This has been one of the biggest weeks for Civil Rights the United States has seen in a long time. Confederate flags are being pulled down with even orders from governors to remove them from State Capitols, and are getting banned from NASCAR and removed from major retailers, the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and more importantly, so has same-sex marriage!
This is a great week for America, and one that gives me a shred of hope in a country who from Ferguson to Baltimore, Charleston and New York, hasn't given me much. That said, this is not a clean victory, and the Conservative right and dissenting Justices haven't been quiet about their discontent, and that's something I wish to address, here and now.
Let's first respond directly to some of the Justice's most outrageous dissenting quotes.
Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgement.
Then, the courts did their job. They did not judge whether or not they felt they liked homosexuality, they did not express their opinions on the morality of same sex couples, nor endorse anyone changing their sexual orientation. What the court decided was that discrimination, and States withholding the right to marry, was illegal. The 14th Amendment, and therefore the Constitution you quote in opposition to the court's decision, says "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Laws designed specifically to prohibit people from being able to marry infringes this amendment by denying people equal protection.
The premises supporting this concept of marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond.
Modern marriage is a legal binding, with the rights and benefits afforded by it. Whether or not you also have religious tradition for it aside, it is an agreement between two consenting adults who are committing to each other. It is not purely about children, and even if it once were, it would mean nothing in a country where spur of the moment celebrity marriages in Las Vegas that last a weekend are deemed 'okay'. If marriage were purely about children, we wouldn't allow the abstinent or the infertile to marry. We wouldn't allow those with a high likelihood of genetic disabilities to marry. We wouldn't let seniors get married. That, however, isn't the case: everyone can get married if they decide to. And let's face it, procreation isn't really an issue any more in a world with 7 billion people on the planet. We're doing pretty well for ourselves, we're not likely to go extinct as a species any time soon. If you really wanted to protect the children, you'd accelerate same sex marriage, because even if a same sex couple was less ideal for child raising (and it isn't), you'd think adoption into a loving couple of any kind would be better for the children than having no parents at all.
In his first American dictionary, Noah Webster defined marriage as “the legal union of a man and woman for life,” which served the purposes of “preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, . . . promoting domestic felicity, and . . . securing the maintenance and education of children.”
Yes, because we should all be getting our social ethics from the Dictionary... and it's not like the Dictionary updates regularly to include words and definitions that have become mainstream. Its not like the Oxford Dictionary has adopted such vernacular as "janky", "lolcat", "duck-face", "YOLO", and "amazeballs". It's not like the Marriam Webster Dictionary has adopted such terms as "hashtag", "Steampunk", "catfish", "selfie", "tweep" and "fangirl". Let's all follow the advice of the fucking Dictionary, why don't we?
Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of today’s decision is the extent to which the majority feels compelled to sully those on the other side of the debate. The majority offers a cursory assurance that it does not intend to disparage people who, as a matter of conscience, cannot accept same- sex marriage.
It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.
You're right, we should absolutely respect everyone who has been an opponent to social progression in society and failed. Racists shouldn't be looked down upon. Neither should Nazis. Maybe we should see the good aspects of genocidal maniacs. Or find what's really okay in the hearts of people who support government mandated eugenics...
And now, I'd like to bundle together all of the quotes from the Justices and Conservative politicians alike from the "Religious" argument, because I think it would be easier to address them all at once, with just a brief direct response to unique points.
In our society, marriage is not simply a governmental institution; it is a religious institution as well. Today’s decision might change the former, but it cannot change the latter. It appears all but inevitable that the two will come into conflict, particularly as individuals and churches are confronted with demands to participate in and endorse civil marriages between same-sex couples.
"Yesterday, the court doubled down with a 5-4 opinion that undermines not just the definition of marriage, but the very foundations of our representative system of government... For those who say the marriage decision yesterday is the law of the land, it is fundamentally illegitimate, it is wrong, it is not law, and it is not the Constitution."
... yeah, about that. Maybe try rereading the 14th Amendment. I mentioned it above if you're too lazy to Google it again, just scroll up! The bit about not denying rights to anyone, remember that bit? You know, in the CONSTITUTION?!
