Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Just Say No to Discrimination

Up on the ballot next month in my resident state of South Carolina is an amendment proposing to write discrimination into the state constitution by legislating that marriage is legally entered into solely by "one man and one woman".

I visited the site maintained by those who are for this amendment, South Carolina for Below is their FAQ, with my responses in bold below each point. Needless to say, I'll be voting NO on this amendment, and I urge all those in my state to do so as well.

* Marriage is a legal contract. To say that government should not get involved in legal relations is to say that government has no business governing. Marriage is also a social contract as well because the issues involved go beyond just the married couple.

Marriage is, at root, a private, personal relationship. Though it is presently available as a legal contract and can be a religious matter, it should not necessarily be either. The "social contract" part also does not overrule the essential private nature of it. Government has no business promoting, defining, or regulating what marriage is between consenting adults.

* The debate over the meaning of marriage is not a “civil rights” struggle. Those who fought for civil rights on matters of race didn’t put themselves above the law like the activists judges of today. Judges who do so are using the power of the law to subvert the law.

Actually, those who argue against same-sex marriage use some of the same arguments that those who argued against interracial marriage did forty years ago. Interpreting the law isn't necessarily the same as subverting it, and so-called "activist" judges who favor same sex marriage are no different from those who favored interracial marriage forty years ago.

* The debate over marriage is not an issue of “equal rights”, as marriage is not an individual right. Otherwise, why limit marriage to unions of two people instead of three or four or five?

The right to freely enter into intimate relationships between consenting adults is indeed a matter of equal rights. Why, indeed, should we limit marriage to only monogamous couples?

* Traditional marriage opponents claim that maintaining the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is “discrimination”, but refuse to admit that, by that same logic, it would also be discrimination not to allow polygamy.

I freely admit that it is indeed discrimination to not allow non monogamous marriage. As long as marriage is a legal category, it should be open to all consenting adults in the form they choose.

* Marriage is not a right that is extended to individuals by the government. It is a government restriction on the individual rights they already have.

They contradict themselves from their third point where they said that
"marriage isn't a matter of equal rights". I agree that legal marriage is a restriction on individual rights that people already have, which is why I am for the ultimate abolition of legal marriage.

* What traditional marriage opponents want is government sanctioned approval of a particular lifestyle. What they are seeking is not equal rights, but official social approval, which is the opposite of equal rights.

Isn't that what the one man only/one woman only marriage proponents have now -- government sanction PROMOTION of their lifestyle, not just approval? Equal rights would eliminate the promotion of any one relationship form and allow for toleration of all.

* If one group of individuals has the “right” to everyone else’s approval, then no one has the right to their own opinions and values.

Everyone has a right to their own opinions and values. Granting equal rights to everyone doesn't affect opinions, but merely allows everyone the right to live their private lives as they see fit, regardless of the opinions of those whose own private lives would not be affected in any way by those who choose to live differently.

* This issue is not about rights, but about redefining marriage by judicial decree. By circumventing the democratic process, overriding majority opinion and excluding the rest of society from something as fundamental as the definition of marriage, activist judges make themselves a threat to the rule of law.

Marriage is a personal, private, intimate relationship that should not be defined by law, but by those who enter into it. It is a private relationship between consenting adults, thus should not subject to "democratic process" nor subject to the opinions of those not personally involved in any particular marriage.

* If activist judges are permitted to rewrite laws, redefine families and to restructure our society, then we no longer have a democratic form of government.

"Activist judges"? Is this a euphemism for judges who simply hold differing opinions? It should not be up to the law to define families in the first place -- it's a private matter. Democratic government shouldn't intrude into how we enter into our private, intimate relationships.

* Current “Defense of Marriage” laws are subject to interpretation by courts and have been declared unconstitutional in some states by liberal judges. A constitutional amendment is much more secure and more difficult for judges to attack.

That's because they are unconstitutional, as would a constitutional amendment be. The amendment process was not meant to address relatively trivial matters, nor to enforce prejudice.

* Four out of seven judges on Massachusetts’ Supreme Court redefined marriage in that state without so much as a vote of the people. One judge in San Francisco declared California’s marriage laws unconstitutional…and one judge threw New York’s marriage laws into question. Clearly, the judiciary is out of control and citizens must rise up and protect marriage by defining it in our constitution.

I think ALL marriage laws should be thrown out and consenting adults to be left in peace to order their personal relationships as they see fit. People need to attend to their own marriages and not meddle into the relationships of others.

* It is important to note that the push for gay marriage is coming not from the people and their elected representatives, but from a small minority attempting to impose its views on the rest of society through the least democratic branch of our government.

Gay people and other sexual minorities just want to be first class citizens with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else.

* US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has noted that, if gay marriage becomes a reality, it opens the door for the legalization of bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery.

Bigamy and adultery would become legal non-concepts if monogamy was no longer promoted by the government through legal marriage. Incest, though not a good thing, is hardly unknown simply because it is illegal -- and should continue to be prosecuted when it involves children.

* Several groups are now trying to use the debate over gay marriage to advance the cause of polygamy at the same time, initiating challenges in federal courts to allow “marriages” of multiple partners.

As well they should be. As long as marriage remains a legal category, then such marriages should be allowed.

* Marriage is a unique institution that is central to the welfare of our society, and as such it must be protected.

Privacy and freedom are even more central to the welfare of our society and the right of people to freely enter into whatever form of relationship they desire should be protected. People are free to advocate whatever particular form of marriage they choose, but shouldn't be allow to deny others the right to do differently.

* If marriage comes to be defined as encompassing any type of union, then it is no longer marriage. If it comes to mean “everything”, then it will mean “nothing”.

It should be those personally involved who give marriage its meaning, not the legal system. People need to take responsibility for their own relationships without the intrusion of a "nanny" government. Religious people can continue to derive meaning for marriage from their various faiths without having to involve the government.

* It’s up to us to have as many South Carolinians as possible to stand up and oppose those judges who may try and overturn our laws…or oppose those who may get married in one state and come here and try to sue for recognition. A constitutional amendment gives more weight to our state’s legal definition of marriage as opposed to a just a law.

And keep South Carolina's reputation up as a small-minded state? I, for one, will vote against this amendment and I will refrain from meddling into the personal relationships of others.


No comments: