) then why make it off limits to certain segments of the population?

And if we're all so gung ho on the preservation of marriage, why aren't we devoting an equal amount of public debate and energy to preserving heterosexual marriage?

If marriage as an institution is in fact in jeopardy, it seems to me the challenge is coming from the majority heterosexual population, who are getting divorced at high rates or opting out all together, not from the gay population, which is trying to opt-in.

Scott said...

To quote Chris Rock, "I'm all for gay marriage. I mean, why shouldn't gay people be as miserable as the rest of us?"

Anonymous said...

Just so that you don't think I'm making up ridiculous examples here is something I saw on Good Morning America. What rights will this group deserve?

Woman Proves Love for Eiffel Tower With Commitment Ceremony
Erika Eiffel Is Among a Small Group of People Who Are Intimately Attracted to Objects
April 8, 2009 —
We all see beauty objects, such as the symmetry and sleekness of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the the powerful history in the once-standing Berlin Wall.
For one woman, the intense feeling that inanimate objects can inspire goes much deeper and becomes something more like true love.
"The Berlin Wall is a masterpiece. I can feel how much he yearns to be loved," Erika Eiffel said.
Her love of the Eiffel Tower is somewhat recent, and two years ago the San Francisco woman had a commitment ceremony and changed her name to reflect the bond.
"Her structure is just amazing. You know, she's got subtle, subtle curves, you know," Erika Eiffel said of the famous Paris landmark.
"I just, it's almost like I heard her crying out, saying, 'Somebody, notice me. Somebody, really notice me. Here I am in the crowd crying out, somebody, somebody, hear my voice,'" she said.
Eiffel, 36, is part of a small group of people across the world who call themselves "objectum sexuals" where their intimate life revolves around objects, not people. The objects can range from a home computer to a set of drums or a national monument, anything they can feel a connection to. It may sound strange to most of us, but it's very real to them.
"We feel an innate connection to objects. It comes perfectly normal to us to connect on various levels, emotional, spiritual and also physical for some," Eiffel said.
Sexual Disorder or New Orientation?
Medical experts ABC News contacted said they were not familiar with objectum sexuals, some said it might be classified as paraphilia _ a disorder in which a person has an unusual sexual interest. Some psychologists suggest that people with the condition may have been sexually abused.
Certified sexologist Amy Marsh, from Albany, Calif., has a different take. She said objectum sexual is not a disorder, but possibly a new sexual orientation. Marsh said she's been surveying a small online community of people with OS.
"One person said, 'They're real, they're complex, and they are no less and no more of value than other romantic relationships'," Marsh said.
"There's been very little research done on objectum sexuality," Marsh continued. "I can tell you that what I'm finding is not much history of sexual abuse, and actually not much in the way of psychiatric diagnoses either. I'm finding they're very happy, and they don't want to change. I am also finding out that quite a few of them have a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome or autism, but not everybody."
Eiffel said she doesn't have Asperger's syndrome, nor does she believe her chaotic childhood -- shuffling between foster homes before she was adopted -- contributed to OS.
She said even as a small child she distinctly remembers having a great sympathy for discarded or wasted objects. She believes there is life, a soul in every object. Eiffel said she didn't choose to love objects, but was born that way.
"I thought everyone had a connection to objects in one way or the other. It really wasn't until I saw that they were dating each other and I was dating a bridge, that I was different. I just went to school and pretended I was like everybody else," Eiffel said.
Her love of certain objects has helped her become a world-class archer and win a $250,000 scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy, thanks to her attraction to the F-15 fighter jet.
Eiffel said she felt like "I'd like to get to know this jet. Kind of like a guy goes to a bar and he sees a really nice-looking girl and he, he wants to go sit next to her, buy her a drink and get to know her more. Well, I kind of felt that way about the F-15."
Her obsession has also led to ridicule by peers, abandonment by her family and a discharge from the Air Force. But she said she is fulfilled by her unusual love.
"I will tell you that I know love is being reciprocated," Eiffel said. "I'm happy, I'm not hurting anyone, I'm not hurting myself, I'm not being held back. I love my life."
Click here to visit the objectum sexuality web site.
Click here to find out more about Amy Marsh.
Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, I think gay marriage will become a reality in our lifetimes. My primary point is that the means matter as much as the end. Will the movement engage skeptical citizens in a meaningful debate, or will it dismiss them as "bigots" and use the unelected judiciary to get what they want.

hscfree said...

@Anonymous: I think Vermont is the answer to your last question. The issue was debated in both houses of the legislature, and passed, twice, to become the law of the state.

Regarding judicial activism, there is proof without a doubt that issues related to race would have remained stuck, but for the actions of the courts upholding the U.S. Constitution, particularly the 14th amendment. I think the canard of judicial activism comes only when conservatives don't like the result. Otherwise, jurists are being reasonable and upholding the law.

Anonymous said...

So what is happening in the states which have allowed gay MARRIAGE???

Marriage is now between two consenting adults in those states, and the world didn't come to an end. Iowa is still on map.

The argument about specifying gender is just the last vestige of being able to say, "I'm more priveleged and entitled than you are."

Implied superiority was used against women for voting (never mind a woman's right to work, make the same wages, or anything about birth control), and against inter-racial marriages, civil rights for African Americans, and now it's teetering as homosexuals seek equality, and are getting equality with regard to marriage.

The common voice behind all of those objections have been hyper-controlling men of European descent, who use religion and fear tactics to sway the masses away from both equality, as well as independence of thought and action.

I'm just sayin'...