Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Some Traditions Aren’t Worth Preserving

Today the Supreme Court of Washington State handed down their decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and they have decided that our state constitution allows for the continuing discrimination of citizens based on their sexual orientation.  The fact that our constitution is being used as an instrument to deny equal rights is bad enough, but the rational for the decision is even more disturbing, it’s religious nonsense.

If the reason for upholding the statewide ban on gay marriage is to protect children, these five justices have done a grave disservice to our state’s children in the name of protecting them.  The justices signing on to the majority opinion claim that the purpose of marriage is procreation and since same sex couples don’t fulfill that purpose, they are not entitled to marriage rights.  I know that the Bible deems procreation the “purpose” of marriage, but I didn’t know that the state constitution did as well.  If it does, then surely all of the marriages that have not resulted in children will now be annulled.  And while we’re at it, opposite sex couples that choose to marry but also choose not to have children should be excluded from marriage in the future too.  Perhaps the state legislature can write a new law that gives heterosexual couples a timeline to follow.  If you don’t conceive within the first five years, your marriage will be nullified.  Of course, that would also include couples unable to conceive their own child and choose to adopt instead, because we all know that an adopted child is not the “product” of the marriage, therefore the marriage should be voided.  Who cares if it is better for the adopted child to have married parents, this is Washington and we care about God’s intentions.  

Is this really the road we want to go down?  Even though it seems ridiculous to follow the convoluted logic these justices use to justify excluding gay couples from obtaining marriage rights, doing so may be the only way that religious people, judges included, will ever see the consequences of pushing their narrow beliefs on the rest of us.  Until it comes back to bite them on their own ass, they simply won’t give a shit.

The same is true of stem cell research.  If the use of embryos in stem cell research is “murder” as the President suggests, then every single fertilized egg should be implanted in the woman choosing to undergo in vitro fertilization.  No more fertilizing a bunch of eggs and hoping one of them takes, you get one shot each time no matter what the cost.  I mean really, if God wanted you to have children, he’d have made you fertile right?  This is the lunacy that the religious masses, with their freedom to worship (and believe) however they choose, are unleashing on our country.  I think they should try to live up to their own religious ideals before attempting to force the rest of us to comply with what they can’t seem to live up to themselves.  Given that 80% or so of this country is Christian, I’m guessing that most of the fertilized embryos sitting in freezers right now belong to Christian couples.  How about we pass a law forcing them to implant, carry and care for all these hundreds of thousands of “lives” they have willfully abandoned?  Is that any less crazy than restricting science because it’s against “God’s law”?

I’m disappointed with the Washington Supreme Court decision, obviously, but the ball is back in the legislature’s court now and perhaps that is where this is best decided anyway.  There was a time when the courts in this country made bold decisions and helped move us forward toward a more perfect union by striking down laws that were inherently discriminatory, but that time has passed.  If equality is to be achieved, we are going to have to pressure our elected representatives to the point that they have no other option but to act boldly and expand rights rather than restrict them.  We on the left must be the counter to the noise of the Religious Right and make clear that discrimination is not a tradition we care to honor, no matter how rooted in our history it is.  


Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

Amen! And while we're trying to uphold the "traditional" meaning of marriage, we might as well restore it to its original patriarchal glory and make it serve primarily as an instrument of transferring property and robbing women of their independence.

What a load of bullshit that decision is! You are spot-on about the ball being in the legislature's court now. I hope they live up to their responsibilities.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At last, some sense is made here. Yes , if you are against the killing of embryos for stem cells it follows you would be against the "selective reduction" that takes places during IVF.

It is not moral to keep embryos frozen, it is horrific in fact.

However, I'm not quite sure that because you say that 80% of the country is Christian that most of the frozen embryos belong to Christians. I'd have to see some numbers on that.

There are plenty of godless liberals who seek out IVF.

2:10 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Anonymous--Like I said, it's just speculation but since there is no correlation between religious affiliation (or lack of it) and infertility, it seems logical that the number of people seeking IVF would mirror the makeup of the country (thus 80% or so would be Christian).