(In regards to Obamacare and Same Sex Marriage)
"...two of the most blatant, disturbing, disgusting examples of judicial activism in the history of these United States...(open) the door to something very dangerous to our way of life and our great republic."
"Throughout the millennia and in every religion in the world, marriage has a very specific meaning. Marriage is an institution, grounded in spirituality. It is the union of a man and a woman, and from that union comes life, and life is a gift from God. Now that this decision has come down, I think we need to focus all of our energies on ensuring that we protect the religious liberties and the freedom of conscience of those who profoundly disagree with this decision."
N-no? Is that fair to say? No. You're wrong, ignorant at best, and just plain wrong at worst. There were plenty of ancient societies who allowed same sex unions, plenty of modern churches that do, plenty of non-Christian religions that have for a long time. There are plenty of ancient societies that even believed in third genders. So... no.... no.... No.
Although our Constitution provides some protection against such governmental restrictions on religious practices, the People have long elected to afford broader protections than this Court’s constitutional precedents mandate. Had the majority allowed the definition of marriage to be left to the political process—as the Constitution requires—the People could have considered the religious liberty implications of deviating from the traditional definition as part of their deliberative process. Instead, the majority’s decision short-circuits that process, with potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.
The court hasn't mandated anything! All they've said is "stop discriminating against gays, let them marry like everyone else." They're not mandating you to get gay married! They're not forcing you to have gay sex against your own beliefs! You do you, and we'll do us.
"In all of our lives there comes moments where have to decide whether we obey God or we obey a decision we believe is unlawful,"
So your advice is that we be civilly disobedient in order to oppose the removal of discrimination? Your advice is that we should obey God's will against the law? Now, let me ask you Mr. Huckabee, how would you feel if you heard a Muslim say that- "We must follow God, even against the government!"...hmm?
"Our federal laws will be enforced now for a little while, but God's law will be enforced eternally by the one who will judge us all in the end,"
“We will not honour any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.”
"I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat,"
Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.
I think it's about time we get something very clear- "Religious Freedom" does not mean you get to tell other people how they live their lives. "Religious Freedom" is not the right to impose your views and traditions on others, it is the right to not have them impose theirs on you. "Religious Freedom" means that whatever ceremonies you perform in the privacy of your own homes, temples, churches, etc... are not the business of the government to dictate. "Religious Freedom" does not mean you get to say how other consenting adults willing to commit to one another get to live their lives. "Religious Freedom" does not mean you get to write laws to "uphold the 'Biblical' values of America". The Court's decision today was that those people who are in same sex relationships are afforded the same protections from discrimination as everyone else, and are free to marry like everyone else. This is not an "assault" on Christianity, nor upon Christian values- whatever the hell that means. If your church is against same-sex marriage, if your denomination forbids it and that's an ethic you want to bow down to on your knees, you go right ahead. That's your freedom- the ability to choose for yourself not to have gay sex or a gay marriage because of your own personal beliefs. If you don't want to, that's fine; but if we do want to, that's kinda also fine. If your church doesn't want to marry a gay couple, well guess what? There's plenty of other loving and accepting churches that are progressing with their social views, along with the rest of the world, who would be perfectly willing to embrace these couples, so they don't need to go to your little hick-town shack to get hitched. And, we're in America, where there's plenty of Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Satanist, Secular, etc... institutions that are also allowed to make their own decisions without having you force your 'Biblical' laws on them. "Religious Freedom" affords people the right to make their own theological interpretations of scripture, and to have their own ideologies- if anything, your attacks are the definition of irony. If you want to protect the people from "imperial tyranny" as Mike Huckabee would call it, why don't you protect us from yourselves? It's time to wake up, and stop being puerile about this. I'll be an anti-theist apologist on other days, but right now, this is not an issue of "God" nor his "Will", this is an issue of controlling bull headed bigots who are trying to force their traditions on everyone else. For everyone's good- Fuck Off. And excuse me if you unthinkingly brand me an unthinking apostate for that, but this is language one employs when they're well and truly done with contemptuous, hot headed, ignorant, fundamentalist, tyrannical, repressive authoritarians.
My name is Jeffrey Hepburn, and I'm a young writer, graphic design artist, and aspiring filmmaker.