In the ongoing saga of “rights”, “special rights”, and now “gay rights”.
I have never had a neutral position on this issue. Or the issue of any “special rights”. From the time I was 15 years old, I have expressed my opinion. Some folks find it to be dangerous territory, a taboo topic, or simply not worth their time.
But I think this is one of the most important issues that our nation discusses. “Rights”
Not necessarily “gay rights”, or “minority rights”, or “majority rights”, but “civil rights” in general.
Even though this topic is already settled in our constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Where as “all men are created equal” (in the eyes of the law), and the 14th Amendment gives these parameters;
The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law” or to “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” By directly mentioning the role of the states, the 14th Amendment greatly expanded the protection of civil rights to all Americans and is cited in more litigation than any other amendment.
Yet we continue to bicker about “rights” and who should be “more protected” or have “more rights” than the other. Why? Again this has already been decided, and fairly in my opinion.
When it comes to gay rights, we often hear of a few things.
- Marriage rights
- Hate crime protections
There are other things, often covered as sub-topics beneath the two issues listed above. Such as adoption rights, and end of life rights, next of kin rights, etc.
So on topic number 1. I have always said that the government should not be in the business of marriage.
“No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105)
“If a State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Albama, 373 U.S. 262)
So how do we address the subtopics if the government doesn’t regulate marriage?
How do we grant “next of kin rights”, or “estate settlements”, or “adoption”.
The fact is, that marriage does not have anything to do with those issues.
Those issues can be taken care via civil contracts, such as “living will”, “civil unions”, and many other legal contracts that relate to relationship “rights”.
Marriage has been a religious institution since long before the beginning of the first American colonies, before the British Government, and long before written history was established. With marriage being a religious institution, I do not believe that the government has any reason to be involved. There is a 1st Amendment in our country that gives religion the ability to practice these religious functions without influence or coercion of government.
When we read about the intentions of the founding fathers, and the interpretation of the establishment clause as well as the intent of the first amendment. We do not find that the intent was to bound or restrict religion, but rather to bound or restrict government in regards to religion and free expression.
So in order to hold to the principles that define liberty, and that protect liberty. The government can not regulate marriage. Nor can they license marriage. Not can they force or prevent marriage, marriage standards, or marriage law.
I have always said that if a religion such as the Unitarian Church or others wish to marry a gay couple, that they should not be forbidden from doing so. And if a church such as the LDS church wants to deny a gay marriage, they should not be forbidden from doing so.
In light of the issues with county clerks denying their signature from appearing on a gay marriage certificate, this should not even be a topic what-so-ever, because the government should not by definition of constitutional law be involved in marriage in the first place. Nor should the government force someone against their will to sign a marriage license (which is illegal in the first place).
On topic number 2, hate crime protections. This is another redundant and specifically illegal notion. According to the 14th Amendment each US citizen is granted EQUAL protection under the law. Special rights, and special protections equate to un-equality.
For example. If there are hate crime laws in place that favorably protect a straight person, but not a gay person in the same way. So for this example a straight couple gets beat up badly by a gay couple, and the reason for the beating is their sexual identity, and the perpetrators get charged with “hate crime” and gets an additional 25 years added to the sentence because of the special protection laws. But then the straight couple gets out of jail, and finds a gay couple (maybe not the same people) to exact revenge for what happened to them. And they get charged with assault and not additional charges for “hate crimes”. That is not “equal protection”, and therefore that violates the intent and purpose of the 14th Amendment.
But since assault is a crime, then there is no need for “hate crime laws” that violate the constitution. Assault is assault.
These “gay rights” causes that call for specific and unique protections of gay people is not creating a community of good will and equal rights in the USA, it is tipping the balance and in my opinion creating hard feelings and ill will.
These issues were very obvious to me when I was a homeless kid in Seattle, when I was a teen. I lived on Capitol Hill in the “gay district” where over 60% of the people that lived there were gay. I was blessed to have had a gay councilor at the homeless soup kitchen that I use to go to, who was a Christian man. I learned a lot about the culture there as well. I had friends who were of all creeds and backgrounds. So I indulged myself a lot in the debate. I made up my mind a long time ago that the ego and pissing match mentality of “more rights for some” or “less rights for other” is only tearing our community in the USA as a whole apart.
When “gender discrimination” laws become acceptable, idiotic things like banning “ladies night” becomes acceptable.