The only thing I know for sure is not a lot of poor people are using in vitro because IVF isn't cheap, although poor women may be providing the eggs to help pay for food for their already breathing children (go to any WIC office the country and I bet you'll find flyers enticing poor women to sell their eggs).

2:37 PM  
Anonymous david said...

The "Marriage is for Procreation" arguement didn't wash in Canada. No one demands a fertility test before getting a marriage license. Of course, perhaps it should be demanded now.

The marriage "rights" demanded by Gays and Lesbians have to do with being treated decently as the "next of kin" and of not being punished with having to make elaborate legal arrangements regarding property. How does this threaten the concept of marriage?

I think anonymous needs a remedial course in statistics. And I find the gratuitous mixing of "godless" with "liberal" offensive. Jesus was a liberal. And don't forget that the Church doesn't consider any miscarried embryo to be "saved" because it hasn't been baptized. Just another example of God being created in Man's image.

6:45 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I haven’t had time to look over the ruling or comments about it much. Rob McKenna (state AG) speaking on KUOW felt that people supporting over turning the DOM Act were making, “Policy statements” and that the court was “Interpreting law” and not making policy. According to McKenna the DOM Act could be overturned and legislation allowing gay marriage could be passed without a state-constitutional amendment.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

The DOM Act being tossed out and replaced by the state legislature, of course.

7:54 PM  
Blogger isabelita said...

A big lesson to be taken here is to be on the alert for the BIAW's push to get more judges named "Johnson" elected...
Watching Judge Barbara Madsen pontificating about how marriage was for guys and gals to procreate and save the human (white) race made me want to vomit.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Is James Johnson up for re-election soon? It looks to me like Johnson is pushing a social agenda and not just, “Interpreting law.”

James Johnson:
"At its core, the claims (by gay-marriage backers) involve not only the purported right to a `marriage' with a person of the same sex, but also a claim of raw judicial power to redefine public institutions such as marriage.

"The lower courts, and the dissenters, cannot create a fundamental right to same-sex `marriage' without assuming in the courts the power to redefine marriage and presumably any other right of our citizens under the United States and Washington Constitutions. This court does not possess that power - no court does."

The definition of marriage "may not be changed by mere passage of time or currents of public favor, and surely not changed by courts."

9:45 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Gotta question:

Would repealing DOM automatically make same-sex marriage legal?

10:01 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Michael--I'm no legal expert but my understanding is, if the court had ruled the other way, it would have meant that banning gays and lesbians from marrying would have been unconstitutional therefore making same sex marriage legal. But since that didn’t happen, it will now require the legislature to pass an affirmative law allowing for same sex marriage.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous rkelly said...

I'm coming to the conclusion that all the judges in this country are scared shitless. They are facing the unemployment line whether they like it or not. Maybe not immediately but within the next five to ten years these idiots are going to be just as sorry as all the people they've discriminated against and it's the people who ultimately provide their income. Thus, I'll not shed one tear when their chickens come home to roost.

Just one judge acting consciously and still possessing the altruistic energy necessary for the truth of great to evolve human consciousness is what we need but that won't happen. No, unfortunately every judge knows at this time that the BIS and the Fed are hiding under the bed just waiting for the other shoe to drop and should these judges give the dog a bone, well, they all know what side their bread is buttered on.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous david said...

Pardon me for being confused Canuck, but are the judges on the Washington Supreme Court elected?

How can marriage be a constitutional right? It's really a form of partnership law. And defending "holy matrimony" would transgress the First Amendment.

If the courts can uphold Marriage, can they declare Divorce to be unconstitutional? Will adultery become a crime? Will homosexuality become a crime?

8:16 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

David, yes the judges are elected.

Somehow, I doubt people would stop procreating if DOMA was struck down...

And what would to do with people like me, a 37yo straight guy with no kids? And here I was thinking that I was being responsible by not having kids.

Reading through the justices opinions and statements by supporters of DOMA it’s pretty clear that the Judges that voted in favor of DOMA were making personal and policy statements, not just interpreting law.

It’s time to get to work on getting a few justices un-elected.

10:27 AM  

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