Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse: Government: Stay Out of My (Gay) Marriage!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

By Nicholas Meyeres

Equal rights are not special rights unless you're the one who doesn't have them.

Rights belong only to individuals, not collective groups of people. Therefore, there should be no affirmative action for any one group, and no special rights for them, either. However, ALL rights should be equal rights for individuals regardless of your personal preference against any one individual or type of person. Likewise, we should repeal any and all laws currently on record if they are blatantly unconstitutional, or if they deliberately single out one type of person over another one.

For instance, 'gay rights'.

Of course, when I refer to gay rights I am not referring to special rights for the gay and lesbian community apart from the straight community, I am referring to equal rights all the way across the board for all persons- period. What is afforded to one legal citizen MUST be afforded to all legal citizens- without exception. Besides, straight Americans are the ones currently benefiting from special rights by nature of disallowing the gay community to partake in those same privileges- not the other way around.

If you allow special tax breaks, financial incentives, the simple ability to even be married in the eyes of the state, or to have or adopt children in some areas- then, you must by constitutional law offer those same benefits to all the people of this country. If you want to not allow two gay men or two gay women to marry in your private church- so be it, that is also your right. But, the government cannot, and should not allow popular opinion, bigotry or religious belief to sway how they govern individuals.

Basically, everyone should be allowed a civil union sanctioned by the government if they so choose it; or no one should have them at all. The same should go for special benefits and incentives for those people, too. However, if a person would later wish to sanctify that union in the privacy of one’s own church, that should be allowed, as well.

But honestly, I feel the government shouldn’t even be in the marriage business at all. It shouldn’t advocate or allow those benefits to ANYONE. After all, if you do offer special perks for individuals who partake in a civil union or a marriage, you are effectively discriminating against individuals who choose to be single. And that is just as unacceptable to me as the other.

If you want to have your priest sanctify your marriage, or have a ceremony at the top of a mountain while shouting to Mother Earth that you want to spend the rest of your life with another person for all of eternity, you should be allowed to. I just personally believe that the government shouldn’t be involved in any way shape or form in that aspect of our personal lives whatsoever. And they certainly shouldn’t offer you bribes to do so, either.

Frankly, I don't know why anybody would be against gay couples getting civil union licenses in America. I can understand why a Christian would object to the government forcing their hand to allow gay people to be married in their private church- after all, they believe it to be a sin. But what's wrong with them having a civil union in a public, tax-paid-for court house? They are still citizens, too, and the Constitution mattered last time I checked.

The solution, some may argue, is to amend the Federal Constitution, which is what George W. Bush, Newt Gingrich and others endorse. But there is one problem with that: Article Six reads:

"This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."

Boiled down, this means that the Constitution is barred from contradicting itself. Thus, a Federal Marriage Amendment that would deprive a singled-out populace of any rights runs in clear contradiction to Article Four and also Amendment Nine of the Constitution. And the Ninth Amendment states:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Likewise, in reference to another lateral subject akin to civil rights and gay marriage: Gays not being allowed in the American Armed Forces.

For the sake of preserving our nation’s oldest and most treasured and revered document, we should remove and replace the current 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' system with a system giving the same benefits to everyone in the line of duty for U.S. armed services. Equality of all individuals must be honored lest our rights be someday taken away from the rest of us.

After all, in reference to special rights and privileges for some, but not for others: Military members and their spouses are eligible for a wealth of benefits, including health insurance and survivor benefits. However, if a spouse is injured or killed in the line of duty, a gay or lesbian partner does not qualify for any financial or emotional assistance at all. There is no spin available to corroborate this type of behavior for our government to engage in.

Still, one of the largest casualties of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' may very well be the stifling of fellow service members personal lives while allowing others the opportunity to grandstand and throw in the faces of gay and lesbian soldiers how much they are afforded. This is no more glaring than when gay and lesbian couples are prohibited from bringing their chosen partner to military functions, even if they have been in a long-term committed relationship, nor can they even talk about their partners without fear of losing their jobs. Straight service members are not only allowed to bring their significant others, but encouraged to do so.

If the private sector isn't allowed to openly discriminate in this way or fashion, why is the government allowed to do so?

As a consequence, more than 265 service members have been discharged on the basis of this discriminatory, outmoded, and counterproductive policy since the law was first enacted. Furthermore, the policy has deterred untold others who would wish to defend their country from serving. Gary Gates, a senior research fellow at the UCLA School of Law, found that if the proportion of gay men in the military was allowed to rise to equal that in the general population, “the military could raise their numbers by an estimated 41,000 men.” And in a time when we have record low numbers of enlisted persons in our armed forces, we must endeavor to allow ALL individuals the opportunity to serve if they so choose it whether we approve of their personal life choices or not.

Simply put, can they do the job set before them? The answer is, “as well as anyone hired for any job can.” Will their orientation become an issue while on the battlefield? No more than any straight man’s would. Will it cause disruption to all if only a few are allowed to serve openly? Ask the countless other nation’s of the world that currently allow homosexuals the opportunity to serve openly how well it is working for them. And conversely, consider which nations have laws similar to our laws like Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, and Venezuela. That is never good company to be in for any reason if you ask me.

In fact, countries as Catholic as Spain, as different as Sweden and South Africa, and as near as Canada have embraced gay and lesbian marriage as well as have allowed gays and lesbians in their respective militaries without any noticeable effect-- except the increase in human happiness and social stability that comes from permitting people to marry for love. Several states have individually repealed their bans on same-sex marriage as inconsistent with a decent respect for human rights and a rational view of the communal value of marriage for all individuals. But basic constitutional rights cannot depend on the willingness of the electorate in any given state to end discrimination. If we were prepared to consign minority rights to a majority vote, there would be no need for a constitution.

Mind you, I am not a Constitutional scholar, nor a lawyer. I am a common, average American citizen who treasures the deep values of justice and equality our Constitution embodies and veterans across the ages have fought and died to preserve.

Ultimately, I am utterly in shock that the fighters for liberty, equality and the right to marry a person with a different skin color than you some 50+ years ago would be the very same ones seemingly to promote that same exact discrimination, hatred and inequality of today against the gay and lesbian community. The Republican Party has changed not only its policies, but also its heart, mind and very soul today. It's no wonder that liberals have co-opted the 'freedom and liberty debate' in this day and age, and have changed the narrative so that conservatives are simply hate-mongers who would discriminate against anyone different than they are- because, if that is the argument, it would sadly be true.
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