Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dangerous Tomorrows - Part Three: Marriage Equality

Hi there! Dave-El here! Still playing catch up to history from when I was on vacation last week. Today, I look back at last Friday's ruling by the Supreme Court where Marriage Equality became the law of the land

As I noted over the last two days, I'm titling these posts "Dangerous Tomorrows" because the events being described have made the world to come a dangerous place to those who had a vested interest in keeping things the way they always were. And for those people, nothing makes tomorrow more dangerous than the new reality of Marriage Equality here in the United States. 

To describe this as a hot button issue is to underestimate its power. The idea of people of the same sex being able to get married is a veritable flame thrower of an idea, fueled to the brim with the napalm of overheated rhetoric.*

*Kids, do not attempt such metaphorical discourse at home without a parent or English professor.

While discussions of the Confederate flag can be rooted in history and culture, while debate over Obamacare can be subject to concerns over interstate commerce and the limits of federal authority, the issue of Marriage Equality is a contentious one based on religion. Which makes the passions of those against Marriage Equality so strong but also makes efforts to curb that equality so troublesome.   

There are some passages in the Bible that indicate that doing sex stuff with someone who has the same body parts as you is a big no-no. And if you believe that, guess what? I'm not going to argue with you. I think you're taking certain texts too literally and that's a sign of really small and limited thinking but hey, if you're going to be so literal, then go right ahead. We live in a country that has freedom of religion and I'm not going to stand in the way of your beliefs. 

But I am not a literalist when it comes to the Bible and so are a lot of other Christians. Also there are others in America who are (take a deep breath now!) not Christian. They're Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Druid and more. Yes, there are others with a less defined faith; they feel there's something bigger than ourselves out there but they're not sure exactly what. And yes, there are others with no faith at all in a supreme being. (They're call atheists.) In short, this big ol' country of ours that we call the United States of America is filled with millions and millions of people who do not all believe in the same thing. But every single one of them has at least one thing in common. 

They are American citizens with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's taken us a couple of centuries to work out the kinks in all that. In fact, we're still sorting it all out but the ideal is that all citizens of this great country have these unalienable rights regardless of gender, race or religion. 

It's easy to accept that broad concept of freedom when that freedom matches your own narrowly defined ideals. But freedom available broadly to all citizens cannot be narrowly defined and that makes tomorrow a dangerous place if you insist on everyone conforming to your beliefs. But that's the tomorrow that's coming. 

No, that's the tomorrow that's already here. 

The ruling by the Supreme Court rejected state bans against gay marriage. Basically, rights that are supposed to be available to all law abiding citizens cannot be taken away from some of them on the basis of a religious belief. Now I am no constitutional scholar by any stretch of the imagination but as a slightly warped (OK, mostly warped) purveyor of this blog, it seems like that position is a no-brainer to me. Just because you don't like gay people (or black people or women people or people people), you can't deny them the rights everyone else can enjoy here in the US of A. 

But the decision that came down on Friday was a 5 to 4 split with those dissenting citing less a basis in law and more a foundation built on religious views and "accepted" cultural norms. And those who oppose same sex marriage decried the court for legislating from the bench, saying things like "We need justices who will support the Constitution."  Guys, the Constitution is the foundation on which this country was built, to allow for freedom and opportunities for all, not just some. I think the 5 who shut down same sex marriage bans were more loyal to the Constitution that the 4 who voted with the small narrow views of the world around them.  And for those 4 Justices and those who agreed with them, tomorrow is a dangerous place.  For everyone else, it's another step forward in living up to the ideals of this nation as a true and shining example of freedom for all people.

More than ever, be good to one another. 

Dave-El

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