today, though, as he is known to do, David takes a stab at a few political issues. ‘reprinted’ below with his permission is “Gays and the Law”
Gads, there’s nothing I hate more than a hate law. To me a hate law is any law that specifically tries to persecute or exclude one group from being treated equally to others. Usually the group being persecuted is a minority (of some sort) — and our founding fathers realized this flaw of Democracy, that is why we aren’t one. People think we are a democracy because we vote and are democratic — but we are really a Democratic Constitutional Republic — we vote to elect representatives (republic), and neither our laws nor the representatives are supposed to be allowed to violate the constitution. And the Constitution is supposed to protect against hate laws and “the tyranny of the masses” — which is where one group makes selective persecution laws to attack another group — like in pre-WWII Germany where the masses basically voted to strip the Jews of their rights and eventually property and lives. Of course a “Constitutional Republic” doesn’t always work perfectly — as many Native Americans, Blacks and other persecuted minorities will attest — but it should if the Supreme Court, Legislators and public are paying attention, are educated, and care.
Well, we in California have another one of those special persecution laws being passed under the guise of something else. This Proposition is known as Prop. 22. Here is the entire text:
Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
Amazing how much hate can be built into words that are not said, and just implied. The whole point of the text is to persecute gays and exclude them from being given the same rights under the laws as heterosexuals.
I certainly understand if churches or individuals say that they will not recognize gay marriages — that is their right, and some think their responsibility. Churches are about morality and beliefs, and they have the right not to believe in the sanctity of homosexuality. But the law is about law — not religious inspired morals and beliefs. Justice is supposed to be blind — not stupid. It is supposed to be objective (applied equally to all) not subjective (applied selectively to some). The point is that if two people have the right to make a marriage contract under the law, then we should not selectively persecute some groups with such clauses.
I understand that no issue is completely black or white — and we do have some restrictions (and should) for marriage. I obviously don’t think marriage should allow two people aged 12 and 34 — but there are other laws to exclude that, and this isn’t about the age of consent. Nor is it about mental impairment or other things with which we might put some restrictions on legal marriage. Gender preference is about personal choice, or moral beliefs — not about violation of someone’s rights (the only reason we should be able to restrict marriage under the law).
I am not a liberal
Now I know some people like to get their panties in a bunch when you disagree with them. And people love to label — so I’m sure they are ready to call me a bleeding heart liberal (or something less polite). I’m not. I just want objective laws that are applied equally to all. But just to help clarify where I come from, and in case it isn’t obvious — I’m not gay, and do not support many gay issues. Not because there aren’t valid causes (some are, some aren’t’) — but I’m usually against such laws because the way many are tried to be passed is wrong, or because they are subjective laws of their own.
I was against gays in the military (as military law). I can defend why (and there is no hypocrisy in views) — but the summary is basically that the military is not the place to experiment with social policy — pass laws supporting same sex marriages in the public first, get society to adapt, then let the military follow (years or a generation later) — not the other way around. There is nothing constructive that allowing gays in the military would do (as gays have already been there, and have been since forever) — so the only thing a change would do is cause resentment and negative backlash — which it has succeeded at doing spectacularly. Don’t ask, don’t tell is basically what was going before the morons politicized the mess — and as usual made things worse. Of course one thing all laws foisted on the military should pass is “does the law improve the effectiveness of the fighting force?” — this one didn’t. Lastly, there are a few valid privacy concerns — I don’t personally care if some gay guy sees me in the gym shower naked, and I don’t like using open stalls with hetero’s or gays — but until society can accept co-ed showers and restrooms, I think we should respect people’s modesty (misplaced or not). So it just wasn’t the right time, and not the right place to start policy — and so I couldn’t support it, and was in fact against it. It was a way to attack a symptom at the wrong place, and ignore the real problem (societal intolerance).
I am also not for many of the laws or policies that allow “life partners” to get benefits, when those are subjectively applied. In other words in some companies you can get benefits if your partner is a “gay life partner”, but not if they are a hetero-live-in lover. Laws must be objective and fair and that is not fair. Either both should be able to get their “partners” those benefits, or no one should (and require both to be married) — allowing some to, and other not to, is wrong. I think gays should have to get married (or a legal partnership contract) in order to get the same benefits (and penalties) as everyone else — no special privileges.
Which is my biggest concern about this law. Being denied the right to legally marry (under Prop 22) what does that mean for gay “spouses” or partners? Basically it means that the law is a tool to deny civil rights to gays, lesbians and their families. When they have a sick or injured companion then they may be denied the right to visit them in the hospital, to make medical decisions about the treatment of that person. It will deny them adoption or paternity rights. It will deny them inheritance and property rights. It can (and likely will) be used to deny them all the basic rights and responsibilities that a person should have with their mate. That is just wrong.
I don’t run around preaching my views on every bad proposition or bad law that is being attempted to be pass — if I did I wouldn’t have any time left — but I hold a special place for persecution and exclusionary laws meant to attack one group. Why doesn’t the law just be honest and read, “they must use separate bathrooms and drinking fountains”, or other “separate but equal” crap that was such a perversion of everything America was supposed to stand for in the past? Are we going to allow signs on shops asking for employees that say “no Irish or Gays need apply”? Society should learn tolerance. Tolerance is easy when everyone behaves as you wish — freedom in that case is truly free (no sweat and no pressure to you). Freedom really only matters when someone lives a lifestyle or have beliefs that you disagree with and you still believe in freedom more than you believe in persecution and force!
So for all those reasons I have to support same sex marriages as societal law (or at least legal partnership contracts, if the word marriage offends). As long as one person is not harming another, then I don’t think society should be involved in their lives. Live and let live should be the letter of law (as well as the spirit) — and this bill fails both litmus tests. You don’t have to agree with gay people’s choices — you can bitch personally, you can go to a church that disagrees with their choices, you can be vocal about your disagreement, you can tell them to their face, but you should not pass laws to selectively persecute them. If you believe in freedom, then you also have to fight against bad laws — even when they only persecute people that you may disagree with. Justice must be blind and objective for America to be “the land of the free”, or at least not be the land of persecution oriented subjective fascist micro-managers trying to dictate how everyone else will behave!
All IMHO of course…
and Happy Valentines Day to all…